Possible immunity deal for former captain overshadows day 4 of sentencing at Barrientes Vela trial

Ex-captain Marc D. Garcia faces charges of aggravated perjury, official oppression

SAN ANTONIO – Former Bexar County Precinct 2 Capt. Marc D. Garcia appears to have turned state’s witness and is scheduled to testify against Michelle Barrientes Vela on Wednesday during the sentencing phase of her public corruption trial.

Prosecutors on Tuesday informed the court that Garcia would be called to the stand.

The former Precinct 2 captain, who was indicted alongside Barrientes Vela in January 2020, is scheduled to go to trial for felony perjury late next month.

Garcia, like Barrientes Vela, also faces multiple official oppression charges.

Barrientes Vela last month was convicted by a jury of knowingly altering park security logs and handing over falsified logs after receiving a grand jury subpoena.

She faces between two years of probation and 10 years in prison. Barrientes Vela has asked Judge Velia Meza to sentence her.

Garcia would likely need to be granted immunity on some, if not all, of his pending criminal charges before agreeing to waive his Fifth Amendment rights and testify in open court.

Garcia declined to answer questions as he walked into the Bexar County Justice Center around 4:40 p.m., approximately 40 minutes after sentencing had concluded for the day.

His attorney, Mark Anthony Sanchez, declined to comment when reached via telephone Tuesday afternoon.

WATCH: Highlights from Day 4 of the sentencing phase of Michelle Barrientes Vela trial

Garcia’s four criminal charges stem from writing a 2019 affidavit later signed by a magistrate judge, which was then used to arrest fellow Pct. 2 deputy Leonicio Moreno for aggravated perjury, as well as for Garcia’s alleged treatment of both Moreno and a second Pct. 2 deputy, Christopher De La Cerda.

Prosecutors claim that Garcia, while writing the affidavit, repeatedly used false statements in order to get a judge to sign off on it.

Moreno was arrested by Pct. 2 personnel, who delayed booking Moreno into jail until media cameras arrived outside the jail and could record Moreno being walked in to be booked.

A former Pct. 2 deputy testified Monday that his command staff had caused the delayed booking.

Jail surveillance video obtained by KSAT Investigates in the summer of 2019 showed Pct. 2 deputies unload a handcuffed Moreno in the jail’s sally port before loading him back into the vehicle and driving back outside.

Deputies waited nearly a half hour before finally walking Moreno inside to be processed, video time stamps show.

A former Pct. 2 supervisor, Joseph Martinez, testified Tuesday that he was once ordered to write up Moreno for being one minute late to work.

Martinez, who no longer works in law enforcement, testified that other deputies would show up late to work but would not be written up because Barrientes Vela treated them differently.

Manuel Gonzalez, the county’s director of human resources, testified that he was in contact with both Moreno and Moreno’s wife about his possible unfair treatment at work around the time Pct. 2 deputies seized his service weapon in February 2019.

Gonzalez at one point told defense attorney Jason Goss that Goss was changing his words.

The comment continued a combative back and forth between attorneys for Barrientes Vela and witnesses called by the state to prove up allegations that she mistreated deputies who worked for her.

Other witnesses called Tuesday included a Texas Ranger who testified that Barrientes Vela’s service vehicle was found at her home during the September 2019 raid and did not have a slashed tire, as she had claimed.

Deputy Johnny Garcia, a Bexar County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, testified about the confusing manner in which Pct. 2 planned the perp walk and safety concerns BCSO had about Pct. 2 holding a perp walk for Moreno inside the jail’s sally port.

Garcia conceded that he told Pct. 2 staff that it would be safer to leave the sally port and walk Moreno in to be booked from outside the jail.

Sentencing is scheduled to continue at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Barrientes Vela could be formally sentenced later this week.

Also on KSAT.com:

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.

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