‘I never intended to harm him’: Co-defendant testifies against man on trial for capital murder

Jimmy Tran facing life in prison if found guilty

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man who said he took part in a deadly shooting testified against the man he alleges committed the crime with him.

Sebastian Espinar took the stand on Thursday in the capital murder trial of Jimmy Tran.

Espinar explained to the jury that on Aug. 12, 2019, he wanted to rob 22-year-old Andres Salinas for previously selling him fake Xanax pills.

“I called Jimmy to drive me because I was impaired from taking pills and marijuana,” Espinar said.

The two drove to the Wingstop on Nacogdoches, where Salinas worked, and Espinar said that Tran had brought along a pistol and a modified rifle.

“I never intended to harm him or had planned to,” Espinar said.

Espinar described that when Salinas gave him the pills, he stalled in giving him payment, hoping Tran would speed away as they had planned, but when he didn’t, Salinas grabbed money that was sitting on his lap and ran off.

“I hear Jimmy say ‘my money’ and said ‘get out,’ and then a shot rang out,” Espinar said.

Espinar admitted to getting out and firing the pistol, but in the air above Salinas, not wanting to hit, and when he got back in the car, he noticed Tran looking through the scope of his rifle and firing more rounds.

Eventually, he said Tran got back in, and they drove off.

When prosecutors asked Espinar why he didn’t turn himself in or first tell police the truth, Espinar said he was scared but eventually took responsibility.

“I’m just as responsible and culpable of what happened,” Espinar said.

Espinar took a 25-year plea deal in exchange for his testimony against Tran. He will be sentenced at some point after Tran’s trial.

Tran, if found guilty of capital murder, is facing up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 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.

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