Former Pct. 2 deputy finishes combative testimony as Barrientes Vela sentencing reaches third day

Ex-constable faces between two years probation and 10 years in prison

A former Precinct 2 deputy accused an attorney for Michelle Barrientes Vela of asking leading questions during day three of sentencing for the convicted ex-constable.

SAN ANTONIO – A former Precinct 2 deputy accused an attorney for Michelle Barrientes Vela of asking leading questions during day three of sentencing for the convicted ex-constable.

Jason Castanon, who worked under Barrientes Vela in 2019 as her tenure as Bexar County Precinct 2 constable unraveled, was among the Precinct 2 personnel ordered to arrest fellow deputy Leonicio Moreno in late April of that year.

Moreno had filed to run against Barrientes Vela for constable weeks before he was arrested on a perjury warrant filed by the constable’s then-captain, Marc D. Garcia.

Prosecutors dismissed the criminal case against Moreno hours after he was marched in front of media cameras and booked into the Bexar County Jail.

Jail surveillance footage obtained by KSAT Investigates that summer showed Moreno driven into the jail’s sally port and unloaded from the vehicle, before being put back into the vehicle and driven out of the sally port.

Deputies then drove Moreno around for nearly a half-hour before finally taking him into jail to be booked, video time stamps showed.

While under cross-examination Monday, Castanon accused Jasmin Olguin, a student attorney working for the firm representing Barrientes Vela, of asking leading questions about the booking of Moreno.

Olguin, who is expected to join the firm as an associate after getting back the results of her state bar exam, continued the theme of attempting to cast doubt about Moreno’s integrity.

Moreno, the one-time training coordinator for Precinct 2 and a member of Barrientes Vela’s original command staff, was fired in 2018 and then later reinstated.

Moreno had been accused of falsifying training records for him and other members of the agency.

Barrientes Vela’s nearly two-week long trial concluded last month with a jury convicting her of altering security payment logs for Rodriguez Park and knowingly turning over false records to law enforcement after receiving grand jury subpoenas in the summer of 2019.

Barrientes Vela still faces three counts of official oppression related to her treatment of Moreno and a second Precinct 2 deputy, Christopher De la Cerda.

Prosecutors have indicated that they will dismiss those charges at the conclusion of her sentencing hearing for felony tampering.

Garcia, who was indicted alongside the former constable in January 2020, is scheduled to go to trial for aggravated perjury late next month.

The prosecution and defense said Monday they have around 15 witnesses combined still to call to testify.

Judge Velia Meza, who is issuing the punishment in this case, could do so by the end of the week.

Barrientes Vela faces between two years probation and 10 years in prison.

Sentencing is scheduled to resume at 1 p.m. Tuesday.


About the Authors:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Joshua Saunders is an Emmy award-winning photographer/editor who has worked in the San Antonio market for the past 20 years. Joshua works in the Defenders unit, covering crime and corruption throughout the city.