On July 30, 2019, Juan Escalante Avalos was sentenced to 12 years in prison for Aggravated Sexual Assault of his stepdaughter. The Honorable Russell Wilson heard the case, and after Avalos asked the judge for probation, Judge Wilson sentenced Avalos to prison. Thank you to the Children’s Alliance of South Texas, law enforcement, Texas DPS Crime Lab, and all those involved in bringing this case to justice. Most importantly, we want to commend the bravery of our young victim, who had the courage to speak out!
As Karnes County jurors sat ready to hear the case, Nicholas Friesenhahn pleaded to 10 years in prison and 2 years in state jail for the arson and burglary of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Kenedy on March 22, 2017. Friesenhahn was taken into custody immediately.
We are grateful to provide some measure of justice to the members of the church. This would not have been possible without the dedication of President Leo Janysek, Jr., and Pastor Wally Schievelbein. We also would like to acknowledge the hard work of the State Fire Marshal, the Kenedy Police Department, District Attorney Analyst Karen Dziuk, and Assistant DA Raneca Henson. Each of these individuals and agencies was instrumental in seeing that justice was served.
Last week, Edward Joseph Freeman pled to 4 years in prison for the October 2018 incident in which Freeman and two others stole and badly damaged the Falls City National Bank ATM. Charges remain pending for the two other individuals.
On Wednesday, June 19, 2019 an Atascosa County jury found Brian Matew guilty of the offenses of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon and Unlawful Possession of Body Armor by a Felon. The case was tried in the 81st/218th District Court of Atascosa County with Judge Russell Wilson presiding.
The jury heard evidence that on September 15, 2017, Chief Henry Dominguez with Atascosa County Animal Control was passed by a vehicle traveling speeds of around 100mph on Highway 16 north of Poteet. He could not safely catch up to the vehicle, so he asked for assistance from Atascosa County Sheriff’s Office and along with Deputy Caleb Bunch, they were able to stop the vehicle.
A search of the vehicle was done for officer safety and a 9mm handgun was recovered from the front seat of the vehicle. After the recovery of the handgun, the defendant admitted to being a convicted felon. It was later found that he was currently on probation in Bexar County for the felony offense of Impersonating a Public Servant for dressing as a police officer and claiming to be a police officer on an application that allowed him to work as a courtesy officer for an apartment complex in Castle Hills.
After finding a handgun, a bullet proof vest with a badge resembling those worn by law enforcement was recovered from the trunk of the vehicle. Body armor is also illegal to be possessed by felons. Along with the vest, Chief Dominguez found handcuffs, radios similar to those used by police, another bullet proof vest cover, a black polo shirt with “Police” written on the back, as well as tools and equipment designed or adapted to enter locked vehicles.
After his arrest and indictment for these offenses, a motion to revoke his probation was filed for his Impersonating a Public Servant conviction in Bexar County. Instead of revoking his probation, a judge in Bexar County granted the defendant an early discharge from probation and a rare order granting judicial clemency, which operates similar to a Governor’s pardon.
Using this order of clemency, the defendant argued he was no longer a convicted felon and should not be held responsible for this crime, even though he was a felon at the time of the offense. The jury did not buy this backdoor effort to avoid responsibility and returned a swift verdict of guilty.
Bradlee Thornton and Adrianna Biggs prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office. We are especially thankful to Chief Henry Dominguez and ACSO Deputy Caleb Bunch for their efforts on this case. We are also thankful to Texas Ranger Shane Staley who testified as our firearms expert about the firearm in this case and for the efforts of all others involved in the arrest and prosecution.
The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Russell Wilson on September 5, 2019.
A Karnes County jury found Heather Marie Ramirez guilty of the 3rd degree felony offense of Assault on a Public Servant. Ramirez was convicted of assaulting a Department of Family and Protective Services employee, who was attempting to enforce an Emergency Removal Order for two of her minor children.
Ramirez elected to... have the judge sentence her. The range punishment in this case is anything from probation up to 10 years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine. Her sentencing date is July 30th.
We are thankful to the Department of Family and Protective Services for keeping children safe. They have a difficult job, and deserve our respect and protection.
We appreciate the time, attention, and service of our jurors, Asst. District Attorney Raneca Henson for presenting the case to the jury, and law enforcement for investigating the case.
On the one year anniversary of the heinous murders of Justine Hosseini and Andrew Toscano, John Waclawczyk pleaded guilty to Capital Murder, a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, and waived his right to appeal. It’s been a very difficult and painful year for Justine’s and Andrew’s families. We hope this plea gives them some sense of justice, healing, and peace. We are thankful for the investigation of Poth Police Department, the Texas Rangers, and Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.
John Ledezma pled guilty and was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the murder of Ruben Esparza (pictured below), and the assault against his estranged wife Elsa Ledezma. On September 19, 2018 John Ledezma entered into the home shared by Ruben Esparza and Elsa Ledezma, and brutally attacked both of them with a box cutter. Mr. Esparza did not survive his injuries. We are thankful for the excellent investigative work by the Pearsall Police Department and the Texas Rangers. It is through their hard work that we were able to seek a swift justice for this defendant and close this chapter for the family of Ruben Esparza, so they may have some sense of peace and closure.
The Honorable Judge Russell Wilson sentenced Marcus Idrogo to 35 years in prison on two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and ordered those sentences to run consecutively. This means Idrogo was sentenced to 70 years.
Marcus Idrogo’s victim, who was 11 years old at the time he repeatedly raped her, finally saw justice. Our victim endured recounting the horrific details of her abuse by testi...fying in a jury trial last summer. The jury also heard evidence of a sexually transmitted disease, and DNA. Despite this evidence, a Wilson County jury was unable to reach a verdict. To avoid traumatizing our victim with a second trial, Idrogo was placed on 10 years probation. While on probation, Idrogo admitted to the sexual assault of his niece, and violated the conditions of his probation. The judge then revoked his probation and sentenced him.
We are grateful for the work of First Assistant District Attorney, Leslie Carranza, Investigator Richard Nichols, and Probation Officer Jamie Weida, for going above and beyond the call of duty. It was delayed, but justice was served.
On May 29th, a Wilson County jury convicted Troy Sanchez, Jr. of Evading Arrest/Detention with a Motor Vehicle. The incident occurred on July 27, 2018. Floresville Police Department attempted to stop Sanchez. At that time, Sanchez led Officers on a pursuit that ended in San Antonio. The Honorable Judge Lynn Ellison sentenced Mr. Sanchez to the maximum - 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Thank you to the jury for their attention and service, the Floresville Police Department, Wilson County Sheriff's Office, and DPS. Their teamwork ultimately brought Troy Sanchez, Jr. to justice.
Honorable Judge Russell Wilson sentenced Gilbert Sandoval, Jr. to 28 years in prison for the aggravated sexual assault of his 6 year old niece. This brave child, now 10 years old, and wise beyond her years, gave a statement to the court, "Family is supposed to help you, support you, and protect you. Instead he hurt me." Her bravery will protect any future children from Mr. Sandoval, Jr. Special thanks to Asst. DA Raneca Henson, Atascosa Sheriff's Investigator Albert Garza, Chief Probation Officer Val Campos, and Children's Alliance of.South Texas for doing their parts to make sure justice is served.