Capital Murder Trial Testimony Begins In Athens - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Capital Murder Trial Testimony Begins In Athens

By 4p.m. Monday afternoon, Donna Bennett, Henderson County District Attorney, had already called six witnesses to the stand.  The list included the Henderson County dispatcher on duty the day of the incident, the neighbor who called 9-1-1, and one of the deputies who responded to the scene.

Monday was all about evidence.

Judge of the 392nd district court, Carter Tarrance, presided over the hearing.  He only allowed still pictures to be taken in the courtroom today.  Shortly after the defendant, Randall Mays took his seat, the prosecution dove right into the case.  The state started by playing the worried 9-1-1 call made by a neighbor, which resulted in the May 17, 2007 killing of deputies Tony Ogburn and Paul Habelt.

Then came the pictures of Mays' home, the crime scene, and graphic photos of the two gunned- down officers.

It was enough to make one very emotional spectator to leave the courtroom.  Mays also became visually shaken; he began to weep during the proceedings.

Bobby Mims, Mays' attorney, did ask the judge to question members of the jury regarding a recent editorial in the Athens Review which asserted members of the law enforcement community would be watching the case closely.  Mims said he wanted to be sure his client's defense had not been tainted. 

The judge decided not to sequester the jury, but did say he would consider that option if necessary in the coming days.

Layron Livingston, Reporting


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