12 high-profile trials to watch in 2023 in San Antonio

Suspects include Andre McDonald, Mark Howerton and Emond Johnson

The year finished with a very busy docket and it won’t slow down in 2023.

Below is a look at 12 cases we will be following next year.

As is always the case in the criminal justice system, court dates can always change if a motion for continuance is granted or a plea deal is made.

Andre McDonald

Andre McDonald is seen walking into a court room on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. (KSAT)

The trial for Andre McDonald that was expected in 2021 looks to now begin on Jan. 17.

McDonald is accused of the 2019 murder of his wife Andreen McDonald. After a four month search her remains were found on a private property in north Bexar County.

After a reset in Oct. 2021 McDonald’s bond was lowered and he was able to get out of jail.

Andrew Elizondo

Andrew Rey Elizondo (KSAT)

Andrew Elizondo is accused of fatally shooting a 6-year-old girl as her mother drove away from a car club gathering on Mother’s Day in 2021.

His next scheduled hearing date is the end of Jan.

Jose Heriberto Hernandez

Jose Heriberto Mojica Hernandez Jr. is charged with capital murder in the fatal stabbing of his mother and sister. (KSAT)

The Jose Heriberto Hernandez capital murder case could also go to trial in 2023.

Hernandez in 2020 is accused of the fatal stabbing of his mother and sister in front of relatives.

His next court date is in January and it’s likely his trial date will be later in the year as his attorney is now a newly elected judge.

Emond Johnson

Another high-profile case we are likely to see play out in court in 2023 is the trial of Emond Johnson.

Johnson allegedly set fire to his gym that spread to other businesses and killed San Antonio firefighter Scott Deem.

Investigators believe Johnson intentionally set the fire because he was behind on paying rent and was about to lose the lease on his gym.

This trial is expected to begin the end of Feb.

Elena Mae Carranza

Elena Carranza has been arrested on charges related to drunken driving in a crash in Helotes earlier this year that killed a couple and injured their four children. (KSAT)

This intoxication manslaughter case could go to trial as soon as early February.

Elena Mae Carranza is accused of causing a crash in Helotes in 2021, killing a couple and injuring their four children.

Police said her bank records showed she purchased three alcoholic beverages from the Mad Dogs British Pub on the River Walk earlier in the day of the crash.

Records show Carranza was 20 years old at the time of the accident.

Mark Howerton

A retrial for Mark Howerton was expected to take place in 2021 but his attorneys filed a motion to bar his retrial, citing prosecutor misconduct and double jeopardy after his 2019 trial ended in a hung jury.

This year the Fourth Court of Appeals ordered the retrial to take place, which is why we could like see it take place in 2023. Right now a potential date for the retrial is late spring.

Howerton is accused of the death of Trinity University cheerleader Cayley Mandadi.

Damion Campbell

Damion Campbell image. (KSAT)

While no date has been set yet, the 2020 case of Damion Campbell could be soon heading to trial.

Police say 42-year old Damion Campbell walked inside a Diesel barbershop on Bandera Road near Loop 1604 and attacked three staff members inside.

Helle Jae O’Regan was killed in that attack and Campbell is now facing a murder charge for her death.

Jilson Duban Avelar-Rodriguez

Jilson Duban Avelar-Rodriguez, 20, has been charged in the Sept. 30, 2018, deaths of Nicholas Milanovich, 23, and Julia Wright, 21. (KSAT)

This is a capital murder case from 2018 some may have forgotten about but Jilson Duban Avelar-Rodriguez could be heading for trial in the spring of 2023.

Avelar-Rodriguez is accused of killing a couple in their bed on Sept. 30, 2018, at their apartment in the 8600 block of Fairhaven St., according to an arrest affidavit.

Sasha Skare

Sasha Skare was booked Saturday and is being held in the Bexar County Jail. She’s now facing a murder charge in the death of 34-year-old Martell Derouen. (KSAT)

Another trial that could possibly take place in the spring is that of Sasha Skare.

An aspiring rapper, Skare was charged in connection with the shooting death of Martell Derouen, a rapper known as Kardone, who was found dead after police made a welfare check at his apartment inside The Towers in the 16700 block of La Cantera Parkway in January 2021.

RC Curtis

After a mistrial at the end of 2021, RC Curtis could see his day in court again in 2023.

In a recent hearing, a judge ruled that the trial should be retried but defense attorneys may now file an appeal which could push this possible trial date back toward later in the year.

Curtis is accused of killing his wife’s grandmother, Paula Boyd, in 2015.

Jacob Brownson

Another capital murder case that some may have forgotten about is that of Jacob Brownson.

In 2016, according to a murder warrant, Brownson, killed three men in their North Side apartment while his wife and three young children waited in a van outside.

While a trial date isn’t set yet, a motion hearing is scheduled in February.

Reyes Gallegos

Reyes Gallegos was arrested in connection with the disappearance and murder of his wife, Cecilia Huertas Gallegos. (KSAT)

In 2019, Cecilia Huertas Gallegos disappeared and in 2021 her husband, Reyes Gallegos was being charged with her murder.

According to an arrest affidavit, Gallegos was seen going to his truck and leaving in 2019. Police say he returned with two shovels, contractor-duty trash bags, a chainsaw, and cleaning supplies.

Gallegos next court date is in late march.

About the Author

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 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 and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

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