Jury finds Cody Roberts not guilty of capital murder in 2018 Cherokee County shooting death

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 11:37 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 9:42 PM CDT

RUSK, Texas (KLTV) - The jury has declared Cody Roberts not guilty of capital murder in the 2018 shooting death of Trevor Lawson.

Jury finds Cody Roberts not guilty of capital murder in 2018 Cherokee County shooting death

Thursday’s verdict followed closing statements made in the capital murder trial for one of two suspects accused of a 2018 murder in Cherokee County.

Roberts was on trial for the shooting death of 18-year-old Trevor Lawson at a home west of Rusk. Today, the defense and prosecution made their closing arguments.

At 9:15 a.m., the state made four main points:

  • If you specifically go where someone is with the intention to commit murder, it elevates the charge to capital murder. The state said Roberts did go into the Whitehouse in Maydelle where Lawson was.
  • The state argued the defense witnesses who spoke yesterday had inconsistent stories of when they saw Roberts: Earl said he was asleep when Earl left the house, but Pamela said he was awake.
  • Bodycam video of Roberts arrest showed him saying, “Been waiting on this, I figured it was coming.”
  • The state then talked about Roberts’ confession video, where he says “I shot him in the face”...“I shot the AR empty.” The video included Roberts saying, “I did it because of this,” and pointing to the crown tattoo on his arm. They also showed Roberts at the end of his confession do the sign of a cross and put his head down once the deputy left.

At 9:30 a.m., the defense responded:

  • The defense argued, “A young man lost his life; let’s make sure it doesn’t happen twice.”
  • The confession video was the only evidence the state presented, the defense claimed, pointing out some people confess to things they did not do.
  • The defense claimed Lawrence Mott is the murderer.
  • A witness (Patricia Mainess) testified that she saw Lawrence Mott on the scene, and he said to her “I think I just shot Trevor.”
  • The defense argued the sheriff’s office terrorized Roberts into a confession.

At 10:20 a.m., the state prosecutors spoke again:

  • The state argued there could be more than one person involved (allowing that Motts may also hold fault), but that this is Roberts’ trial, not Motts.
  • The state reiterated that in the confession video Roberts said, “I broke in” to the house and “I shot him in the face.”

The jury began deliberating at 10:35 a.m.

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