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Tejeda, Vasquez cases will proceed in Breanna Wood capital murder case

Tejeda dismissal hearing.jpg
Posted at 12:01 PM, Aug 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-30 19:37:18-04

CORPUS CHRISTI — The capital murder cases against Joseph Tejeda and Sandra Vasquez will proceed after motions to dismiss were denied Tuesday.

The state will waive the death penalty for both.

Tejeda and Vasquez are accused of killing Tejeda's ex-girlfriend Breanna Wood in 2016.

Tejeda's attorney filed the motion claiming prosecutorial misconduct after it came to light that the Nueces County District Attorney's Office granted Wood's mother, Fallon Wood, access to case files.

"The very notion that the evidence in this case could be trustworthy is out the window," said Vasquez's defense attorney David Klein.

Torres and Klein both said the boxes that were made accessible to Fallon Wood were not accessible to the public.

“Between 10 to 13 boxes that she was categorizing and that she was putting in order for the district attorney’s office, and yet we have one box and half a box,” said Tejeda's defense attorney De Ann Torres.

The judge in the matter Manuel Banales agreed that the circumstances are unusual.

“No DA’s office that I have ever heard of would ever do that," he said. "It’s never been done until now. And it’s a matter of great concern to this court.”

But after hearing testimony from Fallon Wood, Nueces County District Attorney Mark A. Gonzalez, first assistant district attorney Angelica Hernandez, and the district clerk's office, Banales sided with the state.

"I do not find that whatever incompetence, negligence or carelessness may have occurred — that’d been done by the DA’s office, in this county, on this case — it does not rise to the level that requires this court to dismiss the indictment.”

Nueces County First District Attorney Angelica Hernandez has admitted that Fallon Wood had seen files pertaining to her daughter's case, but only those that had been entered into the public record.

Klein argued that this posed a problem.

"The only way that I have been able to see these documents was when I issued a subpoena for the clerk to bring the file up here," he said. "So Number 1, we are starting off with — it is not correct that anybody can go to that computer terminal and look at those documents."

Banales and Texas assistant attorney general James Hough were assigned to the Breanna Wood murder case after 105th District Court Judge Jack Pulcher and Nueces County District Attorney Mark A. Gonzalez recused themselves from the case.

Hough agreed that what the Nueces County District Attorney's Office did shouldn't have happened.

"I agree with that," he said. "But, I don’t understand how that affects the right of the defendant. Or, I definitely don’t understand how it taints this case.”

Gonzalez said he recused himself because Wood threatened to sue both he and Pulcher.

“They stated in their motion that Mrs. Wood intended to sue Judge Jack Pulcher," Torres said. "Which is why Jack Pulcher recused himself. Which we know now based on her testimony that that wasn’t the case.”

“How does that affect the rights of each of these defendants?" Banales said. "How are they denied a fair trial? It doesn’t matter who the judge is.”

Tejeda's trial is set to begin in January 2023 and Vasquez is expected to begin in March.

This is a developing story. Check back with KRIS 6 News for more.