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With victim's family's OK, confessed killer sentenced to life without parole

Courtney Velasques drowned pregnant girlfriend before setting body ablaze

SAN ANTONIO – On Valentine’s Day 2015, Courtney Velasques, 19, drowned his pregnant girlfriend Dowanna Thomas, 18, before setting her body on fire in a Southeast Bexar County field.

“It’s a disgusting murder, there’s no doubt about that,” Bexar County District Attorney Nicholas “Nico” La Hood said Monday, as he discussed his decision not to seek the death penalty for Velasques.

He said that “The death penalty was absolutely on the table, until the very last minute.”

Velasques agreed to a plea bargain, La Hood said. The DA also pointed out that there were many variables to consider.

“Anytime you’re dealing with a young defendant, 19 years old, jurors are very sensitive to that issue,” he explained.

La Hood said that he also spoke with Thomas’ mother before making his decision.

“I really considered her feelings, and the family’s feelings, and the family was on board with this,” he said.

For Velasques, there is no chance for an appeal. He waived that as part of the plea deal.

“Bottom line,” said La Hood, “he will die in prison.”


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