Testimony: Man chuckled while telling friend he killed cop in San Antonio

Photo of Michelle Casady

SAN ANTONIO — Mark Anthony Gonzales chuckled after telling a friend he had just shot and killed a cop, the man testified on Thursday, the third day of Gonzales' capital murder trial. 

"The first words out of his mouth were 'I killed a cop. Don't tell no one, not even your wife," Steve Starling testified in state District Judge Mary Roman's courtroom. 

Gonzales has pleaded not guilty to the shooting of Sgt. Kenneth Vann, who was shot more than 25 times with a .223-caliber rifle as he waited at a red light in 2011.

Starling said in his rear view mirror he could see the growing scene at Loop 410 and Rigsby Avenue as more and more police cruisers arrived.

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"I told him 'it looks like a bunch of fireworks back there and he kind of chuckled,'" Starling said. "I thought that was pretty sick." 

Starling and Gonzales had spent most of the day together on May 27, 2011, he testified, drinking beer and catching up. They eventually parted ways around 2 a.m., when the bar closed. 

Starling testified that he was scared for his family's safety and took what Gonzales said as a threat as he explained why it took him more than a week to come forward. 

"What's a person who just murdered a sheriff capable of doing to your family?" he asked. 

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Under cross examination, defense attorney Paul Goeke asked Starling whether the growing reward money offered for information in Vann's killing factored into his decision to wait to come forward. 

Starling denied that was a factor and said he's been offered no reward money to date. 

Testimony will resume this afternoon in the 175th state District Court. 


Twitter: @Michelle_Casady