Editor's note: KLTV's Kim Leoffler is in the courtroom. Get live updates from the trial here.
The punishment hearing in the trial of James Calvert entered into its fourth day on Thursday, with the convicted murderer present in court. Calvert requested he be excused from proceedings on Wednesday, but after a short meeting in the judge's chambers, he withdrew his request.
One week ago Thursday, Smith County jurors found Calvert guilty of killing his ex-wife Jelena Sririman at her Tyler home on Halloween 2012. The prosecution began presenting their case Monday; Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham is seeking the death penalty.
Read More: Jury finds James Calvert guilty of capital murder
The defense started off proceedings by calling Debbie Campbell, Calvert's sister, back to the stand. She testified to the state on Wednesday that Calvert was a "dangerous person", often allowed to get away with things because of his close relationship with their mother. Campbell said she is not like her mother because she was disciplined; she said Calvert was not, which is why he is like her mother.
She recalled a conversation with their mother when she was asked, "What do you have against [Calvert]?" Campbell said she told her mother she thought her brother was going to hurt someone. She said her mother replied, "Anyone can snap."
After becoming emotional on the stand, Campbell was excused. The state then called Kim Johnson to the stand. Johnson graduated high school with Calvert and said he worked on her computer around 7 years ago.
Johnson said Jelena and her kids came to stay at her home in the past because she told Johnson she "was in fear for [her] life." However, Johnson said when Calvert would come to her home and fix her computer, he seemed normal.
Johnson was excused from the stand, and the state called Calvert's ex-girlfriend Dr. Rebecca Vincent to the stand.
Vincent said she met Calvert at Chapel Hill High School and the two were engaged at one point. Although she said Calvert never hit her, she described their relationship as abusive and said Calvert "was happy if I was not happy."
The state then called on Laura Jackson. She said she met Calvert in 2nd grade and was friends with Jelena.
Jackson said at one point, she took Jelena to the East Texas Crisis Center. Despite the need to escape her husband, Jelena told Jackson she wanted her kids to know their father.
After the two eventually separated, Jackson recalled Jelena was much happier after re-marrying and said she planned to move to Houston. Before those plans would come to fruition, Jackson said her husband received a KLTV 7 news alert on Halloween concerning a death in the area Jelena lived, so he called to check on her. Unbeknownst to them, Jelena was found dead in her garage, shot several times.
Doctor Edward Gripon was called to the stand next by prosecutors to testify about Calvert's mental status before and after Jelena's death.
"There's no evidence this man experience psychotic symptom associated with depression," Gripon told the court.
While the convicted murderer does suffer from depression and anxiety, Gripon said the illnesses would not cause him to do the things he has done.
"Major depressive disorder is not normally connected to criminal behavior," the doctor added.
Instead, Gripon said he would have serious concerns about how Calvert views women, blaming his personality characteristics on "ingrained personality traits" that would "go wherever [Calvert] goes."
Unlike several of the past witnesses, the defense elected to cross-examine the doctor. When asked about coping mechanisms, the doctor said stress can negatively affect a person's ability to cope with situations, even agreeing that someone in jail for 3 years, knowing their life is at risk, would put a person under a lot of stress.
But he added, "the pattern of past behavior" is the best way to predict what someone may do in the future.
Gripon went on to say that there was nothing psychiatric that would explain Calvert's conduct in and out of court.
"To say this man has a problem with anger would be an understatement," Gripon said of Calvert, adding that he worries how he would interact with people on a long-term basis.
After Gripon was excused from the stand, court was recessed until Friday morning. Prosecutors said they have one more witness to call before possibly resting in the punishment phase.
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