Martin Reynolds murder trial day 2: Witnesses say they never expected a shootout

Martin Reynolds Jr. (Source: Smith County Judicial records)
Martin Reynolds Jr. (Source: Smith County Judicial records)
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 4:33 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Day two of the Martin Reynolds trial began with the testimony of a Dallas County deputy chief medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Andrew Carpenter.

Tracy Dyer said she performed a “head to toe” examination of Carpenter on Nov. 6, 2017, observing four wounds in total, including the chest, wrist and arm.

The prosecution then called Carpenter’s mother to the stand, however this was met with an objection by defense attorney T.W. Davidson who said bringing her in is redundant because there is no need to identify Carpenter and there is no evidence that Carpenter’s mother was involved with the incident in any way. Davidson’s objection was overruled and the mother was brought to the stand, followed by Carpenter’s father. Both witnesses were passed to the defense who had no questions.

The state also called David Turner, a detective with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office. Turner constructed a rough timeline of events based on information gathered through interviews, phone records and text messages, which indicates an escalation of talk and rhetoric between Carpenter and Reynolds around midnight the day of the incident. Turner said that about 47 minutes passed from when the communication between Reynolds and Carpenter began and when the shootings took place.

When asked by state prosecutor Bryan Jiral if there is any validity to the theory that this began as a prank call that escalated into “smack talk” before both parties arrived at Jarred Wells’ house for the confrontation, Turner confirmed that there is some basis for the idea. Turner also stated that the gun Reynolds used was not his own and was borrowed by Reynolds from a third party.

When asked by Jiral why Reynolds was arrested for murder despite Carpenter shooting first, Turner said it was due to the nature of the phone calls made by Reynolds, the fact that he had a third party drive him to Wells’ house to confront Carpenter despite being told not to go over there by Wells and the fact that he borrowed a gun. Turner said he believed Reynolds was responsible for starting the disturbance.

Matthew Pardue, a friend of Reynolds’, is then called to the stand by the state. Pardue confirmed he had spent time that evening with friends that included Reynolds and Carpenter’s ex-girlfriend. Pardue stated that he was aware of and had heard at least one of the phone calls between Reynolds and Carpenter, characterizing the first call as a “prank call” which escalated when he said Carpenter became angry and started using “very strong vocabulary” toward Reynolds. Pardue said this escalated tensions between Reynolds and Carpenter, leading to both men using curse words. Pardue told Jiral that he did not hear Reynolds threaten Carpenter but that Carpenter did threaten Reynolds. Pardue said no one thought there would be a shootout between the two men.

Now questioned by Davidson, Pardue again said Reynolds did not threaten Carpenter but gave additional details regarding Carpenter’s threats. When asked by Davidson, Pardue confirmed that Carpenter made threats of violence “along the lines of shooting him in the head.” When asked, Pardue said if someone had threatened him, he too would have armed himself just in case. He also said that it is possible Carpenter was mad at Reynolds because he thought his ex-girlfriend was at the gathering with Reynolds.

Pardue was questioned once more by the state who asked if it was a good idea for Reynolds to go to a place where he was not invited to confront someone who had made threats of violence, to which Pardue responded, “I guess not.” Pardue said he does not know what Reynolds said to Carpenter that made Carpenter mad, nor does he remember any specific insults being made regarding race or sexuality.

James Hunter Ansley was called by the state. Ansley lives with Colton Tate. Jiral asked Ansley if Reynolds mentioned anything to him about the phone call and Ansley replied “Andrew said he was going to put a gun to his head.” When asked if he knew Colton gave the gun to Reynolds Ansley said no.

Davidson asked Ansley if Drew said he would put a gun to Martin’s head and he replied, “Yes.”

Colton Tate was called by the state, he describe the party as a get together with beer pong and drinking. Tate said he did not hear Carpenter and Reynold’s phone call but said he was aware they were “talking crap to each other”. Reynolds told Ansley that he wanted to go over there and get everything settled. Tate said he offered Reynolds the pistol, Reynolds left, and the party continued.

Tate said a call came in from Nathan Garcia saying they were heading to the hospital because Reynolds had been shot. Tate said he took the gun out of the truck and put it back in a safe, he gave the gun to law enforcement when they came to the house.

When asked by Davidson what he thought would happen when Carpenter and Reynolds confronted each other, he said he thought they would “have a fist fight and be done. At most I thought they were going to duke it out and that would be the end of it.”

This was a sentiment shared by Nathan Garcia when he was called by the state for testimony. Garcia is who drove Reynolds to Wells’ house that night. When asked by the state who he thinks is responsible for starting the whole of the night’s events, Garcia said, “I think it was both of them.”

Garcia testified that the only threat Reynolds made toward Carpenter that night was to shoot Carpenter if he followed through with his own previously-made threat of shooting Reynolds’ truck, which came earlier that night during one of the phone calls made during the gathering.

The state then called Alyssa Anders, Carpenter’s ex-girlfriend at the time of the shooting. Anders testified that she had previously talked to Carpenter throughout the day despite the fact that the two were no longer in a romantic relationship at the time stating that she was “trying to help him.” Anders was witness to one of the phone calls between Reynolds and Carpenter in which insults were being made, at which point she said she tried to tell Martin to stop. She noted that she believes Carpenter was not initially aware it was Reynolds who was talking to and insulting him. Anders stated that she heard Reynolds make a threat of physical violence toward Carpenter as well as calling him a vulgar name.

Like Garcia and Tate, Anders also testified that she did not believe that any confrontation between the two men would have escalated to anything beyond a fist fight. She also said that she was not aware of any threats made by Carpenter to shoot Reynolds in the head or to shoot Reynolds’ truck. Anders stated that she believes Carpenter showed up at Wells’ house with guns because he was scared due to Reynolds’ “talking trash.”

The state asked, “Who got into a car with a loaded gun and went looking for someone?” To which Anders responded, “Martin.” However, Davidson then responded with a reminder that Carpenter also drove to a house he didn’t own armed with three guns he also didn’t own in preparation for a confrontation.

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