Teen accused of killing former correctional officer certified as adult
A San Antonio teenager charged with capital murder in the 2018 death of a former correctional officer was certified to stand trial as an adult by a juvenile judge here Tuesday.
After a nearly five-hour hearing in the 436th Juvenile District Court, Judge Lisa K. Jarrett agreed with prosecutors that despite his age and troubled upbringing argued by the defense, 16-year-old Raul Ignacio Cervera was aware and is “sophisticated enough” to be certified to stand trial as an adult in the death of Abram Garcia IV.
Previous reports indicated an unidentified 15-year-old had argued with Garcia and shot the man.
But testimony at the hearing established the teen was going to buy marijuana from Garcia and his girlfriend, but instead allegedly demanded all of the drugs and shot the man in a robbery attempt.
As the case was first charged as a murder, San Antonio police Detective Mark Duke told the court that because Garcia was killed during the course of a robbery, the offense is now capital murder.
Defense attorney Lorraine Efron called several witnesses to speak to the Cervera’s troubled upbringing, including John Matthew Fabian, a forensic neuropsychologist, who said Cervera suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from childhood circumstances, has an IQ of 80, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and is “low functioning.”
Efron told the court she “didn’t see it” as a capital offense and asked the judge to keep Cervera in juvenile if he was to be certified.
Prosecutors Kathleen Takamine and Sade Mitchell Bogart argued that Cervera knew what he was doing that night. Presenting their own expert, they asked the judge to certify the teen.
After Cervera was magistrated by Jarrett, she set bail at $750,000. He was to be transferred to the Bexar County Jail.
If convicted of capital murder, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. Because he was under 18 when the alleged crime occurred, Cervera would be eligible for parole after serving 40 years.
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. | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @elizabeth2863