MINEOLA, TX (KLTV) - A Mineola man’s new trial date has been set in a first-degree murder case in Wood County.
Jason Russell Walters is accused of the fatal shooting of Chris Griffin, 19, after a 2014 incident at an E-Z Mart in Mineola. The new trial date for Walters has been set for July 8, 2019. Pretrial hearings are set for April 25 and 26, 2019.
According to Mineola police, 19-year-old Christopher James Griffin was shot after a verbal altercation at EZ Mart on North Pacific Street in Mineola around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 15, 2014.
Walters, also of Mineola, was 41 years old at the time of the shooting.
Mineola Police Department said an argument that started inside the convenience store spilled into the alley behind the store. Police said when they arrived, they found Griffin lying in the alley with a gunshot wound to his neck. Authorities said Walters was found still standing nearby holding a gun.
An ambulance rushed Griffin from the scene to the Mineola Civic Center grounds, where he was supposed to be transported into a helicopter and then flown to a hospital. However, he died from the gunshot wound before they could get him there.
Chris Griffin’s friends insisted Griffin was not the one arguing with Walters inside the convenience store. This was confirmed when on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, Mineola police issued a correction saying Griffin was indeed not involved in the argument inside the store. Surveillance footage was made available by management from inside the store.
Bright yellow crime scene tape on the ground in the alley behind the convenience store reminded Mineola citizens of what happened there that night. The gas station clerk said the initial argument between the men was caught on camera, but the business has been ordered by police not to let anyone see the video, though they themselves did review it.
At the time, the Mineola Police Department said they would not answer any questions about the investigation, including whether or not the men knew each other, what they were fighting about, or if they’d had run-ins with the law before.
Neighbors of the accused shooter say he’s a father of two, a Marine, a Mineola native and seemed like a stand-up guy, which is leaving a lot people wondering why this happened in the small town.
The trial has been rescheduled several times in the years following the shooting; jury trials scheduled for August 2015 and October 2016 were canceled, as were hearings scheduled for 2018. Stay with KLTV and KLTV.com for updates.