‘Justice wasn’t served’: Family of murder victim upset after man gets 25-year plea deal

Kevin Perez, a previously convicted felon, pleaded no contest to the murder of Arnulfo Cortez

SAN ANTONIO – A family was in tears on Tuesday as the man who killed their loved one was sentenced to 25 years in prison per a plea deal.

Arnulfo Cortez, 35, was driving home in Dec. 2020, when he was fatally shot by Kevin Perez, who fired off rounds indiscriminately during an argument with his girlfriend, San Antonio police said after the incident.

Cortez crashed his truck on Loop 410 on the Northwest Side and died at the scene.

Perez was later arrested and charged with his murder. At the time Perez was a convicted felon and shouldn’t have been in possession of a gun.

Members of the Cortez family faced Perez in court and gave emotional victim impact statements.

“As long as you’re living, you will always be a waste of life, I hope you burn in hell,” Demi Cortez said to Perez.

After the sentencing, family members spoke with KSAT 12 about the case about what they say was a lack of communication with the district attorney’s office.

“Communication was, I would say, a bit difficult,” Arnold Cortez said. “I think that there was more that could have been done.”

The family said they were told by the district attorney’s office the case couldn’t go to trial because SAPD mishandled evidence and the 25-year plea deal was the best they could do.

“What is going on, my brother is not just a number,” Arnold Cortez said. “I think it’s unfair. I think it’s unjust. Justice wasn’t served.”

After the sentencing hearing, KSAT 12 reached out to the district attorney’s office about this plea deal and was told Joe Gonzalez was not available for an interview but sent the following statement Wednesday.

The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office allows its prosecutors wide latitude to determine trial strategy for each individual case. Decisions on how to proceed are made on a case-by-case basis depending on facts, circumstances, and available evidence. Speaking specifically about The State of Texas vs Kevin Pérez, our office has no criticism of either the investigation or evidence obtained by the San Antonio Police Department. The relationship between our office and the SAPD on this case was collaborative, cooperative, and successful. Their work provided the basis for a substantial conviction and helped get a violent offender off of the street.

We also reached out to SAPD about the alleged mishandling of evidence and were told that Chief William McManus would sit down for an interview about the case on Wednesday.

Find more local news on KSAT.com here

About the Authors

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.

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

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