Release from Alan Nash Erath County District Attorney
STEPHENVILLE (January 11, 2018) – On Tuesday, District Judge Jason Cashon sentenced Amanda Cantu, 36, to 10 years in prison for Abandoning or Endangering a Child.
A jury of seven women and five men heard evidence of a January 29, 2017, traffic stop involving a Jeep Cherokee operated by Cantu as she entered Stephenville on west Highway 377. Officer Andrew Honecker of the Stephenville Police Department detained Cantu due to an outstanding warrant.
As Officer Honecker investigated, he discovered a small quantity of methamphetamine in Cantu’s purse. In the vehicle with Cantu were two of her children, a daughter age 14 and a son, age 11. Cantu was indicted for Endangering a Child, a state jail felony, based on her possession of Methamphetamine in the presence of a child under the age of 15.
Despite arguments from the defense concerning the amount of Methamphetamine in the car being small, the healthy appearance of the children, and the lack of evidence of impaired driving, the jury took just under thirty minutes to find Cantu guilty as charged in the indictment.
Due to her criminal history, which included two felony convictions out of Medina County, the range of punishment was enhanced to two to 10 years in prison. After just over two hours of deliberation, the same jury which convicted Cantu assessed the maximum ten-year sentence.
“The men and women who write our laws in Austin recognize that there is a problem of adults using methamphetamine and shirking their responsibilities as citizens and parents,” Nash reported. “Accordingly, the law is written to empower jurors to find that a child under 15 is endangered when a person possesses or uses Methamphetamine in the child’s presence. Methamphetamine use shatters families and leads to chronic joblessness, poor parenting, and generational addiction and criminality. Possessing or using Methamphetamine around kids is criminal, and this jury has made it clear our community is not going to put up with it.”