SAN ANTONIO — Two brothers charged in a 2011 triple slaying in a case linked to alleged child sex abuse will not face the death penalty, and one of them has agreed to help prosecutors.
Special prosecutors in Bexar County last week revealed they had dropped efforts to seek the death penalty against Baron and Conrad Ochoa, the San Antonio Express-News reported (http://bit.ly/1ZeALG3 ).
Baron Ochoa, 40, agreed to plead guilty to sexual abuse of a child and sexual performance by a child, and to cooperate in the case against his brother, who remains charged with capital murder and child pornography. Conrad Ochoa, 35, still faces life in prison without parole if convicted.
The victims were Conrad Ochoa's 10-year-old daughter, Samvastion "Sammie" Ochoa; her mother, Rebecca "Veggie" Gonzales, 29; and their roommate, Pamela Wenske, 41.
The brothers were indicted on capital murder charges in 2013. Former Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed had said her office would seek the death penalty.
Special prosecutors were later appointed to the case after Reed's successor, Nicholas "Nico" LaHood, requested his office be recused because one of his division chiefs previously represented Baron Ochoa.
One of the special prosecutors, Tylden Shaeffer, declined to say why the death penalty option was dropped.
"It is our intent to get someone who we think is a bad actor off the streets for as long as possible, and this plea agreement guarantees that result. And it was not lightly entered into," Shaeffer said of the plea deal.
Baron Ochoa has not yet been sentenced. His plea agreement calls for prosecutors to recommend between 25 and 55 years in prison on each of the three charges, to run concurrently, "provided he didn't testify for his brother," said Ed Camara, the attorney representing Baron Ochoa.
Information from: San Antonio Express-News, http://www.mysanantonio.com