Mineola murder trial continues; surveillance video expected to be shown

Mineola murder trial continues; surveillance video expected to be shown
Jason Walters returns to the Wood County Justice Center following a break on Wednesday, July 10. (Source: Blake Holland)

QUITMAN, Texas (KLTV) - Testimony continues in the murder trial of a Mineola man who shot and killed a teen outside a convenience store.

The witnesses who have testified so far Thursday morning include Howard Austin and the doctor who performed the autopsy on Chris Griffin.

The 18 year old was shot in an alley behind the Mineola EZ Mart back in June 2014 after an argument inside the store spilled outside. Mineola police have said Griffin was not involved in that altercation.

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Austin said he witnessed the shooting and that there were "no aggressive moves by anybody. I don’t understand why he shot Chris, man. It’s a mystery to me.”

Dr. Elizabeth Ventura, with Southwest Forensics in Dallas, testified that residue found on Griffin’s body indicated the barrel of the gun made contact with the skin when the gun was fired.

She said considering his injuries, Griffin likely died within one to two minutes. The court waited in silence as the prosecution took a minute to indicate about how long Griffin was alive after the shot.

The official cause of death was ruled a homicide. The defense pointed out that, “homicide doesn’t always equate to murder.”

Ventura agreed, and said her office does not use the word murder since it’s not their job to determine that.

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Jurors will hear more testimony Thursday in the murder trial of the Mineola man who shot and killed a teen outside a convenience store.

Jason Walters is charged with first-degree murder in the 2014 shooting death of Chris Griffin, 18, at the Mineola EZ Mart.

Surveillance video from inside and outside the store is expected to be admitted as evidence.

The witnesses who testified Thursday morning include Howard Austin and the doctor who performed the autopsy on Griffin.

Austin said he witnessed the shooting and that there were "no aggressive moves by anybody. I don’t understand why he shot Chris, man. It’s a mystery to me.”

Dr. Elizabeth Ventura, with Southwest Forensics in Dallas, testified that residue found on Griffin’s body indicated the barrel of the gun made contact with the skin when the gun was fired.

She said considering his injuries, Griffin likely died within one to two minutes. The court waited in silence as the prosecution took a minute to indicate about how long Griffin was alive after the shot.

The official cause of death was ruled a homicide. The defense pointed out that, “homicide doesn’t always equate to murder.”

Ventura agreed, and said her office does not use the word murder since it’s not their job to determine that.

Testimony will continue today in the murder trial of Jason Walters, pictured on the right. The Mineola man is on trial for the fatal shooting of Chris Griffin, 18. The shooting happened June 2014 at an E-Z Mart in Mineola. (KLTV File Photo)
Testimony will continue today in the murder trial of Jason Walters, pictured on the right. The Mineola man is on trial for the fatal shooting of Chris Griffin, 18. The shooting happened June 2014 at an E-Z Mart in Mineola. (KLTV File Photo)

So far, jurors have heard testimony from 911 dispatcher, two Mineola police officers who responded to the shooting and the EZ Mart cashier who was working that night.

On Wednesday, jurors also heard testimony from the woman who drove Griffin to the store and later witnessed the shooting, and two men who were at the store.

Dietrich Flournoy was one of the men who testified Wednesday. He was allegedly arguing with Walters inside the store. He told the jury Walters "looked like he wanted some trouble.” He also testified that he thought the shooting was "an accident.”

The defense is not disputing that Walters shot Griffin. They’re arguing he was afraid and fired in self-defense.

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