Appeal in child abuse case delays capital murder trial of man accused of killing infant

Terrence Harper found guilty of injury to a child in 2022; he was also charged in 2012 murder of another child left in his care

SAN ANTONIO – A man found guilty and sentenced to 99 years in prison for severely beating his son is now awaiting to go to trial on a separate charge of capital murder of a child under 10.

In 2019, Terrence Harper was arrested and charged in the beating of his four-month-old son.

This case also led police to reopen a 2012 child death case where an infant died, allegedly in Harper’s care. The incident was initially ruled an accident, and he has since been charged with capital murder in that case. The indictment said Harper struck the infant with an unknown object, shook him and threw him against a wall and floor.

Harper has since filed an appeal concerning the injury to child case, which has put the capital murder case on hold.

“The parties have submitted their briefs. We argued the case back in March, and we’re anxiously awaiting an opinion from the court,” defense attorney John Hunter said.

Hunter said it is common to appeal a sentence, and it can take a while to get a ruling back from the appeals court.

Special prosecutor Daniel De La Garza was assigned the case after Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales recused himself because he was Harper’s attorney before he won the 2018 election.

De La Garza said the appeal’s court decision will determine what he does next.

“If the state wins, then we’ll deal with the capital murder case,” De La Garza said. “If we lose, unfortunately, we’ll have to come back and retry that case again.”

The next scheduled hearing for Harper is in July. If no decision is made, the cases will remain on hold.

Whenever he goes to trial on the capital murder charge, if found guilty, Harper is facing an additional sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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.

Recommended Videos