Assistant Attorney General to remain as prosecutor

ATTORNEY

Judge Banales addressed the struggle to find another district or county attorney who would be willing to take over the case. In each instance the answer was ‘no’.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — After years of delays, capital murder suspect Joseph Tejeda now knows when he will go to trial for the death of Breanna Wood.

Tejeda is accused of killing the 21 year old back in 2016 and leaving her remains in a box wrapped in plastic. The container was later found in an abandoned building near Robstown.

There was a lot on the table during Friday’s hearing before the trial date could be set, including several motions from Tejeda’s attorney. One of them was to try and disqualify the Attorney General’s Office from representing the state in the case.

Tejeda was present in his hearing through video chat. His attorney Fred Jimenez argued that he did not believe the Attorney General’s Office has the authority to prosecute the murder case.

You might recall, Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez ended up leaving up asking the court to recuse himself from overseeing the case no one to represent the state.

In April, Assistant Attorney General James Haugh stepped in after a request from Judge Manuel Banales.

Judge Banales addressed the struggle to find another district or county attorney who would be willing to take over the case. During Friday’s hearing he said he first tried DAs in other coastal bend counties.

When that didn’t work, he expanded that search and in each instance the answer was no.

The judge also reached out to Harris County.

“She couldn’t afford to let one of her DAs go because of COVID, the number of capital murder cases pending. she could not help me, and I talked to her 3 times,” said Judge Banales.

The judge concluded the Attorney General’s Office will continue to serve in the case and that their role is within the law.

He denied the motion from Tejeda’s attorney.

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