The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

May 1, 2013

Testimony begins in murder trial

PALESTINE — After seating a jury late Monday, state attorneys begin calling witnesses Tuesday in the murder trial of a Palestine man accused in the death of a 27-year-old Anderson County man.

Larry Warren is charged with murder in the August 2010 shooting death of Jacob Kennedy outside a residence in the 100 block of CR 1121, just south of Elkhart.

Authorities have said Warren shot Kennedy in the head with a .22-caliber rifle outside the residence sometime around 1 a.m. on Aug. 28, 2010, during a dispute taking place at a gathering there.

The jury of five women and seven men were selected on Monday, and began hearing from witnesses including the 9-1-1 operator who took the call on the shooting and a game warden who was first to arrive on the scene.

Also taking the stand was Audrey Clark, Warren’s common-law wife; Stormey Lusk, who was baby-sitting Clark and Warren’s children prior to the shooting; and Leslie Goodnight, a witness at the scene.

Clark testified as to her activities on the date of the shooting, beginning with she and Warren’s decision to ride four-wheelers at a local ATV park that day and to leave the couple’s two children with a babysitter, Lusk.

Lusk is the daughter of Daniel and Deborah Plummer, who all lived at the residence where the shooting took place.

“We had planned to be there at about 11 a.m. that day, but Stormey and her mother were going to pick up a friend in Grapeland for a party that night,” Clark said. “So I told them I would bring the kids at about 3 p.m.”

Clark testified that an agreement was made that she would pick up her children at about 10 or 10:30 p.m., but claims a miscommunication between the parties led the sitter to believe they would be picked up at 7 p.m.

“They both began calling me numerous times, so I felt that I should go ahead and get them (the children),” she said. “They were getting increasingly angry (Lusk and Deborah Plummer).”

Warren, Clark said, had been drinking while they were at the ATV park, so she drove Warren to their home that evening and then got into her own truck to pick up her children.

“I called Deborah and Stormey before I left and asked if they wanted me to go to Wal-Mart and pick up the makeup I had promised Stormey for babysitting,” Clark testified. “They said to go ahead and bring it... they didn’t seem that concerned about the kids at that point.”

After her trip to Wal-Mart, Clark testified that she made contact with her drug dealer and one of his “homeboys” in order to purchase a gram of methamphetamine she promised to sell to Deborah Plummer.

“I told them I was afraid to go there alone, so (the dealer’s friend) agreed to go with me,” Clark said. “I had made arrangements to sell meth to (Deborah) Plummer, and because I didn’t have the right amount, I thought they might beat me up.”

In the meantime, the more than 10 people at the Plummer’s gathering had become increasingly intoxicated, with Deborah Plummer contacting Warren to ask where Clark was.

Upon arrival at the Plummer’s, Clark was immediately confronted by Deborah Plummer and a fight ensued. Clark testified she was badly beaten in the altercation and reported that her tires had been slashed. Her phone and keys also were taken, she said.

During the fight, Warren arrived at the scene in his truck. Clark had testified that he was angry that she had not come back home with the children yet and that he had been told she was with another man (who had already left the scene).

“He (Warren) got out and shot his gun in the air,” she said. “I assumed it was to try to stop them from beating me, but it didn’t work.”

Daniel Plummer, Clark testified, got in an altercation with Warren in an attempt to take away his gun. Kennedy, Clark testified, had also attempted to take Warren’s gun away when Warren arrived at the scene.

“I heard another shot and Daniel took off running and they stopped beating me,” she said. “They told Larry that (the man with me) had taken off down the road.

“Daniel took off running with the gun and Larry chased him into the yard,” she continued. “That was when Daniel shot Larry.”

Warren suffered a grazing gunshot wound below his right ear and was initially transported to Palestine Regional Medical Center by ambulance before being lifeflighted to Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler.

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Lusk testified that she had become increasing angry with Clark that evening, as she had understood that the children she was watching were supposed to be picked up at 7 p.m.

“My mother and I kept trying to call her... we called her a lot, up until the time she came to get them,” she testified.

When Clark did arrive, Lusk testified that she walked out of the residence with Clark’s daughter in an attempt to put her in the car, but Clark would not open the door.

“So I took her back into the house,” Lusk said. “I came out later and she and my mom were fighting. I heard somebody scream and  saw the fight.”

Lusk also said that after seeing Clark hit her mother, she had walked up to Clark herself and hit her with the bag of makeup from Wal-Mart.

“I thought it was funny,” she testified. “I was angry at her for being late.”

Lusk entered and exited the home several times that evening.

“I heard a gunshot and a scream and went back outside,” she said. “I saw a person at the end of the drive, went back inside and heard another shot. I came back out and Larry had been shot.”

Lusk showed much emotion during her testimony about the shooting, seeing Warren injured and her “Uncle Jake” dead at the end of the road.

“Jake was my dad’s best friend,” she said. “I was walking around. I was in shock.”

State testimony was scheduled to continue at 8:30 a.m. today in the district courtroom on the second floor of the Anderson County Courthouse. 349th State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher is presiding over the trial.

Representing the state is Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe with Assistant DA Scott Holden. The defense is represented by Palestine attorney Mark Cargill.

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Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at mrainwater@palestineherald.com

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