Man on trial for murder unexpectedly changes plea in fear of retaliation

John Scharringhausen didn’t want his testimony recorded by the media

SAN ANTONIO – In an unexpected move, a man on trial for murder changed his plea twice on Wednesday instead of testifying because he feared retaliation, according to his attorney.

As court began, John Scharringhausen’s defense attorney John Young asked 226th District Court Judge Velia Meza to prevent KSAT 12 from recording Scharringhausen’s testimony.

Meza told both Young and Scharringhausen she didn’t know how she could restrict portions of the testimony from being recorded.

“I can’t intrude on their rights but help me define the parameters,” Meza said.

Young explained that Scharringhausen was going to name other people involved in the January 2020 murder of Anthony Sanks, other crimes he had taken part in and also his gang affiliation.

Judge Meza said that if parts of his testimony were to not be recorded then she would also need to segregate him at the Bexar County Jail for his safety.

That led Scharringhausen to ask to change his plea to guilty. His plea was changed a third time to no contest without the presence of the jury, which led Meza to dismiss the jury from the trial.

According to police, Scharringhausen and Sanksknew each other and were planning to kill another individual, but Scharringhausen turned on Sanks and killed him instead.

Sentencing is expected to take place on Dec. 2, and he is facing anywhere from 5 to 99 years, or life in prison.


About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with more than 12 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.