District Attorney’s Office dismisses capital murder charge for alleged mastermind of murder-for-hire plot

Christina Rodriguez who was arrested in 2019 has been released from jail

SAN ANTONIO – In a surprise move on Monday afternoon, the District Attorney’s Office dropped the capital murder charge for a woman who was accused of being the mastermind behind a murder-for-hire plot in 2019.

According to online court records, Christina Rodriguez, who was already a convicted felon, had her case dismissed due to insufficient evidence and was released from jail late Monday.

Rodriguez along with her husband Manuel Cantu and brother-in-law John Cantu were all arrested and charged with capital murder after Mike Perez was found dead on a road on the South Side.

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

John Cantu, the trigger man, went on trial in this case in September. During the trial, a woman named Carmen Hernandez told the jury she not only witnessed Rodriguez plan the murder and pay John Cantu $500, but also witnessed the murder taking place.

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

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

Manuel Cantu on Monday, also had his capital murder charge dismissed and he was given an eight-year plea deal on the lesser charge of tampering with a human corpse.

Recently the lead prosecutor on this case, Andrew Fields resigned from the District Attorney’s Office and the case was assigned new prosecutors.

KSAT 12 on Tuesday morning reached out to the District Attorney’s Office asking why Rodriguez’s case was dismissed and if Field’s resignation had anything to do with it. Here is the following statement that was emailed to us:

“The law requires that our office prove each offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If sufficient evidence to meet this standard is not available, a case must be dismissed.” - DA’s Office

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.