Palestine man found not guilty of capital murder in death of Jacksonville teen

Cameron Shead, who is charged with capital murder in the 2020 death of Jacksonville teen Tyress Gipson, was found not guilty on three counts by the jury.
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 12:58 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2023 at 4:07 PM CST
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RUSK, Texas (KLTV) - Cameron Shead, who is charged with capital murder in the 2020 death of Jacksonville teen Tyress Gipson, was found not guilty by a Cherokee County jury.

Shead was found not guilty of capital murder, not guilty of the lesser charge of murder, and not guilty of aggravated kidnapping.

Following the trial, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office says they were notified of a person on the north side of the courthouse with a handgun. Deputies responded and cleared the square. While working the area, a person was arrested after he fled from law enforcement. That person is charged with evading arrest and unlawful carrying of a weapon.

Deputies could be seen trying to stop a car and open a door when the person in the car turned away and drove off.

Video shows car speed off from deputies.

The state began its closing arguments on Thursday by laying out their timeline of events.

On Aug. 22, the prosecution said Tyress got a text from Breonna promising him sex and drugs. Breonna picked him up, then he was ambushed and jumped. They took him to an apartment where they hog tied and beat him before he was ultimately shot and killed, the state said. The state claimed Cameron took him to an unknown location where he tried to burn Tyress’ body; nothing more was said about what they did to his body. Later that night, some people gathered in another apartment, and those accused allegedly retold what happened to Tyress. Cameron allegedly said, “If anyone has a problem with that, they can join him,” alluding to Tyress.

The state said Cameron brought Breonna to the police station with a concocted story about that night. Cameron allegedly told her she needed to talk to law enforcement to “get ahead of the issue” and to “clear her name.” Breonna started by telling police the concocted story, but they said she ultimately told the truth. The state said Breonna told police of a location where Tyress’ body supposedly was; they went to the location, and a cadaver dog reacted with alert, but nothing was found when law enforcement dug up the location.

A phone call recorded by the police was played that allegedly captured Cameron assuring Breonna that the police wouldn’t find Tyress’ body. He allegedly told her to keep calm and tell the story they supposedly made. The state claimed Breonna was a scared 18-year-old girl, and Cameron was the mastermind behind the crime.

The defense argued that the investigation lacks evidence.

They said the investigation was not completed properly: that the jury can’t convict if reasonable doubt remains, and there is reasonable doubt here. The defense said the Texas Rangers who have the most resources available to them did not fully investigate, and the state only has Breonna as evidence. The defense argued no one can corroborate Breonna’s story because there is no evidence to back it up.

The defense said on Aug. 26 the Texas Rangers were feeling pressure to act. With Breonna’s story, they got arrest warrants for Cameron, but the defense said, as an accomplice, Breonna has reason to lie. They said the reason a maroon Tahoe allegedly used in the crime is a focus in the case is only because of Breonna’s testimony; the defense claimed to have brought witnesses saying the Tahoe was not driveable during the crime, implying Breonna may be lying. They said the state took Breonna’s story and never looked for the Tahoe or verified if it could be driven.

Breonna’s testimony also indicated a gathering at an apartment, but the defense asked why phone records were not checked by the state to prove her story. The attorney brought up a picture from Aug. 23, the night the crime supposedly happened. They claimed a picture was taken on Cameron’s phone at 1:15 a.m. in his room with his daughter, which contradicts Breonna’s timeline of events. The defense said this picture is evidence proving Cameron wasn’t there, underscoring their argument that the state has no credible evidence to prove Cameron committed the crime. The defense restated that when investigators looked at the spot where Breonna said Tyress was buried, nothing was there. They said that although cadaver dogs are well trained, they aren’t always accurate.

The state gave a rebuttal saying a receipt was found in the Charger from the night of Aug. 23, showing it was not at the apartment party as witnesses from the defense said it was. They said the dogs were alerted to it, which law enforcement said, “means something was there at some point but was then moved.” The state said Cameron took the picture at 1:15 a.m. to try and prove he was home — that it was taken after the crime on purpose to attempt to create an alibi. The state said they believe Cameron is skilled at controlling people, and that was why witnesses were lying for him in the defense testimony.

Cameron Shead faces a life-without-parole sentence if he’s convicted. Shead was one of four people arrested weeks after Gipson’s disappearance.

KLTV's Avery Gorman reports from the Cherokee County Courthouse where jurors are delibrating in the Cameron Shead case.