QUITMAN, TEXAS (KLTV) - Testimony continued on Wednesday in the Jason Walters murder trial with several witnesses taking the stand.
The man who was allegedly arguing with Walters inside Mineola’s EZ Mart, Dietrich Flournoy, testified that he first spoke to Walters while standing in the check-out line. Flournoy said he didn’t like the way Walters was looking at him and told the jury, “he looked like he wanted some trouble.”
Flournoy said that after Walters purchased some ice cream, he walked out to his car, and then walked around to the back of the store.
“Something wasn’t right about him,” Flournoy said.
Flournoy testified that he and Walters were talking with each other when Chris Griffin approached Walters. That’s when Flournoy and other witnesses say Walters pulled his gun and shot Griffin in the neck. Flournoy did not recall Griffin attacking or threatening Walters.
“In my opinion, I think it was an accident,” Flournoy said.
In the moments after the shooting, Flournoy said Walters knelt down and put his hand around the wound on Griffin’s neck while expressing sorrow.
“I don’t think he meant to,” Flournoy said.
The defense questioned Flournoy and other witnesses about possible gang involvement, after telling the jury yesterday that they believe Walters was the target of an organized crime. Flournoy and the other witnesses denied any involvement with a gang or any plot to rob or kill Walters. Flournoy also testified that he did not know Griffin and is unsure why he walked around to the back of the store.
An investigator testified this morning that the only weapon recovered at the scene was the gun belonging to Jason Walters.
The young woman who drove Chris and another young man to the EZ-Mart that night also testified on Wednesday. Through tears, Janie Adams told the jury she saw Griffin’s body hit the ground and remembers seeing the gun in Walter’s hand . She recalls yelling at Walters, “you killed my friend!”
At one point, Adams testified that Walters retrieved his gun, “because he knew exactly what he was going to do.”
Jurors also heard testimony from Tyrone Austin. He was at the EZ-Mart the night of the shooting. Austin told the jury he was in town for a family birthday party and says he had never met Griffin.
He testified he and some other people they had dinner at the Jalapeño Tree before going to the convenience store to rent movies from the RedBox. He told the jury he heard the shot, but “I didn’t see him shoot the guy.”
Austin also testified that at no point did he see Griffin being aggressive.
The defense showed still shots from the exterior surveillance camera as evidence.
The state questioned Austin about allegations from the defense about “secret hand signals” and an organized crime. Austin denied any of that ever happened.
Testimony wrapped up early due to a technical glitch, but is set to continue on Thursday morning at the Wood County Justice Center. Surveillance video from inside and outside the store is expected to be admitted as evidence.
Jason Walters is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Chris Griffin, 18. During opening arguments Tuesday morning, Walters’ defense attorney Cynthia Stevens Kent told the jury the trial was not to determine if her client shot Griffin, but to take a look at why he shot the teen.
She told the jury Walters was scared and fired in self-defense after being targeted by a criminal street gang.
The prosecution told jurors “most of the facts are indisputable” and that they will see will see surveillance video from inside and outside the store. The prosecution said the incident started as a “staring match” with another person who was there with Griffin. Out of the video’s view, Walters pulls a gun and shoots the victim in the throat, according to the prosecution.
Jurors heard testimony on Tuesday from a 911 dispatcher, two Mineola police officers who responded to the shooting and the E-Z Mart cashier who was working that night.
A video from inside the police department was shown to the jury. It shows Walters washing blood off his hands after being cleared to do so by police. His defense attorneys say they were bloody because he tried to help Griffin after he shot him.
The video also shows Walters using his one call from the police department to phone his wife. He can be heard saying, “I didn’t mean for it to happen." He later says, “I did what I had to do. I wish it didn’t turn out this way.”
The first Mineola police officer to arrive on scene testified Tuesday that there was no search conducted of Griffin, the vehicle he had been riding in, or other people at the convenience store that night.