Man accused of murdering his father claims he shot in self-defense

Jurors view video of Jesse Vasquez' police interview

SAN ANTONIO – A defendant’s emotional interview with detectives that was played during his murder trial is shedding new light in what transpired the day of the shooting.

Jesse Vasquez III, 24, shot and killed his father, Jesse Vasquez Jr., 47, to death. He didn’t deny it.

The younger Vasquez claimed that he fired the fatal shot in self-defense during the interview with police the night of the shooting.

“He got up and started walking toward me, reaching into his back pocket,” the younger Vasquez told detectives. “So mine (pistol) was holstered on my side, so when he went like that I shot him once.”

Jesse Vasquez III claimed that his father was verbally and physically assaulting his stepsisters.

“It was strictly self-defense,” he insisted. “I mean, I feared for my life, my sisters' lives, you know, and my stepmom.”

Jesse Vasquez III told police that, two weeks earlier, he had moved in with his father and step-sisters temporarily. He said it soon became an uncomfortable situation marked by daily angry confrontations with his father. The tension, he said, turned to threats.

“He put a gun in my face,” the defendant said. “He’s never done that before.”

Sobbing, he told of how his father had been verbally and physically attacking his teenage stepsister the night of the shooting.

“I asked him to leave her alone ... and he wouldn’t stop," Jesse Vasquez III said.

San Antonio police Detective Rachel Barnes, who conducted the interview with Vasquez, testified that she doubted his self-defense claim. His account of the events that night, she said, contained many inconsistencies, and his story changed several times.

Testimony is expected to continue Friday in Judge Joey Contreras’ 187th District Court.

A conviction could mean a life prison sentence for Jesse Vasquez III.

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