San Antonio man sentenced to 40 years in prison for brutal attack of former girlfriend with metal baseball bat, DA’s office says
A San Antonio man was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Tuesday for the brutal attack of his former girlfriend with a metal baseball bat in 2019, according to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.
Masks will continue to be required in Bexar County courtrooms despite new CDC guidelines
Anyone entering a Bexar County courtroom next month when in-person jury trials begin will be required to wear a mask despite new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that allows fully vaccinated people to stop wearing them in most indoor settings.
Judge recuses himself from criminal trials of Barrientes Vela, former captain
Bexar County District Court Judge Ron Rangel has recused himself from the upcoming felony perjury trials of former Precinct 2 Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela and her one-time captain, Marc D. Garcia, the KSAT 12 Defenders confirmed Wednesday.
5 high-profile trials that could happen in San Antonio in 2021
When Bexar County District Courts reopen for trials there are five high-profile cases that might be in the docket for 2021. SAN ANTONIO – As Texas has “opened 100%”, the Bexar County courts remain closed to in-person and jury trials. These trials will take place in the 227th District Court by Judge Kevin O’Connell. AdWhen this retrial takes place it will be in the 144th District Court with Judge Michael Mery. When this trial is set it will take place in the 399th District Court with Judge Frank Castro presiding.
Jury selection in capital murder trial of accused cop killer to resume Monday
SAN ANTONIO – Jury selection will resume Monday in the capital murder trial of a man accused in the execution-style slaying of a San Antonio Police Department detective in 2016. It has been four and a half year years since veteran San Antonio Police Department Detective Benjamin Marconi was shot in the head at point blank range as he sat in his patrol car outside police headquarters. Jury selection in the capital murder trial of 35-year-old Otis McKane, Marconi’s accused killer, began last fall. AdStill, Rangel, who will preside over the trial, said he isn’t considering a change of venue. The Backstory: Otis McKane on trial for execution-style killing of SAPD Detective Benjamin Marconi
‘We don’t want jury service to be a death sentence,’ Bexar County administrative judge says
”We don’t want jury service to be a death sentence for any jurors or any participants in the court process,” Rangel said. The latest Texas Supreme Court order issued Friday gives individual authority to local administrative judges. AdThe Texas Supreme Court emergency order expires June 1. “Maybe if it’s not extended, those minimum safety protocols would not be required to enter into the courthouse,” Rangel said. But he said that for now the protocols will remain in place in all Bexar County courtrooms.
Bexar County grand juries conclude service under challenging circumstances
SAN ANTONIO – The circumstances under which the two latest grand juries served were anything but ideal, with the pandemic ongoing and the recent winter storms in the Bexar County area. The 12-member panels met alternately twice weekly in the cavernous central jury room in the Cadena-Reeves Justice Center basement, which made maintaining social distancing ideal. The juries reviewed a combined total of about 1,600 cases, down considerably from a usual average of 2,000 cases per grand jury, according to Rangel. AdHe said maintaining the secrecy that by law must surround grand juries was a challenge due to the sheer size of the central jury room, which can accommodate more than 600 people. “We had extra security outside the central jury room so that nobody would go into the room that is normally open to the public,” Rangel said.
Bexar County DA’s office, courtrooms, sustain weather-related water damage
Water also seeped through walls down to three courtrooms on the fourth floor, 187th District Court Judge Stephanie Boyd said. ”We had some major damage in our court coordinator’s office,” Boyd said. ”We’re trying to keep the courthouse safe from folks coming in and getting sick as a result of the pandemic,” Rangel said. Rangel said that will likely continue in spite of any water damage. Related: Water pipe bust floods Bexar County DA’s office, damages files
Former Bexar County Precinct 2 constable to be tried on perjury charge first after judge rules to sever offenses
SAN ANTONIO – Former Bexar County Precinct 2 Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela will first go to trial on an aggravated perjury charge after a state district judge this week granted a motion to sever the offenses against her. The motion, granted by Judge Ron Rangel, will also apply to Barrientes Vela’s co-defendant, former Precinct 2 Capt. Barrientes Vela faces one felony count of aggravated perjury, two felony counts of tampering with evidence and three misdemeanor counts of official oppression, related to her nearly three-year tenure as constable. Former Bexar County Precinct 2 Captain Marc Garcia. A spokeswoman for Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales declined to comment.
Sheriff making changes at the Bexar County jail to address court case backlog
”We’re going to make sure that the jail is not the reason for that backlog”, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said Thursday. He said he is making additional space available in order so that more virtual hearings can be conducted at the jail. ”The reality of it is virtual hearings take up a lot more time,” Rangel said as he welcomed the sheriff’s help. Ad“We’re doing everything we can behind the scenes to keep the process moving,” Salazar said. “We know that jury trials are going to be put off for the foreseeable future.”RELATED: District judge says she is ‘fearful’ of COVID-19 risks related to recent courtroom clerk transfers
Felony case court backlog created by jury service moratorium due to pandemic hits 66%
SAN ANTONIO – The limitation of having only remote hearings in Bexar County District and County Court at Law courtrooms due to the pandemic has resulted in what Local Administrative Judge Ron Rangel said is “an alarming backlog in the justice system.”There are currently 9,586 pending indicted felony cases compared to 5,758 in March of 2020, which amounts to a 66% increase, Rangel said. Pending indicted misdemeanor cases have also soared. There were 25,103 in March, and currently there are 32,073 pending cases, including fugitive cases. Asked whether the numbers will accelerate when in-person jury trials resume, Rangel said, “I want to make sure that before we delve into starting in person jury trials that the local health conditions indicate that we’re at a certain level that’s here to stay.”Rangel said once that level is reached, things will begin to move quickly. ”Not only will we have jury trials at a very fast clip, I think the individual parties are going to come to agreement fairly rapidly,” he said.
Beware of Bexar County jury duty scam making the rounds again
SAN ANTONIO – Despite a moratorium on jury service with no in-person jury trials being held, scam artists are trying to take advantage of the way the jury service system currently operates. Bexar County Administrative Judge Ron Rangel said jury summons are only being sent for grand jury service and for one virtual trial per week. So, if you get a call from someone claiming to be from Bexar County Jury Services who wants money, hang up the telephone. Scam artists are once again calling residents claiming they have missed jury duty and therefore have an outstanding warrant for their arrest, Rangel said. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office issued a similar warning last week about a similar scam.
Bench trials an option to address case backlog in Bexar County courts
SAN ANTONIO – As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches one year, the resulting backlog of cases in the Bexar County Criminal Justice System continues to grow since an emergency order from the Texas Supreme Court prohibits in-person jury trials. One option available to both the state and the defense to resolve cases is a bench trial in which a judge serves as both the judge and jury. “I think most judges would prefer to have bench trials during this pandemic.”J. Charles Bunk, a seasoned criminal defense attorney who has also served as a prosecutor for over a dozen years, has been involved in bench trials on both the defense and prosecution. An agreement from the state and the defense is necessary for a bench trial to be conducted. RELATED: In-person jury trials in Bexar County delayed until at least April 1
2,300+ felony cases awaiting trial in Bexar County
SAN ANTONIO When jury service was put on hold due to concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, courtroom activity at the Bexar County Courthouse and Cadena-Reeves Justice Center was nearly shut down entirely in mid-March. Since then, the backlog of felony cases awaiting trial in the countys 10 criminal district courts has gone beyond 2,300 cases, and that is just felony cases. State district courts in Bexar County preparing to reopenWe never go into a panic mode, said Local Administrative Judge Ron Rangel. The jury service moratorium is scheduled to be lifted on June 30. COVID-19 pandemic doesnt stop Bexar County grand juries from meeting
State district courts in Bexar County preparing to reopen
SAN ANTONIO As state district courts prepare to reopen for trials, Bexar County is making changes in order to comply with public safety guidelines dictated by the coronavirus pandemic. Following Metro Health Department protocols, cloth seats are being replaced by folding chairs and social distancing directions are in place in the Central Jury Room. Guidelines proposed for resuming court proceedings in Bexar CountyWhen the protocols are accomplished, jury summons will be sent out. He added that because of the limited number of prospective jurors in the Central Jury Room due to social distancing guidelines, jury selection for trials must change. COVID-19 pandemic doesnt stop Bexar County grand juries from meetingThe courts are going to have to alternate, sort of take turns, and work together, Rangel said.
Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez in Quarantine After Possible Exposure to Cornavirus
Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez of the Bexar County Court at Law 13 announced on March 13 that she had gone into a 14-day self-quarantine after exposure to a defendant who admitted he had spent time with a friend who was exposed to the coronavirus in Italy. Gonzalez told KSAT that she requested the county deep clean her office and courtroom. Earlier in the day, Judge Ron Rangel of the 379th District Court, issued a letter saying that jury trials have been suspended until April 17. Anyone who receives a jury summons during this time should ignore it the Judge said in the letter. In the interim, we will continue to monitor the spread of the virus and notify the public of any updates, Judge Rangel added.outinsa.com
Bexar County suspends jury duty for a month amid coronavirus spread
Bexar County suspends jury duty for a month amid coronavirus spreadBexar County will cease calling people in for jury duty for the next several weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Bexar County will cease calling people in for jury duty for the next several weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Photo: Tom Reel /Staff File Photo Photo: Tom Reel /Staff File Photo Image 1 of / 1 Caption Close Bexar County suspends jury duty for a month amid coronavirus spread 1 / 1 Back to GalleryBexar County will cease calling people in for jury duty for the next several weeks as concern about the spread of coronavirus continues to rattle people in San Antonio, across Texas and around the globe. On ExpressNews.com: Get the latest update on coronavirus and a tracking map of U.S. casesSummoned individuals will not be penalized for not appearing to jury duty during these dates, the memo stated. In the interim, we will continue to monitor the spread of the virus and notify the public of any updates.Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez, presiding judge of County Court-at-Law No.mysanantonio.com
San Antonio mother: Man who killed son in crash got off too easy
Coombs oldest son, Xavier, was 20-year-old when he was killed in a crash on April 25, 2015. "He has been in custody over three years and he's continuously in custody," Rangel said. After a plea agreement, Marchini was sentenced to 10 years in prison but the time he served for violating his bond agreement counted towards the sentence. Coombs said she and her family are serving a life sentence."This guy got to get married in prison...my son won't get married. He's had a baby, my son won't have a baby," Coombs said.
All 3 men were charged with violent felonies. Bexar County let them out for free.
SAN ANTONIO - Criminal defendants in Bexar County some charged with heinous offenses are being released on their own recognizance after being held in jail 90 days or longer. Despite the seriousness of the felony offense, Tate was released from jail in late May without paying bail. Bexar County Court records show his attorney filed a motion seeking release because of delay on May 21, since 90 days had passed since Tate's arrest and he had still not been indicted. Rangel denied his request to be released and Tate remains in custody at the Bexar County Jail. Henricksen said prosecutors knowingly did not indict Hernandez within 90 days.
Judge Nelson Wolff: New magistrate program already a success
SAN ANTONIO - Statistics suggest a new magistrate system implemented on May 1 is already proving successful, according to Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. The numbers show that mental health diversions doubled during the first month of the program. Referencing those mental health numbers, Wolff said, If we can help somebody on the front end, maybe weve changed their whole life around.He said that the numbers also reflect a decrease in jail population. And perhaps the most significant thing, Wolff said, is the presence of a public defender for an arrested person. Administrative District Judge Ron Rangel is among the county and district judges opposed to the new program.
San Antonio closes out Pride month with Pride Bigger Than Texas event
SAN ANTONIO - Pride month is going out with a bang this weekend in San Antonio. The Pride Bigger Than Texas Festival and Parade will start at 11 a.m. and run till 7 p.m. Saturday. Bigger events will be happening throughout the day, including Pride Championship Wrestling at 3 p.m. and a mass wedding officiated by Judge Ron Rangel, of the 379th District Court, which will start at 4 p.m. Starting at 8:45 p.m., the Krystal Kelly Running of the Queens High Heel Race will commence, acting as the official kickoff for the Pride Bigger Than Texas Parade. Those running in the race will be competing for many prizes including a VIP pass to the Bonham Exchange.