Witness admits to role in murder of man beaten, dismembered, body parts thrown on barbecue grill

Jose Luis Menchaca beaten, suffocated, cut up, body parts burned

By Paul Venema - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Dennis Austin, 32, said he was in disbelief when he saw Jose Luis Menchaca, 35, beaten with baseball bats and suffocated. Though Austin said he didn’t take part in the attack, he admitted he helped move Menchaca’s body from a West Side home where the attack occurred to a backyard shed.

“I was scared as to what I’ve seen, to what I experienced,” Austin said Friday as he testified in the trial of Gabriel Moreno, 36, who is accused in Menchaca’s slaying in September 2014. “I never experienced anything like that before.”

Menchaca was killed in what prosecutors said was revenge for a drug deal that didn't go as planned.

After he was beaten with baseball bats and suffocated, Menchaca’s body was cut up and his limbs were burned on a backyard barbecue grill.

This is Moreno’s second trial in the murder. His first trial ended in a mistrial last February.

In May, Daniel Lopez, 32, who was also accused in Menchaca’s slaying, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

If he is found guilty, Moreno faces a sentence of life in prison.

Testimony is scheduled to resume Monday in Judge Ron Rangel’s 379th District Court.

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