Jury deliberating in case of San Antonio man accused of murder, burning of ex-girlfriend
A 63-year-old San Antonio man is facing life in prison if a jury here convicts him of murder in the beating death of his ex-girlfriend, whose body was set on fire and dumped on a Southeast Bexar County road in 2015.
Jurors began deliberating around 9:30 Friday morning in the case against Antonio Nuñez Jr., who has been on trial since Tuesday. He is accused of killing Lisa Carter, 47, on Aug. 17, 2015.
In closing arguments, prosecutors Leo Gonzalez and Melissa Saenz told the jury that Nuñez had motive to kill his ex-girlfriend because Carter had accused Nuñez of assault, and he spent three months in jail before the case was dismissed.
“She had a case on him, he was in jail for 90 days, and then she’s dead right after he gets out of jail,” he told the panel. “He was the only person who was a threat to her.”
Gonzalez asked the jury to dismiss the argument put forth by defense attorney John Economidy that a member of the Aryan Brotherhood who lived near where the body was found likely killed Carter, whom he called a “snitch” because she was an informant for the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
He also reminded the panel that Nuñez admitted to relatives that he killed his ex-girlfriend, doused her body with gasoline and set her afire.
Economidy argued throughout the trial that his client didn’t kill his ex-girlfriend and accused the Sheriff’s Office of coercing those relatives into making their statements by implying they could lose their children if they didn’t. He asked that they find Nuñez not guilty.
On Thursday, before prosecutors and the defense rested their case, jurors saw a video of the defendant telling Sheriff’s Detective John Perez that he didn’t kill Carter. Perez also told the jury Nuñez’s sister told authorities her brother admitted to the killing and burning of Carter’s remains.
But Nuñez insisted his sister didn’t understand what he meant.
“I didn’t kill her,” he told Perez on the video. “I threw her out. I killed her by throwing her out to the wolves.”
Nunez went on to explain that he viewed “the wolves” as people she ratted out to authorities.
Around 4:45 a.m., Aug. 17, 2015, Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to the 8200 block of South W.W. White Road in Southeast Bexar County, where a man on his way to work saw a burning body on the side of the road.
The case went cold until Dec. 19, 2016, when authorities positively identified the woman as Carter by using DNA testing and a partial fingerprint and jewelry recovered from the body at the scene.
As a medical examiner testified Wednesday and walked the jury through autopsy photographs of Carter’s injuries, a male juror asked to take a break. As the panel filed out, the man fainted on top of seats in the jury box.
Bexar County Deputy Medical Examiner William McClain treated the juror, and Judge Laura Parker had bailiffs clear the courtroom. Emergency medical technicians responded with a stretcher; however, the man was not taken to a hospital. He later was released from jury service and an alternate took his place.
The case is being tried in Felony Impact Court.
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. | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @elizabeth2863