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Michelle Barrientes Vela found guilty of tampering with evidence

The former county constable's trial had received widespread attention.

SAN ANTONIO — Michelle Barrientes Vela, the embattled former Bexar County constable, was found guilty on two counts of tampering with evidence by a jury Thursday afternoon.

The verdict concludes a two-week-long trial centered around allegations that Barrientes Vela altered and created her own handwritten cash logs for security at Rodriguez Park on the city’s west side.

"We worked very hard," said Nico LaHood, her defense attorney. "Obviously we respect the process. Whether we agree or not, we respect the process."

She had pleaded not guilty to both counts on Tuesday. She has also been charged with official oppression. 

"This is justice," District Attorney Joe Gonzales said after the verdict was read. "This is the result of three years' worth of hard work."

Prosecuting attorney Dawn McCraw, citing Barrientes Vela's lack of a previous criminal history, said it's likely she'll receive probation instead of a prison sentence. 

"It's probably one of the hardest cases I've done in 32 years," McCraw added. 

"People who are elected officials, they have a trust placed in them by the community," added Oscar Salinas, of the prosecuting team. "Ultimately, at the end of the day, the evidence and the facts showed she violated that trust."

During her opening statements, Prosecutor Dawn McCraw explained the state believes Barrientes Vela tampered with records in 2019. During this time, three separate subpoenas were issued over security cash logs for the park before they were eventually turned over.

The cash logs in questions contained information from a Easter Sunday incident in 2019, where prosecutors alleged Barrientes Vela demanded a man pay money for security for a family event in a park pavilion where alcohol was supposedly present.

Defense attorney Jason Goss denied the claims saying the ex-constable was simply enforcing the law at the park.

Former Bexar County Parks Manager was one of two people cross examined during Tuesday's trial. He explained the policies of the county parks.

Texas Ranger Bradley Freeman also testified on Tuesday. Freeman executed the warrant which led to the FBI raid in September 23, 2019 at the Precinct 2 Constable's Office.

Barrientes Vela serves as the former Constable for Precinct 2 and stepped down from her role in October of 2019. At that time, she also tried to run for Bexar County Sheriff.

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