Dabrett Black takes stand in own defense as capital murder trial enters day 7

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 12:04 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 8, 2022 at 3:09 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The capital murder trial of an East Texas man enters day seven. Dabrett Black is on trial for killing DPS Trooper Damon Allen on I-45 in Freestone County on Thanksgiving 2017.

Tuesday was the earliest start to the trial so far. At 8:30 a.m. attorneys were in court to have a hearing via Zoom for two defense witnesses. They were interviewed outside the presence of the jury so the state could get a better understanding of what they’d testify about.

Dr. Travis Snyder is a neuroradiologist and talked about a brain MRI, scans and functions of the frontal lobe. He said an analysis of Black’s frontal lobes showed volume loss and that frontal lobes damage is a common injury in head trauma. Frontal lobes impact personality, behavior, spontaneity and executive functions.

Dr. Andrew Newberg was also called to talk about PET scans and discussed the abnormalities found in regions of Black’s brain.

The court also heard some brief words from Dabrett Black himself first thing in the morning, outside the jury’s presence. The judge asked him to take a seat after his comments.

The jury did hear testimony from Dr. Snyder after they were seated shortly after 9:30 a.m. The jury also later heard from Dr. Newberg.

After the lunch recess, suspect Dabrett Black took the stand in his own defense. He talked to his attorneys and the jury about growing up in Lindale, playing sports and wanting to be a truck driver. He joined the Army so he could do that. He also said his childhood was normal and his mom had strict discipline to keep him in line.

Black told the jury he cried on the bus when he returned to the states, and sought mental help and anger management.

We also heard the prosecution cross examine him and he admitted to killing the trooper and knowing that trooper Allen was law enforcement, but he said he felt threatened when he saw a second trooper arriving on the scene for backup.

KBTX Legal Analyst Shane Phelps has been following the trial and shared with us his latest thoughts on the case Tuesday.

“You don’t normally see this kind of testimony in the guilt-innocence phase unless there’s an insanity defense. And Texas really doesn’t have a diminished capacity defense so the big question I think is whether this judge is actually going to give the defendant a jury charge that includes self-defense,” said Phelps.

The jury returns to the courtroom Wednesday morning at 9:00.

News 3′s Clay Falls is in the court each day providing live Tweets of the case.

Our coverage from Monday, March 7 is here.

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