Smith County DA won’t seek death penalty in Tyler capital murder case

Smith County DA won’t seek death penalty in Tyler capital murder case
Harvey Louis Martin, 52, is charged with capital murder in connection with the shooting deaths of Krista Newman and Caleb McGrady. The Smith County DA's Office announced Thursday it would not pursue the death penalty. (Source: KLTV News)

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Smith County district attorney said he will not pursue the death penalty in a 2018 double homicide case out of Tyler.

Harvey Louis Martin, 52, is charged with capital murder in connection with the crime. Two people were fatally shot during the incident - Krista Newman and Caleb McGrady.

During a pre-trial hearing on Thursday, Smith County DA Jacob Putnam told the court he would not seek the death penalty against Martin; instead, Martin would face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A Tyler police officer unrolls crime scene tape at the scene of a double homicide that occurred early Thursday morning. (Source: Jeff Chavez, KLTV Staff)
A Tyler police officer unrolls crime scene tape at the scene of a double homicide that occurred early Thursday morning. (Source: Jeff Chavez, KLTV Staff) (Source: Jeff Chavez, KLTV Staff)

Putnam said the decision was never definitive over whether his office would pursue a death sentence, and he believed the jury would likely choose life without parole in this particular case.

Martin’s capital murder trial is set to begin Aug. 24, 2020, with jury selection. The trial is slated to begin the day after a jury is seated, Smith County Judge Jack Skeen said.

According to online records, Tyler police responded to an aggravated assault call in the 2300 block of Ridgewood Drive at about 2:18 Thursday morning. A press release stated that the TPD officers responded to a 911 call about a shooting.

A witness at the scene told the responding detective that a group of people, including the victims, were standing in the yard saying goodbye when the witness heard two gunshots. The witness looked up and saw Martin’s truck speeding off.

Police spokesperson Jenny Wells said Martin drove himself to the police department and turned himself in not long after the shooting was reported.

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