The murder trial for a man accused of killing his girlfriend and dumping her burning body on the side of a road in 2015 opened Tuesday with the defense alleging the victim was a “snitch” whose slaying could be tied to the Aryan Brotherhood.
Prosecutor Leo Gonzalez told the San Antonio jury in his opening statement that evidence would show Antonio Nuñez Jr., 63, killed Lisa R. Carter, 47.
Defense attorney John Economidy said jurors would find that witnesses were coerced into making their statements. The victim, Economidy said, was a “snitch,” a Bexar County Sheriff’s Office informant, which could have caused her death. He also suggested the involvement of a person whom he described as a known member of the Aryan Brotherhood who lived near the site of the body dump.
On Aug. 17, 2015, authorities were called around 4:45 a.m. to the 8200 block of South W.W. White Road in Southeast Bexar County, where a man on his way to work saw a burning body on the side of the road.
The case went cold until Dec. 19, 2016, when authorities positively identified the woman as Carter.
BCSO officials said Carter was identified via DNA testing, a partial fingerprint and jewelry recovered from the body and at the scene.
Nuñez was arrested in January 2017, about a year and a half after authorities found Carter’s body. The arrest occurred after a witness and a relative both told BCSO investigators that Nuñez admitted killing his ex-girlfriend, dumping her body, dousing it with gasoline and setting it on fire. An affidavit said the relative told investigators Nuñez asked for help in disposing the body.
Evidence presented to jurors showed the charred remains were found covered with a tarp; the hands and feet had wire wrapped around them, although they were not bound together; and a metal clamp was around her neck.
The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Carter’s death likely was caused by a head injury and possible asphyxia.
Carter and Nuñez allegedly had an abusive relationship. Records indicate Nuñez was arrested April 6, 2015, for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly assaulting Carter, but the case was dismissed in July 2015, the affidavit said.
Judge Laura Parker is presiding over the case in Felony Impact Court. If convicted, Nuñez faces five to 99 years or life in prison.