Convicted killer Noah Espada wants new trial

Visiting judge Bert Richardson to make recommendation following hearing

SAN ANTONIO – Lawyers representing Noah Espada claim that Bexar County Jail guard Christopher Nieto's testimony during their client's trial was inaccurate.

Nieto, who has since resigned and has a theft conviction on his record, testified that drugs were found in Espada's cell and that he fought with fellow inmates.

But during a previous hearing on Espada's request for a new trial, an inmate testified that Nieto planted the drugs and set up a fight between Espada and another inmate.

On Wednesday, Bexar County Jail guard Rene Langley testified during a hearing held before visiting Judge Bert Richardson that there had been problems with Nieto at the jail.

"I observed him grab inmate Espada by the the uniform shirt with both hands and that's when he issued the threat, ‘Hey, you're the (expletive) that killed two people,'" Langley said he heard Nieto say.

Langley said Nieto had left his post at the jail to enter Espada's cell.

Espada was convicted and sentenced to death in 2005 for the murder of his former boss and a woman who lived in the same apartment complex as his boss.

Investigators said the woman was suffocated after Espada realized he had mistakenly broken into her apartment looking for his former boss.

The next day, he returned to the complex and shot his boss to death.

Once the hearing on Espada's request for a new trial is completed, Richardson will make a recommendation to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

The appeals court will decide whether Espada is granted a new trial.

The court's decision is not expected until early next year.

For a list of recent stories Paul Venema has done, click here.

About the Author:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.