Man originally charged with capital murder given 8-year plea deal on lesser charge

Manuel Cantu pleads no contest to second-degree felony charge of tampering with a human corpse

SAN ANTONIO – A man originally charged with capital murder had that charged waived and was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison on the lesser charge of tampering with a human corpse.

Manuel Cantu was one of three people accused in taking part in a murder-for-hire-plot in February 2019 that ended in the death of Mike Perez.

The defendant’s brother, John Cantu, and his wife, Christina Rodriguez, were also charged in the case.

Mike Perez was murdered in Feb. 2019 as part of a murder-for-hire plot. (Copyright 2023 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

In court on Monday, the state had the indictment amended to include the second-degree felony charge, and then motioned to have count 1 of the indictment, the capital murder charge, waived.

Per a plea deal, the state proceeded with the lesser charge that Cantu entered a plea of no contest.

186th District Court Judge Kristina Escalona accepted the plea and then sentenced Cantu to eight years with credit for time served, which means Cantu is already eligible for parole.

John Cantu in September was found guilty on the lesser charge of murder and was sentenced to 70 years in prison.

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

As of now, Christina Rodriguez is still charged with capital murder and her next court date is in December.

The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office released the following statement about the plea deal in response to an inquiry from KSAT 12 News:

The facts in the underlying murder case involve three separate defendants. The decision to accept a plea from this particular defendant on a 2nd degree felony was made by the prosecutors based on available evidentiary facts.

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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