Bexar jury to decide fate in decorated Army staff sergeant’s child sex case
Closing arguments are expected to begin this morning in the trial of a decorated U.S. Army sergeant who worked in military intelligence at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston who is charged with sexually abusing several young girls.
A Bexar County jury has been hearing testimony this week in the case against Martin Balleza, 40, charged with continuous sex abuse of a child in connection with an outcry by a young girl in February 2016. He’s accused of sexually assaulting several young girls, all relatives.
Jurors heard two children, 9 and 11, and a teen, 16, testify that they were sexually abused by the sergeant, who worked in military intelligence and at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.
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The defendant’s brother, Steven Balleza, told the jury his brother admitted to some of the allegations against him after being hospitalized in the wake of a suicide attempt.
Balleza has pleaded not guilty and disputes the allegations.
An active-duty staff sergeant at the time of the alleged incidents, Balleza was assigned to the 201st Military Intelligence Battalion at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. He joined the Army in 1997 and worked as a chemical operations specialist. He has been deployed three times to Afghanistan and once to Iraq, and received numerous medals of commendation, according to an Army spokeswoman.
Balleza is represented by defense attorney Monica E. Guerrero. Assistant Bexar County District Attorneys Daryl Harris and Denise Hairston are prosecuting the case in the 399th state District Court, which is presided by Judge Frank J. Castro.
If convicted, Balleza faces up to life in prison.
Elizabeth Zavala is a courts and crime reporter in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read her on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | email@example.com | Twitter: @elizabeth2863