Man convicted in fatal Tyler crash begins resentencing trial
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - UPDATE 4:18 p.m. Footage shows Fulton’s truck on its side. “Something caught my eye and next thing I know I’m rolling.” Still no mention of a deer on the fourth time Fulton is asked what happened.
Officer Goodman: Have you had anything to drink tonight?
Fulton: A little bit.
Goodman: How much is a little bit?
Fulton: Two beers.
Officer Goodman then says they will have to perform a sobriety test.
Schick takes Fulton to a nearby parking lot to perform the sobriety test.
4 p.m. Update
Schick said this was one of worst accidents he’s ever worked just from the sheer impact to do the damage witnessed.
Schick said Fulton voluntarily consented to the field sobriety testing.
Showing bodycam footage from Schick as he investigated the scene.
Fulton says “I was driving and turned left. After that I don’t remember.” He makes no mention of being distracted.
Second explanation later Fulton does not mention a deer. Says he is “headed back to San Antonio.”
3:05 p.m. Update
Schick says Fulton tried to claim that a deer on the gold course distracted him. However that wasn’t what Fulton said the first time they talked Schick said.
Schick said in his time working patrol for a year in that area he never saw a deer in the area.
Schick said he had worked about 200 car crashes before this one. He said “two beers” was the most common response when asked how much someone had to drink in an alcohol involved crash. Schick said Fulton had told him he had had “two beers”. He said he did not smell alcohol on Fulton until he began doing sobriety testing.
2:00 p.m. Update
A new witness was called to testify: Eric Gamble, who was tending bar at On the Border the day of Fulton’s crash. Gamble said he recalled serving Fulton as Fulton was a regular at the restaurant who would often order a 19.5 ounce “grande size” Miller Lite beer. Gamble testified that on the day of the incident, he did not have any concerns about Fulton’s ability to drive. However, when questioned by the state, Gamble said that he is trained to spot intoxication, not impairment.
The state then called its next witness, Brittani Henderson who was living in Tyler at Grande Estate apartments, which is located across from where the incident happened. Henderson said she was in her car and witnessed the incident as it happened. She said the victim was about two cars in front of her when she saw Fulton hit the victim’s car head-on and that there were no sounds of vehicle brakes and he did not swerve to try and avoid the victim. She said Fulton simply hit the vehicle head-on.
A Bulverde man previously convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for the traffic death of a woman has begun a trial for a new sentence.
James Arthur Fulton, 46, was convicted of criminal negligent homicide on Dec. 1, 2017. The jury sentenced him to 10 years in prison but a criminal appeals court ordered a new sentencing trial after ruling Fulton had ineffective counsel.
A Tyler Police Department official said at the time of the crash that Beasley was driving eastbound on Grande Boulevard, when Fulton drove into oncoming traffic, striking a car head-on. Though police later determined Fulton was not intoxicated at the time of the crash, he did admit to drinking beforehand.
Haile Beasley, 20, died in the wreck.
During the punishment phase of Fulton’s 2017 trial, Kristin Woodard, a waitress at the Cascades Country Club, testified Fulton came in about a month after the crash and paid for drinks on his credit card. Prosecutors and Fulton’s attorney knew there was no record of this, but the appeals court said the defense failed to impeach Woodard’s testimony.
In court Tuesday, Fulton’s attorney, John Hodges gave opening statements and asked the jury for a sentence of probation.
The first witness Tuesday was an associate of Fulton’s who testified that he was playing golf with Fulton on May 14, 2016, and had four or five beers with Fulton. He said they finished golfing around 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. and decided to go out to eat. He recalled Fulton having a beer at dinner.
Documents show Fulton and the associate left the restaurant at 9:18 p.m.
A receipt from that day shows there were six beers and two margaritas purchased.
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