Murder trial revisits a 2013 night of terror

Baldemar Perez beaten to death; Merced Aquilar robbed

SAN ANTONIO – After the bouncer tossed Christopher Padilla, 23, his stepfather and another man out of a North Side strip club the trio allegedly beat and robbed a man in the club's parking lot, then went on to beat another man to death.

That is what Assistant District Attorney Tamara Strauch told the jury during opening arguments in Padilla's murder trial Tuesday in Judge Ray Olivarri's 399th District  Courtroom.

Merced Aquilar testified that as he was getting out of his vehicle in the parking lot of Tiffany's Cabaret he was jumped by three men.

"They just all started kicking me and attacking me and punching me," he testified. "As I was rolling on the ground that's when they grabbed my wallet from my back pocket."

He pointed to Padilla and identified him as one of the attackers.

Strauch said 53 minutes after the robbery the men confronted Baldemar Perez, 47, a few blocks from Padilla's home on Fortuna street and began attacking him.

"Christopher Padilla jumped in and he attacks him," Strauch told the jury.  "Baldemar falls down, hits his head and his heart stops and he dies almost instantly."

She said that as Padilla was being interviewed by police regarding the murder he made a telling remark to a friend he was visiting on the phone when detectives stepped out of the room.

"In one of the calls he says, ‘I beat a man to death,' she told the jury.

During his portion of opening remarks Padilla's lawyer, John Young, said that there was never an intent to rob anyone in the parking lot at Tiffany's Cabaret that night. And he asked the panel to consider who initiated the conversation that preceded Perez's murder.

Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday.

If he is convicted, Padilla faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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