Court Security

Courthouse slaying trial has judge and defendant's ex-lawyer as first witnesses

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A judge was the first witness on Monday as the government began its presentation in the capital murder case of a man accused of shooting a woman to death at a Texas courthouse last year.

Bartholomew Granger is accused of fatally shooting a bystander, Minnie Ray Sebolt, 79, in March 2012 as prosecutors say he targeted family members who were witnesses in a sexual assault trial then ongoing at the Jefferson County Courthouse, the Beaumont Enterprise reports.

Criminal District Judge John Stevens was the presiding judge at the sexual assault trial. He said he got his gun and ran downstairs to the first floor of the courthouse when he heard someone shout that a shooting was taking place there. People were running and screaming, and a witness in the sexual assault case had been wounded, he testified.

Attorney Rife Kimler, who represented Granger at the sexual assault trial, said her client had been crying, angry and upset about testimony during the first day of the trial and blamed the judge for, as the defendant saw it, allowing witnesses to lie.

Surveillance video also shows Sebolt, who was at the courthouse helping a friend with an errand, trying to run away from a hail of bullets, the newspaper recounts.

The murder trial is being held in Galveston in order to distance jurors from the crime scene.

See also: “Capital murder trial begins for man accused of slaying bystander in shooting outside courthouse”

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