Man convicted of killing father sentenced to 20 years in prison after jury finds sudden passion

Convicted killer's girlfriend testifies in punishment phase

SAN ANTONIO – A man who was found guilty of killing his father has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. 

The jury was allowed to consider sudden passion, which allows for a lesser punishment. The punishment for sudden passion carries a maximum of 20 years behind bars. Jesse Vasquez lll previously faced a maximum of life in prison. 

Jesse Vasquez lll, 24, shot and killed his father Jesse Vasquez Jr., 47, on March 25, 2016. 

Jesse Vasquez III had been staying with his father, stepmother and stepsisters at his father’s home on Saunders Street. He had been told by his father to leave, prompting a heated argument between the two men.

“His dad was high on meth. He’s violent and is terrorizing his family," defense attorney Amy Owen said. “He didn’t want to kill his father. You heard in his statement that he loved his father. It was clearly a case of self-defense. It was kill or be killed.”

“That doesn’t exculpate what the defendant did," countered prosecutor Josh Sandoval. “A life is a life, and the defendant deserves to be convicted of murder.”

Jurors deliberated for about four hours before rendering their conviction decision last week.

During the sentencing phase Monday, Jesse Vasquez III's ex-girlfriend, Miranda Berdecia, told the court about the events that preceded the night of the murder. Her testimony, prosecutors said, was inconsistent with what she had originally told police.

Berdecia said that a fight began after the Jesse Vasquez III learned of her infidelity.

“I got upset at him and I started throwing things at him,” Berdecia told the court. “Glass cups, mason jars — anything close to me that I could find was being thrown at him.”

The night of the fight, Berdecia told police and hospital personnel that Jesse Vasquez lll had punched her in the eye. But during her testimony Monday, she denied it and minimized his involvement in the fight.

“His hand had connected with my face,” she told the court. “Personally, I don’t believe it was intentional.”

Jesse Vasquez III was charged with assault that night.

Prosecutors told the jury that Jesse Vasquez III also has a drug possession charge pending against him. When asked if she wanted Vasquez to be given a life sentence, Berdecia said “No.”

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