Murder trial begins for man accused beating, dismembering, setting victim on fire

Michael Quinn called, admitted crime to relatives, sister-in-law testifies

SAN ANTONIO – It was a middle-of-the-night telephone call that Arlene Quinn said that she will never forget.

Testifying in the murder trial of Michael Scott Quinn, 53, her brother-in-law, she explained that she answered a call from Quinn at her home in South Carolina just after 4 a.m.

“He said that there was a situation – a bad situation – and that he was standing in a puddle of blood,” she told the jury.

The blood he was standing in, prosecutors told the jury during opening arguments, was that of Albert Guerra.

They said that Guerra, 56, had been struck at least 20 times in the head with a hammer and that his legs had been sawed off.

Quinn said that he admitted during the call that he had killed Guerra and explained why he cut off Guerra’s legs.

“He said because he was so big he wouldn’t fit in the trash can and he had to cut him up and he was on plastic and was going to try to move him that way,” Arlene Quinn testified.

Unable to move the body, prosecutors say he set Guerra’s Northwest Side home on fire.

Quinn, who is a preacher’s wife, said that after she talked with her brother-in-law she called police in San Antonio.

“As much as I love Michael, I care about him very much, I have a standard to living myself,” Arlene Quinn said. “And I felt with all my heart that it was the right thing to do.”

Within hours, San Antonio police arrested Quinn and his girlfriend Connie Yanez, 40, who also had been Guerra’s girlfriend at one time. 

She was with Quinn at the scene of the murder.

Yanez is also accused in Guerra’s murder and is jailed awaiting trial.

If he is convicted, Quinn is facing a maximum of life in prison.

Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday in Judge Lori Valenzuela’s 437th District Court.

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