Judge resets accused killer’s pretrial hearing after recusal in case

Joseph Woolard accused in fatal freeway crash

SAN ANTONIO – The case of a man Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar once called a “career criminal” was back in court on Friday.

Joseph Woolard faces a long list of charges, including a murder charge stemming from a wrong-way traffic wreck last spring.

While fleeing from police and driving the wrong way on a freeway entrance ramp on the night of May 3, 2020, Woolard crashed into another car, killing Asante Contreras, a passenger in that car.

Woolard was a fugitive facing attempted capital murder charges stemming from a shootout with police in March 2019.

During a pretrial hearing on Friday, 144th District Court Judge Melisa Skinner recused herself since she had been the prosecutor assigned to Woolard’s attempted capital murder case.

“I’ve had a lot to do with speaking with the family members in those cases, and so I would absolutely have a conflict,” Judge Skinner said Friday.

Senior Judge Raymond Angelini presided over the hearing and reset proceedings for Oct. 28.

The case’s future is unclear since Skinner is facing challenger Judge Michael Mery in next month’s election.


About the Authors:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.