Jurors deliberate Texas courthouse shooting case

AP News
Posted: Apr 30, 2013 1:17 PM

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Jurors on Tuesday began deliberating the case of a Houston man accused of fatally shooting a 79-year-old woman when he opened fire on his daughter outside a Texas courthouse last year.

Bartholomew Granger, 42, is charged with capital murder in the death of Minnie Ray Sebolt last March. If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

Prosecutors want the former truck driver and rapper on death row.

Granger has acknowledged that he fired at his daughter and ran over her with his truck outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in downtown Beaumont after she accused him of sexual assault and testified against him in the case. But he said he did not shoot Sebolt, a bystander who was accompanying a relative to the courthouse.

Granger's daughter, now 22, survived the March 14, 2012, attack but spent three months in a coma. She testified against him last week.

Jefferson County assistant district attorney Ed Shettle said in closing arguments Tuesday that recordings of jail phone calls showed Granger saying he was proud of the attack.

"I ask you to do what you know in your heart," Shettle told jurors. "Find him guilty."

Granger insisted Monday that he had run out of bullets while shooting at his daughter and therefore could not have killed Sebolt.

"How could I have killed her?" he asked the court.

Defense attorney Sonny Cribbs said if there was any doubt that Granger fired the bullets that killed Sebolt, he should not be found guilty of a capital crime.

"Our position is he's not guilty of capital murder," Cribbs told jurors. "He might be guilty of murder."

On Monday, Granger and Shettle engaged in feisty back and forth during cross examination, with Granger finally asking the prosecutor why he was so hostile.

"What did I do to you?" Granger asked.

"That little old lady bled to death," Shettle replied. "That's why there's such animosity."

Prosecutors say Granger was furious with his daughter, her mother and his estranged wife because they had testified against him in the sexual assault trial. He illegally bought an assault rifle from a Houston gang member then waited outside the courthouse in his truck for hours to take his revenge, prosecutors said.

Granger said the events of the day were hazy, but then went on to describe in detail how his daughter fell, how she cried for him to stop and how he repeatedly pulled the trigger then ran back to his truck and drove over her.