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Trial date set in February for indicted former SAPD officer who shot Erik Cantu Jr.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales stands at a podium giving a press conference about the indictments against James Brennand. Daryl Harris, the chief of the District Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Division stands to his right.
Josh Peck
/
Texas Public Radio
Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales announcing the indictments at a press conference. Daryl Harris, the chief of the District Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Division who is leading the prosecution, stands to his right.

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A trial date has been set for James Brennand, the indicted former SAPD officer who shot at 17-year-old Erik Cantu Jr. 10 times in early October. The trial will begin on Feb. 24 if no plea deal is reached.

Brennand was indicted by a grand jury on one count of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault by a public defender on Dec. 1 over the shooting that left Cantu in the hospital for seven weeks, at times on life support.

Brennand faces five to 99 years in prison for each of the aggravated assault charges and four to 20 years for the attempted murder charge. Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales called for the maximum sentence at the press conference where he announced the indictments.

“We, certainly, are going to be seeking what we believe to be appropriate punishment, and right now to me the maximum punishment appears to be appropriate,” he said.

However, Gonzales also said he is not closed off to the possibility of a plea deal. Nico LaHood, the lead attorney for the firm representing Brennand, said his firm was not yet considering a plea, according to the San Antonio Report.

The indictments come two months after the shooting, when Brennand approached Cantu’s vehicle, forced the door open, and demanded he get out before Cantu attempted to flee. After the open car door struck Brennand as Cantu reversed, Brennand fired five times into the vehicle. As Cantu drove the car away, Brennand fired five more times at the moving vehicle.

Emily Proulx, the now-18-year-old passenger in the vehicle who was uninjured, recently retained civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who has represented the Cantu family since mid-October. Crump in the past has said they planned to pursue “civil” justice for Cantu, hinting at a possible civil lawsuit, but no such suit has been filed yet on behalf of either client.

Daryl Harris, the chief of the District Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Division, will lead the prosecution.

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Josh Peck is the Technology & Entrepreneurship Reporter for Texas Public Radio.