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

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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 . 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.

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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

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