Well, you can’t claim that Mexican Michael Scott Quinn is a lazy Mexican. He obviously has a strong dose of European genes that make him want to do the job right when he has a job to do.
Hammer, electric tree saw, and fire were his weapons of choice.
And yep, his rival has been vanquished. Quinn’s pride has been restored.
A Bexar County jury took a little less than 20 minutes Monday to find Michael Scott Quinn guilty of murder in the brutal hammer beating death of Albert Guerra, whose body was dismembered with a tree-trimming saw and set on fire.
A medical examiner had testified that Guerra, 56, died May 4, 2013, from blunt force trauma injuries after being hit 19 times with a hammer on the back of the head. He already was dead when his legs were sawed off — one at the knee and the other above the thigh.
The case was about “rage and the total destruction of a human being,” prosecutor Jason Goss told the jury in closing arguments.
“What a horrible way to die,” he said. “What a horrible way to have your body treated after death.”
San Antonio firefighters discovered the victim’s burning remains on a plastic sheet beside the tools when they went to Guerra’s North Side home to put out two separate fires. Quinn, now 53, told police in a videotaped interview that Guerra died because he hit Connie Yanez, a woman who had been involved with both men.
Yanez, now 40, and Guerra had just broken up and Quinn said the pair went to Guerra’s home to get her things the night of the slaying. Both were charged with murder and each gave statements confessing to the killing, though prosecutors discounted Yanez’s confession and she declined to testify Friday, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Quinn did not testify until the punishment phase began after the guilty verdict was read. He told the jury under questioning by his attorney, Bob M. Hicks, that he and Yanez had planned all along that Quinn would take the blame.
“I told her that I would take the rap,” Quinn said. “I wasn’t planning on getting caught.”
Quinn told the jury that nothing he said in his videotaped confession to police was true, other than the fact that he did cut Guerra’s legs off.
He said he didn’t remember hitting Guerra with a hammer because he hadn’t eaten and that he had “killed” a full bottle of tequila when he began sawing off the victim’s legs.
His responses to questions by his own attorney at times seemed incoherent and off topic, but he stuck by his claims of no recollection of the horrific killing. Questioned by Goss, he said he did remember Yanez bringing him a circular saw and that he remembered cutting up the body, he remembered the blood and remembered asking Yanez if she had the plastic sheeting.
Asked if he felt guilty, he said he “felt sorry that I was tricked into this.”
In closing arguments before the verdict, prosecutors reminded the jury that the autopsy performed on Guerra found that the victim had Benadryl and Trazadone in his system, along with blood pressure medication.
“The man was asleep,” said prosecutor Talia Nye. “Why was there a fire in the bed and living room? There was a separate fire in the bed because that’s where he was killed. That’s where most of the blood was, because he was asleep.”
Quinn had said he decided to burn the body because sawing it up was “hard,” Goss recalled, adding, “This man sawed through a femur with a tree trimming saw. Of course it was hard.”
Hicks pointed to Yanez’s video confession argued that Quinn called his brother that night and admitted to “cutting” the victim, but he never said he killed him “and never said anything about a hammer.”
Testimony in the punishment phase of the trial continues Tuesday morning in the 437th state District Court.