Crime San Antonio man accused in 2015 “Hell’s Gate” killing found guilty of murder

22:21  12 january  2018
22:21  12 january  2018 Source:   mySA

San Antonio, Texas man gets 99 years for 2015 ‘Hell’s Gate’ killing

  San Antonio, Texas man gets 99 years for 2015 ‘Hell’s Gate’ killing A San Antonio man found guilty last week in the 2015 fatal shooting of a man whose body was found in a West Side drainage ditch called “Hell’s Gate” has been sentenced to 99 years in prison. Robert Martinez was convicted of murder Friday. It took a jury about 90 minutes to decide on a sentence Wednesday morning. Martinez, 21, faced five to 99 years or life in prison.

A San Antonio man accused in the fatal shooting of Steven Cerna, 19, whose body was found in a West Side drainage ditch in 2015 has been found guilty of murder . Prosecutors said Cerna was taken to a drainage ditch on the West Side known as “ Hell ’ s Gate ” and shot and killed on Feb.

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A San Antonio man accused in the fatal shooting of Steven Cerna, 19, whose body was found in a West Side drainage ditch in 2015 has been found guilty of murder.

Robert Martinez, 21, was accused of luring Cerna to a motel with the promise of drugs or money. Prosecutors said Cerna was taken to a drainage ditch on the West Side known as “Hell’s Gate” and shot and killed on Feb. 20, 2015.

It took a jury about 90 minutes to reach the verdict Friday morning.

Prosecutors said the killing was done in retaliation for another slaying that did not involve Cerna, while the defense contended that authorities arrested the wrong man.

The case went cold for two years until Martinez started bragging about the killing, prosecutors said.

Martinez’s uncle, Larry Isaac, in jail on a pending kidnapping case, testified for the state Thursday that his nephew admitted he shot Cerna.

MS-13 gang member who stabbed 15-year-old girl pleads guilty to brutal killing

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Hall leaves the court after being found guilty of murder in the death of her husband, Bill Hall Jr., who was killed in 2013. Photo: William Luther / San Antonio Express-News.

Cerna’s mother testified Tuesday that her son suffered from mental illness.

Isaac admitted his testimony was part of a plea agreement that capped his prison sentence to nine years instead of the 20 he faces.

State District Judge Melisa Skinner gave jurors a short break before beginning the punishment phase. Martinez faces up to life in prison.

Elizabeth Zavala is a San Antonio Express-News staff writer. Read more of her stories here. | ezavala@express-news.net | @elizabeth2863

Sessions heightens use of death penalty at Justice Department .
Attorney General Jeff Sessions will seek the death penalty for at least two murder cases in what top Justice Department officials are calling the first signs of a new heightened usage of the practice under a Trump administration. In a decision Monday, the Justice Department announced it will seek the death penalty for Billy Arnold, a Detroit man charged with killing two rival gang members. Sessions also announced in December that the agency would seek the death penalty for Jarvis Wayne Madison, who is accused of fatally shooting his wife.

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