State rests its case in day three of Dabrett Black Capital Murder Trial
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The state rested its case in day three of the trial of Dabrett Black, the man accused of killing a Central Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper during a traffic stop on Thanksgiving Day in 2017.
The trial resumed shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday and within minutes, the jury was sent back out after the state rested their case. The defense argued to the judge about looking at self-defense and added they have a right to make a defense for their client.
Video shown to the jury Tuesday showed Trooper Damon Allen’s vehicle being fired upon multiple times by a man with a rifle during a traffic stop on I-45. Allen died after being hit in the head by a rifle bullet. Black is on trial for capital murder.
The defense admits their client shot the trooper, but they want him found not guilty because of multiple mental illnesses. Defense attorneys say Black suffers from PTSD, anxiety, Schizophrenia, and a traumatic brain injury from his multiple military tours in Iraq. Those who knew Dabrett Black as a child and teenager say he’s not the same person he was after his time in the military.
The court remained in an hours-long recess through the morning before breaking for lunch.
Wednesday afternoon, jurors heard from a relative and a childhood friend of Dabrett Black. They said his behavior changed after his time on military deployment and that he was anxious, on edge, and not the same man they knew before. Dr. Steven Yount of Bastrop also testified Black has a disease on his thyroid that can magnify behavior like Schizophrenia.
“I think it’s a very interesting trial. In the sense that there has been an agreement between the state and the defense as to how to try the case and it is interesting to see the attempts by the defense to try and get in information that they might not otherwise be able to get in front of a jury,” said Shane Phelps, KBTX’s legal analyst and a defense attorney who’s previously served as a prosecutor.
Phelps is not part of the case but was in the courtroom Wednesday morning to observe. He says the defense will be limited on what they can show on mental illness, given they agreed to waive an insanity defense.
“In doing that the mechanism I think that they are attempting to use is self-defense. And that’s a pretty deep hole to dig themselves out of. Given the facts of the case and the fact that they admitted that he’s the one who murdered this officer,” said Phelps.
If convicted, Black would be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The trial is expected to take up to two weeks to complete.
The trial resumes Thursday at 9 a.m.
News 3′s Clay Falls is also live Tweeting from inside the courtroom.
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