SAN ANTONIO – One of two trials began for a San Antonio man charged with injury to a child and capital murder in separate cases.
In 2018, Terrence Harper was arrested and charged with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury, after it was alleged he severely injured his 4-month-old son.
That case led to police reopening a 2012 child death case where a 5-month-old allegedly died in Harper’s care. He was later charged with capital murder in that case.
The injury to a child case is the focus of Harper’s first trial.
The state on Monday gave opening statements, and special prosecutor Therese Huntzinger laid out the case to the jury.
“By his words, he admits that he’s the only one that was in the presence of the baby when the baby suffered those injuries,” Huntzinger said.
Harper’s now 4-year-old son was left with permanent disabilities after the brain injuries he suffered back in 2018.
Huntzinger, during opening statements, said that the baby was healthy until July 12, 2018, and Harper’s explanation of what happened didn’t make sense.
“The amount of force necessary to do this is like a severe motor vehicle accident,” Huntzinger said. “This isn’t a baby ‘wake up’ shaking. This is a violent use of force.”
The defense on Monday chose to reserve their opening statements until the state presented its entire case.
In 2018, Harper was first represented by the now-Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales. He recused himself from both cases then, and that is when Huntzinger was appointed special prosecutor.
This trial is being held in the 186th district court by presiding Judge Jefferson Moore.
If found guilty, Harper is facing 5 to 99 years or life in prison.
Harper’s capital murder trial in the 2012 case is expected at a later date.