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Defense continues to make case in Day 4 of Dabrett Black capital murder trial

Black faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of capital murder.
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 11:43 AM CST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2022 at 5:52 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - It’s the fourth day in the capital murder trial of an East Texas Man. Dabrett Montreal Black is accused of shooting and killing DPS Trooper Damon Allen on Thanksgiving Day in 2017 during a traffic stop in Fairfield.

Thursday morning the trial was supposed to resume at 9 a.m. but experienced some delays. The jury was not in Thursday morning after attorneys had been interviewing sociologist Dr. William Brown by Zoom video call. The defense called the sociologist to talk about how Black’s military training was a factor in this case. Judge Patrick Simmons sustained the State’s objections to the witness. Prosecutors argued the testimony was more appropriate for a punishment phase.

Black faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. The state rested their case first thing Tuesday. Now defense attorneys have been focusing on Black’s mental illnesses and have called friends, relatives and medical experts about the conditions he suffers from.

The defense said Black changed after serving several combat tours in Iraq as a truck driver and suffers from Schizophrenia, anxiety, paranoia and has a traumatic brain injury. They continued to take a deep dive into his mental health.

Attorneys spent most of the day arguing what kind of testimony would be allowed when it came to Black’s mental health issues.

Thursday afternoon, Neuropsychologist Dr. Robert Stanulis took the stand to talk about damage to Black’s brain. Black suffered a concussion during his third deployment and the defense has been highlighting how Black felt threatened because of his time in service and military training.

The defense attorney does admit Black shot Trooper Allen, which KBTX Legal Analyst Shane Phelps says leads to a tough road ahead.

“Here there’s no punishment phase. If it’s found guilty of capital murder it’s over. He gets life without parole. So the only chance that the defense has is to try to put that evidence through the guilt-innocence phase and that is a complicated and a potentially unsuccessful effort,” said Phelps.

The trial is expected to continue into next week and the case resumes Friday at 10 a.m. Judge Patrick Simmons said several new witnesses will be called.

News 3′s Clay Falls is sitting inside the courtroom each day and providing live Tweets.

Media is no longer allowed to take images inside the courtroom after another media outlet captured sensitive documents and a picture of the back of a juror’s head.

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