San Antonio man’s death penalty trial in second week
A defense attorney for a 41-year-old San Antonio man facing the death penalty in the killings of two neighbors in 2016 attempted to discredit a detective and his investigation Monday as the trial entered its second week.
Luis Antonio Arroyo was 39 when San Antonio police arrested him and accused him of capital murder-multiple persons in the deaths of Rodney Spring, 47, and Quickether Jackson, 36. Spring, who was shot, died at the scene, and Jackson, who was shot and stabbed, died later at a hospital.
Tandylyn Jackson, 59, Quickether’s mother, was the lone survivor of the attack. When the trial opened last week, she testified that Arroyo, whom she called “Tony,” kicked in the front door of her apartment in the 3800 block of Sherrill Brook Drive after she accused him of taking her cigarettes.
The woman told jurors after she was stabbed at her front door, she called 911 and identified “Tony” as her assailant. She stayed on the line so that first responders could find her at her home.
Before recessing Thursday for a long weekend, the jury heard testimony from crime scene investigators, medical examiners, and SAPD Detective Robert Bunnell. He explained what jurors were viewing in the two-hour video interview of Arroyo after his arrest, in which he denied knowledge of the fatal stabbing-shooting.
On cross-examination Monday, defense attorney Joel Perez attempted to discredit Bunnell for what he viewed as mistakes in the investigation. He slammed the detective for not keeping up with a crime scene list that showed who was at the scene, and leaving a shell casing inside a pillowcase that contained what investigators believe was the gun used in the shooting.
Perez also questioned why detectives did a “protective sweep” of the defendant’s apartment without getting a search warrant.
“We didn’t have a warrant, but the law provides the opportunity to do that,” when looking for suspects, Bunnell told the court.
Perez also was critical of Bunnell for not looking at other “Tony Arroyos” in the area, even though the detective said the eyewitness was able to identify her attacker.
Spring was Arroyo’s next-door neighbor, and Quickether Jackson’s childhood friend, Tandylyn Jackson told the jury last week, adding that the three routinely would visit and smoke crack that they purchased from Arroyo, who used heroin.
Arroyo was involved in a separate incident this year while he awaited trial. In March, he and two other inmates escaped from the Bexar County Jail. Arroyo, Jacob Anthony Brownson and Eric Treviño — all charged with capital murder — allegedly climbed 20 feet inside a recreation area in the jail and cut a hole in mesh to escape. All three were captured hours later.
If convicted, Arroyo faces death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. This is the first death penalty case in Bexar County since Mark Anthony Gonzalez was condemned in 2015 for killing Bexar County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kenneth Vann in 2011.
The case is being heard in the 227th state District Court, presided by Judge Kevin O’Connell. The case is expected to wrap up in early August.
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