GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — A Houston man convicted of capital murder for a slaying during a shooting spree last year outside a Texas courthouse disrupted the punishment phase of his trial for the second straight day Thursday with an outburst.
Bartholomew Granger, 42, apologized for an obscenity-filled rant the previous day as his trial resumed Thursday morning. Within hours, however, Granger screamed at his daughter as she was being cross-examined by his attorney after testifying that Granger had molested her years earlier, the Beaumont Enterprise reported (http://bit.ly/1328kjK).
Granger has admitted that he opened fire on his daughter outside the downtown Beaumont courthouse last year but insists that he did not kill a 79-year-old bystander. Granger says he shot his daughter because she had testified against him in a sex assault trial.
During his outburst Thursday, Granger also called Jefferson County Assistant District Attorney Ed Shettle, the lead prosecutor at his capital murder trial, "a demon."
He was escorted from the Galveston courtroom.
The jury that convicted Granger of capital murder in the death of Minne Ray Sebolt is now hearing testimony on whether he should be sent to prison for life with no chance of parole or get the death penalty. Prosecutors are seeking death.
Among questions to be decided by the jury is whether Granger remains a continuing threat.
Granger has said his daughter's testimony in the sex assault trial was false and prompted the shootout last March. He shot his daughter several times and then ran her over with a pickup truck. She spent three months in a coma.
The daughter, now 22, testified Thursday that her father's behavior years earlier escalated from fondling to sex.
The Associated Press generally does not identify alleged victims of sex crimes.
Granger told Judge Bob Wortham at the start of proceedings Thursday he wasn't trying to disrupt the court but reacted to "too much stress and pressure."
He apologized but wouldn't back down from what he said.
"I stand by my words," he said. "I don't stand by my actions."
His attorneys had asked the judge Wednesday to review Granger's mental competence. Wortham said Thursday Granger was competent for his punishment trial to continue.
Granger's trial was moved to Galveston, about 75 miles from Beaumont, so jurors wouldn't have to walk past the crime scene each day.
Information from: The Beaumont Enterprise, http://beaumontenterprise.com