Judge Seals Murder Case Of Slain Border Patrol Agent

November 15, 2011

Photo courtesy U.S. Border Patrol.
Slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A federal judge has sealed the case against a man charged with murder in the killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. It's the only federal court case in which a weapon from the botched gun-walking program known as Operation Fast and Furious has turned up.

Until now, new details of the ongoing case against Manuel Osorio Arellanes were made available to the public. Osorio faces 14 charges including murder, assault, weapons charges and illegal re-entry.

Now the paper trail has gone dark. Even the records charging Osorio with murder are unavailable. Two of the guns found at the site of the murder had come from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) gun walking operation, which is evolving into a scandal.

Professor Donald Downs teaches law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He said federal judges can seal a murder case if it is still being investigated.

“There could be information that’s in that record that could give people ideas as to who a witness is, who’s involved. Things like that," Downs said.

An affidavit filed and obtained before it was sealed shows that Osorio was one of at least five people whom Terry’s squad tried to arrest that night in December 2010 near Nogales, AZ. Osorio was wounded in the gunfight. The FBI previously said he’s the only one in custody for the killing.