Seguin man pleads to capital murder in boy's death

Updated: 7:13 pm, Tue Sep 13, 2011.

Bob Thaxton, Seguin Gazette

SEGUIN - A 30-year-old Seguin man will spend the rest of his life in state prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to capital murder in the death of a 4-year-old boy.

Testimony had been scheduled to get under way Tuesday morning in Second 25th District Court in the trial of Michael Jason Menchaca who was accused of capital murder of a person younger than 6 years of age, Jesse "J.J." Wohl, but the schedule set out by a visiting judge, Bert Richardson from San Antonio, was altered after Menchaca told his attorneys that he wanted to plead guilty.

His plea was not the result of any offer by District Attorney Heather McMinn. She already had decided not to seek the death penalty in Menchaca's case. When convicted of capital murder with the death penalty off the table, a defendant automatically is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"There's no bargain here," Richardson said during extensive questioning of Menchaca about his understanding of what he wanted to do. The judge told him that life without parole was "the worst possible outcome that can happen to you in this proceeding."

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