Man facing capital murder charge in drug deal slaying

Charles Robnett is the first of three to be tried in the 2017 slaying

SAN ANTONIO – Just over two years ago, what officials would later say was a drug deal in a Northeast Side shopping center parking lot turned deadly.

Gary Barnhardt, 20, was shot to death on the evening of Oct. 16, 2017, during what sheriff’s deputies said was a drug transaction with three teenagers.

Instead of buying a small amount of marijuana, deputies said the teens shot Barnhardt as they tried to steal the drug.

Michael Aguilar, Emmanuel Herrera and Charles Robnett, all 18 years old at the time, were arrested and charged with murder.

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When the investigation revealed that Barnhardt was killed during an attempted robbery, the charges were upgraded to capital murder.

“We’re looking at five young lives that have been ruined over something as senseless as a drug deal,” Sheriff Javier Salazar said when the trio was arrested.

Robnett is the first of the three to be tried.

Jury selection has been completed and testimony is set to begin Monday in Judge Frank Castro’s 399th District Court.

Though this is a capital murder case, prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

If he is convicted, Robnett is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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