AP NEWS

Mother’s emotional testimony the last jury heard in murder trial of San Antonio woman accused of killing boyfriend

April 15, 2019

Shortly before both sides rested in a murder case against a San Antonio woman accused of killing her boyfriend, a jury heard the anguished cries and screams of the victim’s mother as she testified Friday in the murder trial of Laura Flores Messick.

Messick, 32, is accused of killing Chason Montez DeOca, 40, on June 10, 2017. Testimony established that Messick and DeOca were arguing in his home in the 7600 block of Muleshoe on the far West Side before the incident.

Messick told detectives DeOca brought out a gun, and when he put it down, Messick said she took it, shot the man, then grabbed a knife to cut his neck to see if he was dead.

Prosecutors attempted to portray Messick as calm and cold, because after she confessed to police, she told them she left the house and kept going back to retrieve things that belonged to her.

The defense told the panel that it was DeOca who brought out the gun, and said Messick committed an act in self-defense.

A San Antonio police detective testified when the trial opened last week that during her interview at police headquarters, Messick never said she shot the man because she was afraid he would kill her.

Prosecutors and the defense rested their cases Friday after DeOca’s mother was the last witness called to testify for the state. The defense called no witnesses. No clear motive was established, other than the pair argued and there were some jealousy issues involving the man’s ex-wife.

Rachel Montez DeOca began her testimony quietly and attempted to keep herself composed when asked about talking and texting with her son and Messick, and hearing the couple argue while on the phone the night before her son was killed.

“I heard her cursing at him, screaming at him,” she told the court.

Copies of telephone calls from her cell phone established that several calls were made throughout the day, and she cried when she told the panel she “missed a call from my son” at midnight.

She woke up the next morning and had errands to run, she said. But after not hearing from her son in hours, she said she went to his home the evening of June 10, 2017, and made several attempts to enter.

When she got to the backyard, she realized the back door was unlocked, and went in. As she made her way through the kitchen, she began to see blood and bloody footprints. She saw her son in the hallway lying face down in his own blood.

“I ran to him, I just touched him,” she said through sobs. “He was so cold. I grabbed a blanket and I covered my son. There was blood everywhere.”

Prosecutor Talia Triesch showed photographs of Chason DeOca for her to identify — one with him and a relative, and another of the man in his Army uniform.

“My son was such a proud, proud soldier,” Rachel DeOca said. “He went to fight for our country to protect us, in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

She said he was hurt and had to get out, received a medical discharge and was on disability.

Triesch, who had approached the witness stand in an attempt to calm DeOca while she was under direct questioning, asked the woman if she could identify one more picture.

As a photograph of her deceased son was placed in front of her, Rachel DeOca swiveled to face the back wall, put her hands to her face and nearly collapsed from the witness stand.

It took several minutes for Rachel DeOca to compose herself. As the jury left the room, family members and attorneys helped her off of the witness stand and escorted her out of the courtroom. The jury would leave the court several times during her emotional testimony so the victim’s mother could be calmed.

After DeOca’s emotional testimony, defense attorney Edward Garza asked the judge for a mistrial or for a directed verdict, and Torres-Stahl denied the motions. Garza then rested his case.

Closing arguments are expected Monday morning. Should Messick be convicted of murder, she faces up to life in prison and has chosen to be sentenced by the judge.

Elizabeth Zavala covers county and state courts in San Antonio. Read her on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | ezavala@express-news.net | Twitter: @elizabeth2863