A 2011 San Antonio killing left a mother, a daughter and her roommate dead, and neither of the men involved facing murder charges or the death penalty. One of the alleged killers will only be serving only 10 years for possession of child pornography.
In one of the more sensational and horrific murder cases in the Alamo City in recent years, Baron Ochoa was sentenced Thursday, not for his alleged part in the killings and the arson that followed, but for charges of continued sexual abuse that will keep him incarcerated for up to 55 years.
The case started in 2011 with a bitter custody dispute between Conrad Ochoa and Rebecca “Veggie” Gonzales, over their young daughter “Sammie” Ochoa. Add in the mix the mother suspecting continuous sexual abuse of the little girl by her Uncle, Baron Ochoa. Ochoa had told his niece again and again that she and her mother would die if the little girl ever told anyone about his activities, court records revealed.
Ms. Gonzales maintained during the custody fight that the girls’ father and uncle were sexually abusing her daughter.
Police interviewed the 4th grader, who gave them graphic descriptions of what they had repeatedly put her through. That was August 11th.
On September 14th, the family home on Karen Drive in north-east San Antonio was burned. Firefighters found three bodies inside, the little girl, Sammie, her mother, “Veggie,” and the mother’s roommate, Pamela Wenske. After the bodies were removed from the charred wreckage of the house, autopsies showed the three women were stabbed to death.
Police officers immediately interviewed Conrad Ochoa, and his brother Baron at the time, but couldn’t connect the two men to either the murders or the suspected arson.
In December, 2011, about four months after the deaths, the brothers were arrested on a variety of child exploitation indictments that stemmed from the murder case. When police investigated Conrad Ochoa’s’ computer, they found thousands of illegal and pornographic images of children under age 10. They also found a video of Baron Ochoa having intercourse with a young girl. Conrad Ochoa was facing 38 counts of possession of child pornography and his brother, Baron, with continuous sexual abuse of a child.
In 2013, more a year after the killings, the brothers were charged with capital murder, and Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed said at that time she would seek the death penalty. Subsequently a special prosecutor decided that they could plead guilty to lesser charges.
In a January story on KSAT 12, special prosecutor Mark Luitjen said, “The capital murder cases simply weren’t there.” He continued “All of the capital murder charges were dismissed.”
“But they were dismissed without prejudice,” Luitjen explained, “which means that in the event that new evidence is found or is brought forward then they can be re-indicted for capital murder.”
By testifying against his older brother, Conrad Ochoa received a ten year sentence in January on one count of possessing child pornography. After pleading guilty, Baron Ochoa was sentenced Thursday on one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child and two counts of indecent sexual performance by a child. He received two 55-year sentences, to be served concurrently.
In speaking with the San Antonio Express-News, Gonzales’ mother, Suzy Bianchi-Peters said today that she was disappointed by Conrad Ochoa’s sentence, “but it’s better than nothing.”
Rob Milford is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. You can follow him on Twitter @milford_rob.