The state continued testimony Wednesday in the trial of a local man accused in the 2010 death of another man, bringing to the stand law enforcement officers, a forensic expert and two witnesses to the shooting.
Larry Warren, 38, is charged with murder in the 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. 29, 2010, during a dispute taking place at a gathering there.
Starting the day’s testimony Tuesday was Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jay Russell, who oversees the ACSO’s Criminal Investigation Division. Russell assigned the case to an investigator and assisted with the initial investigation of the shooting.
According to testimony, Russell arrived at the scene of the shooting at around 3 a.m., having contacted Texas Ranger Rudy Flores before reaching the scene. Russell met with other ACSO’s officers for a briefing and helped clear the scene for investigators.
Having been trained in crime scene photography, Russell was the primary photographer at the scene, with other investigators and Flores assisting with the task.
“I took about 200 pictures before my camera overheated,” Russell said. “I asked Flores to take pictures at that point.”
The bulk of Russell’s time on the stand, though, was spent watching a one-hour video interview he and Flores conducted with Warren during the noon hour on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010.
“Warren had sent word to us that he would like to talk to us,” Russell said. “I did a lot of the talking during the interview — Flores and I go back and forth asking questions.”
During the interview, Warren told investigators that he arrived on the scene and saw his common-law wife, Audrey Clark, being beaten by a “group of girls.” He then moved his truck out onto the street so Clark could leave the property.
“I parked on the street so she could get out,” he told officers in the video. “I got out of the truck and Jake Kennedy ran up on me. He came out of nowhere. I don’t know where he came from.”
Warren said he then returned to his vehicle and retrieved his gun — a 22-caliber rifle — out of the back seat.
“I shot the ground... I was scared,” he said. “I fired toward FM 319. I saw Jake (Kennedy) run around the truck and I went back to try to get my wife. I felt a sting on my head and that’s all I remember.”
Later in the video, Warren asked officers if they knew who shot him and what he was shot with. He also told them that he only fired two shots — one to the ground and one in the air.
The testimony of Daniel Plummer, who lived at the residence with his wife, Deborah Plummer and their three children, offered a different perspective from Warren’s on the events surrounding the shooting.
The Plummers were hosting a barbecue that evening with friends and family, and their then 16-year-old daughter, Stormey, was babysitting children for Clark and Warren.
“Larry and Audrey were out four-wheeling and were supposed to pick up the kids at 7 p.m., but the time got moved to 10 p.m.,” Daniel Plummer testified. “I was good... just cooking and drinking.”
As many as 10 adults were attending the barbecue, with most of the adults remaining outside and the children being kept inside the house. The adults had been drinking beer and Jagermeister (pronounced yagermeister), leaving the residence more than once to buy more beer.
Daniel Plummer knew his wife and daughter were upset that Clark had not come to pick up her children on time — a “drama” he chose to stay out of, he said.
“Audrey showed up sometime after midnight with a strange man,” Daniel Plummer said. “The guy got out of the truck and came towards me. I told him to stay back. I stopped him from getting involved.”
Deborah Plummer and Clark engaged in a fight, with Daniel Plummer standing back to watch, he said.
“I don’t remember anyone else involved in the fight, tires being slashed or a brick being thrown,” he testified. “I just stood there watching the fight.”
Billy Lewis, the man who arrived with Clark, had already left the scene. For a few moments, Deborah Plummer left the fight and, with Kennedy, chased the man down the street, he testified.
“Deborah came back and resumed fighting with Audrey. Jake didn’t come back with her,” he said. “Larry pulled in the driveway during the fight. He jumped out of his truck and pulled Deborah off Audrey.”
Daniel Plummer said he then heard gun shots.
“I ran to the street to see what happened,” he said. “The doors to the pickup were open and no one was inside. I ran around the truck and saw Jake laying on the ground with blood on his head and all around his head.”
Then, Plummer testified, he became involved in a struggle with Warren in an attempt to take away the gun.
“I took the gun and shot Larry Warren,” he said. “I feared for the life of my family. I did not know what else to do.”
Daniel Plummer then smashed the gun on the ground, breaking it to pieces, before throwing it towards a wooded area.
“I told my wife that I thought I had killed Larry,” he said. “I went to check on him and he was still alive. I told him I was sorry for shooting him and stayed with him until the ambulance got there.”
Other highlights of Tuesday’s testimony included:
• Pat Bui with the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab shared results of firearm evidence she tested from the scene. A fired bullet tested positive as being fired from the gun taken from the scene of the shooting and three tested cartridge casings were determined to have been fired from the gun.
• Billy Lewis, who was the passenger who arrived on the scene with Clark, testified that he had gone with her to the scene to help her get her children. He quickly left the scene upon arrival, stating that “a bunch of people were coming at me, so I left.”
• Robin Honea, a witness at the scene of the shooting, testified that she was initially involved in the fight with Clark, and was not aware of any drug deal taking place. She stated that Clark’s being late to pick up her children had “put a damper” on the evening, which upset everyone there.
• Palestine Regional Medical Center EMS Paramedics Doug St. Clair and Sherry Boyd testified to conditions of the shooting victims upon arrival at the scene. Kennedy, Boyd reported, was already deceased. Warren, St. Clair testified, was bleeding slowly from a head wound and smelled of alcohol.
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.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org