Judge to issue ruling on change-of-venue in case of a former SAPD officer James Brennand at a later date

Earlier this week the state was ordered to turn over conversations between Wren Collective and DA’s Office about the case

SAN ANTONIO – A judge on Thursday heard arguments on whether the case of former SAPD officer James Brennand should be moved to another county or stay in Bexar County.

Attorneys for the state and defense presented arguments on the matter.

The defense said that the case has had the most media coverage in recent history. They even presented the judge a binder with more than 140 pages of news articles about the case.

They also showed media clips from SAPD Chief William McManus and DA Joe Gonzales.

The state argued that the case got national attention and that potential jurors from any county could have heard about the case. They also believed that there was enough potential jurors in Bexar County to get a fair trial.

437th District Court Judge Joel Perez did not rule on the matter during the hearing saying he had to look at the evidence presented closely before making a decision.

On-duty SAPD officer Brennand shot then-17-year-old Erik Cantu in a McDonald’s parking lot in October 2022, after Brennand recognized Cantu’s vehicle from an evading arrest case the previous night.

Three days after the shooting, SAPD released portions of body-worn camera footage that showed Brennand firing multiple rounds into the vehicle where Cantu and his then-17-year-old female friend Emily Proulx were eating, as Cantu attempted to back up and drive away.

Last month, the defense filed a subpoena for conversations between the Wren Collective and the District Attorney’s Office about the case, but the state countered with a motion saying the communications were irrelevant and private.

On Monday, Perez ordered the state to turn over its communications with the Wren Collective but under a protective order so only Brennand’s defense team can see them.

It’s unclear if the defense will try to admit those conversations into Thursday’s hearing.

Last October, the defense filed the motion for a change of venue.

Brennand’s attorneys argued that it would be impossible to find an impartial jury due to the extensive media coverage the incident received. They also argued that remarks made by both San Antonio Police Chief William McManus and Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales about the incident would sway any potential jurors.

Read more reporting on the KSAT Investigates page.

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.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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