Sex-assault defendant is convicted of capital murder in mid-trial shooting spree
A Texas jury deliberated for less than two hours Tuesday before convicting Bartholomew Granger, 42, of capital murder in the slaying of a 79-year-old woman outside the Jefferson County courthouse last year.
The defendant showed no emotion as the verdict was announced, but the victim’s daughter smiled, the Beaumont Enterprise reports. The punishment phase of the case will begin Wednesday, as jurors decide whether Granger should get life in prison or the death penalty.
Granger, who was at trial at the time of the slaying as the defendant in a sexual assault case, testified in his own defense in the capital murder case after his lawyers declined to give an opening statement. He said that he remembered shooting his daughter, a witness in the sexual assault case who was one of three women wounded in the March 14, 2012 shooting spree, but did not shoot or kill Minnie Ray Sebolt, the Southeast Texas Record reports.
As the Huffington Post reports, Granger testified Monday: “I didn’t kill her. I didn’t have any more bullets. How could I have killed her?”
Lead prosecutor Ed Shettle called Granger an “evil creature” who, he told the jury, “wants to spit in your eyes too” by “getting up here and lying repeatedly,” KFDM reports.
Sebolt, who was not involved in the sexual assault case, was simply a bystander entering the courthouse at the time of the shootings, authorities said. They described the weapon Granger used as an assault rifle.
The defense had asked the judge to allow the jury to consider a lesser charge of murder, but that request was refused.
ABAJournal.com: “Courthouse slaying trial has judge and defendant’s ex-lawyer as first witnesses”