BELTON — Santiago Vasquez’s appearance in Martha J. Trudo’s courtroom was short on Friday morning, but it was straight to the point. After someone stood in front of him and read the grand jury’s guilty indictment, delivered on June 14, the 84-year-old man charged with the murder of his 80-year-old neighbor stood there calmly with a hearing aid device plugged into his ears like headphones.
“Not guilty your honor, not guilty,” said Vasquez, an Army veteran.
Vasquez is charged with killing John Seth Jr. on May 30, in the 2800 block of Fishpond Lane in Killeen. The two men were next-door neighbors.
Seth’s stepson Michael Coleman said that during the 12 years his father lived in that home, Vasquez harassed Seth numerous times.
After Vasquez entered his plea Friday in the 264th District Court, he was taken back into custody. He looked over his shoulder and waved to his family members who were sitting in the crowd.
Previously, Vasquez’s attorney James Stapler said that he was going to seek a bond reduction. That was not discussed Friday.
“($1 million) is excessive and unreasonable. There is no way for my client to post a bond in that amount,” said Stapler in a June interview. “My client has extensive local ties and has never committed a crime in his 84 years.”
As of Friday afternoon, Vasquez remained in Bell County Jail.