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Former gang member convicted in the murder of San Antonio club owner

October 27, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Former gang member convicted in the murder of San Antonio club owner

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On Tuesday, a San Antonio jury only deliberated for about 30 minutes before convicting Celestino Vásquez, a 35-year-old gang member, and child molester, in the murder of the famous 210 Kapone’s club owner, Pete Gonzales.

Gonzales had Vásquez escorted out of his club back in March 2015. Vásquez managed to come back and opened fire into the crowd outside of the establishment, which killed Gonzales.

Vásquez, whose street name was “Kasper,” is facing life behind bars when he is sentenced on November 2nd, The San Antonio Express reported.

“We cannot let this defendant get away with it,” prosecutor Julie Wright told the jury during her closing argument.

“Pete Gonzales is dead because he (Vasquez) got his feelings hurt when he got thrown out of a bar with just 13 minutes left before it was going to close,” Wright added.

Vásquez’s lawyer, Theresa Connolly, challenged whether the suspect intentionally murdered Gonzales, citing that there was no evidence that Vásquez had ever come in contact the night club owner, much less had a conflict with him.

“The result was horrible,” the attorney admitted to the jury as she presented her closing statement. “Pete Gonzales did not deserve to die. But it was a wild shot, a fluke, that killed him. It was reckless. But did he act intentionally?”

Pete Gonzales, was gunned down back in March 15, 2015

Pete Gonzales was gunned down back on March 15, 2015

The prosecutor, however, contended that the act was deliberate.

“(Celestino Vásquez)clearly had intent. He points the gun directly at three people, shoots three times, and two of them hit Pete Gonzales,” Wright said. “Then he fled the scene, made sure his clothing was destroyed, the gun destroyed and the car disposed of… He knew exactly what he was doing.”

Connolly wholly questioned the state’s witnesses, but did not present witnesses in Vásquez’s defense, hoping instead to persuade visiting Judge Raymond Angelini to authorize the jury to consider the charge of manslaughter. However, Angelini rejected the attorney’s request.

Wright and Jessica Schulze, a fellow prosecutor, called club bouncers, and friends of Vásquez as witnesses. Additionally, his current wife, who is now seeking a divorce, Felicia Sandoval, testified against the father of her three kids in return for the state dropping a felony charge against her of tampering with evidence.

Celestino Vasquez (center), 34, was arrested in March 20, 2015, in connection with the death of Pete Gonzales

Celestino Vasquez (center), 34, was arrested on March 20, 2015, in connection with the death of Pete Gonzales

She confessed that, under his orders, she ignited his clothes from that night and originally lied to authorities.

The 30-year-old woman told the court that she watched in terror as Celestino Vásquez pulled up in front after being kicked out of the club, stepped out of his Crown Victoria and began shooting his .380-caliber automatic into a crowd of people. An autopsy revealed that two shots struck Gonzales, one of which ripped through his lungs and heart. He was pronounced dead on the sidewalk.

Gonzales’ sister said her brother was “a born businessman and entrepreneur” who early in life turned a $200 loan into a flourishing auto detail enterprise. He found a deep passion for rock music while in Europe, she noted, and later brought numerous of bands to Kapone’s.

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