When 81st Judicial District Attorney Audrey Louis took office in January, one of her primary goals was to get six pending murder cases in Atascosa County to trial. The six cases which are all more than three years old, were Shawn Puente (capital), Jenevieve Ramos (capital), Joe Anthony Perez (capital), Jose Juarez (capital), John Finch, Samantha Hurt Jones, Naomi Delgado and Guy Flores.
This week, the trial dates for those cases, plus four additional, are being set in Atascosa County. Donna S. Rayes, 81st District judge, will preside. As of press time, the court is waiting for families and lawyers of the victims and accused to be notified before releasing all the trial dates. The Pleasanton Express will be reporting updates as they are released.
Joe Anthony Perez, who is charged with capital murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault date/family/home, is set to stand trial on December 4. Perez is accused of killing Ariel Fernandez, who died of a stab wound December 13, 2015, just five days after her 24th birthday. The trial is currently set to be held the week of what would be Fernandez’s 26th birthday.
Shawn Ruiz Puente and Jenevieve Ramos are charged with capital murder in the death of SAPD Officer Robert Deckard. Deckard, a 31-year-old father of two and seven-year veteran of the force, was shot in the head December 8, 2013, while pursuing Puente and Ramos who were armed robbery suspects. Deckard spent 13 days in the intensive care unit at San Antonio Military Medical Center with a bullet lodged in his brain. He died December 21, 2013. The trial was set for August 9. However, Judge Rayes granted the defense’s continuance in the death penalty trial. The trial date is tentatively scheduled for January 2018 as of press time.
Samantha Hurt Jones, John Bryan Finch and Naomi Delgado are charged in the June 2014 murder of Lindsey Wadkins, 29. Wadkins, who was shot multiple times, was found dead by a pair of high school students just north of Jourdanton on a rural county road. Watkins, a 2002 graduate of Pleasanton High School, left behind a 2-year-old daughter. According to Atascosa County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO), Wadkins was friends with the three accused of killing her.
Guy Flores is charged with killing 89-year-old J.C. (Jake) Peoples, who lived in Pleasanton. Investigators stated that Peoples had evicted Flores from the rental property where the alleged murder took place. Peoples was reported to have died from blunt force trauma to the head on October 14, 2015. The rental property was located just several miles outside Poteet in the Shalimar subdivision.
Jose Juarez is charged with capital murder of a child under 10 years of age for the death of his three-month-old son Mason. The incident occurred in early August 2016 three miles northwest of Pleasanton. The child died several days later in the hospital on August 19.
Joseph Anthony Casanova of Pleasanton is charged in the October 18, 2014 death of Esperanza “Hopey” Frausto,19. Casanova was allegedly intoxicated and crossed over into oncoming traffic and hit Frautos and a passenger head on.
Matthew Serna is charged in the December 3, 2015 shooting death of Lawrence Bert Cole allegedly from a fight that broke out in Pleasanton over a Yeti cooler.
Nicholas Campbell has been indicted for criminal negligent homicide. It was reported that Campbell was driving a vehicle while Allister Ferguson was on the top of the vehicle. Ferguson fell off the vehicle which rolled over Ferguson and killed him. Both had been drinking on the date of the incident, October 17, 2015.
Raul Cruz is charged with criminal negligent homicide and will also stand trial.
“We’ve got these people in custody that are going to be tried as quickly as possible to try and get justice and peace for those victims’ families,” said Louis. “My goal is to provide effective and timely prosecution.”
She explained it is very frustrating for law enforcement when they arrest people who are not being held accountable in court. She said there need to be consequences.