Man found guilty in murder-for-hire plot

John Cantu was found not guilty of capital murder, guilty of lesser charge of murder

SAN ANTONIOUpdate (3 p.m., Friday):

A Bexar County jury deliberated for just over three hours before handing down a verdict for a man accused of being the trigger man in a murder-for-hire plot.

John Cantu was found not guilty of capital murder and guilty of a lesser murder charge in the 2019 shooting death of Mike Perez.

Perez died from multiple gunshot wounds on the side of a South Side road. Cantu was allegedly hired by his sister-in-law to kill Perez, according to a previous KSAT report.

He now faces a punishment of five to 99 years or life in prison, but his sentencing will be decided at a later date.

Original:

It was a short case for the defense in the capital murder trial of a man accused of being the trigger man in a murder-for-hire.

John Cantu is charged with capital murder in the 2019 shooting death of Mike Perez.

Perez was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds on the side of a South Side road.

Cantu was allegedly hired by his sister-in-law, Christina Rodriguez, to kill Perez to shift the blame from her after she diluted drugs from a dealer.

After two and a half days of testimony from the state, they rested on Thursday. After that, the defense asked 186th District Court Judge Kristina Escalona to consider Carmen Hernandez as an accomplice in this case.

Hernandez was the state’s key eyewitness and testified that she not only saw the deal get made but witnessed Perez getting shot.

Escalona did not rule on that motion but did deny a motion by the defense in which they requested part of the charge be thrown out because they believed prosecutors didn’t prove that Cantu was paid to commit murder.

When the arguments over the motions were complete the defense rested and called up no witnesses.

On Friday, the case will shift to the jury after closing arguments are held. They will decide if Cantu is guilty or not guilty. If the decision is guilty, Cantu would automatically be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


ALSO ON KSAT.COM

‘He said I’ll do it’: Key witness in murder-for-hire plot takes stand in capital murder trial


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.