The Bexar County Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) cleared the names of three people in San Antonio who were wrongfully convicted with drug possession — one of them posthumously.
On Wednesday, July 22, CIU exonerated 49-year-old John Gabriel Cape, 48-year-old Louie Garcia, and Rexina Linan-Juarez after discovering that a confidential informant planted drugs that led to their 2017 arrest and 2018 convictions.
Matt Howard, director of the conviction integrity unit, said the informant knocked on the door of Cape and Linan-Juarez’s home in August 2017, begging to let him and his daughter use the bathroom. Howard said that the couple let the man into their home because they were “trying to do the right thing.”
The informant left after being in the home for about 10 minutes. A couple of hours later, officers showed up with a search warrant after being tipped off. While searching the restroom, police found drugs and other contraband tucked behind a wall, Howard sai.
Because Garcia was also in the home at the time, the Bexar County Sheriff charged the trio with possession of a controlled substance between 4-200 grams, a second-degree felony
Cape, Garcia, and Linan-Juarez spent their time in the Bexar County jail as they awaited their court dates and eventual plea deals, and during that time all three maintained their innocence and told their attorneys they believed the drugs were planted.
Linan-Juarez’s health declined while in jail due to multiple illnesses that Howard did not disclose.
“She was desperate to get out,” Howard said during a Wednesday press conference. “And her family thought that she was not not long for hospice care, to be honest with you.”
Cape’s attorney used this to leverage a plea deal for 10 years in prison, saying that Linan-Juarez would be released to be with her family in hospice care. Despite saying that he believed the drugs were planted, Cape admitted guilt.
Garcia was told that everyone admitted guilt, so he took a plea deal for eight years in prison. Linan-Juarez took a plea deal as well and was released on deferred adjudication.
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