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Michelle Barrientes Vela faces sentencing after tampering conviction

No punishment was handed down Monday as the sentencing phase of the trial continues.

SAN ANTONIO — Michelle Barrientes Vela, the former Bexar County constable convicted of tampering with evidence earlier this month after a widely publicized trial, will have to wait to find out how much time she's going to spend behind bars—if any time at all. 

Legal teams deliberated for several hours Monday before going into recess without handing down a punishment. More witnesses are expected to be called Tuesday. 

Last month's verdict concluded 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.

The testimony today focused on the culture inside the Precinct 2 office that Barrientes Vela ran.

Months before the warrants were served regarding the fake cash logs—there was an investigation into Barrientes Vela’s office about having her employee Leo Moreno arrested on perjury charges.

The charges were later dropped but Barrientes Vela was indicted for making false statements against Moreno.

The charges brought in this case included evidence tampering and official oppression.

Deputy Jeremy Miner said Vela was “a cancer to her own office” and prevented it from succeeding due to the policies she put in place.

“Throughout her entire tenure in the office, she constantly made up new policies and procedures based on specific instances where people had issues with her,” Miner said.

The prosecutors say they have an additional 8 to 10 witnesses to call on Tuesday and could have additional testimony in October.

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

Barrientes Vela served 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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