Appeals court upholds conviction in murder case
by PHILLIP WILLIAMS
May 09, 2013 | 1205 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A state appeals court in Texarkana on Friday upheld the murder conviction of Glenn Wade Myers Jr., who received a 60-year prison term in Gilmer last year for the 2011 shooting of his sister near Big Sandy.

The 6th Court of Appeals denied the appeal of Myers, now 56, Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said in a news release Monday.

A 115th District Court jury convicted and sentenced Myers last June 19, He had testified he did not kill 52-year-old Cindy Espinoza, who was shot outside her rural Nutmeg Road home on July 2, 2011.

Testimony established she was shot through the mouth from close range with a .410-gauge shotgun.

The 6-man, 6-woman jury deliberated more than four hours before convicting Myers, but fewer than 40 minutes in determining sentence.

At one point, The Mirror learned, the jury reported it was deadlocked 11-1 on the verdict, and trial Judge Lauren Parish read jurors what is known in legal circles as a “dynamite charge,” urging them to continue deliberations.

Unless the conviction is overturned on further appeal, Myers must serve half the 60-year term before becoming eligible for parole under current state law.

Then-Assistant District Attorney Edward Choy, now in private law practice in Longview, led prosecution of the case, while Gilmer attorney Tim Cone represented Myers at trial and on appeal. Assistant District Attorney Natalie Miller, who with Byrd assisted Choy during the trial, handled the state’s response to the appeal.

Cone could not immediately be reached for comment Monday on what grounds he cited for the appeal.

Myers’s case boiled down largely to the prosecution’s scientific and purported eyewitness evidence.

The state never cited a possible motive for the slaying in its opening and closing arguments, but Byrd said in the news release that “The motive for this shooting was that the victim had asked her brother for additional funds to help repair a water well on the property,” where both lived in separate homes..

Key prosecution testimony came from Ms. Espinoza’s daughter-in-law, Nochell White, who said she saw Myers running with a gun after the shooting.

In addition, Espinoza’s daughter, Dawn Tigue, testified she discovered her mother lying in the yard after hearing a “boom,” and that when she repeatedly shouted for help, music from a radio in Myers’ nearby house “would just get louder and louder.”

Another prime part of the prosecution case was testimony from Texas Department of Public Safety forensic scientist Trisha Kacer, who said a blood sample from Mrs. Espinoza was consistent with the DNA profile of a bloodstain found on the back of the shirt Myers wore on the day of the shooting.

“The defense attempted to explain this away by stating he had worked with the victim a few days prior when she cut her hand and he had no running water and therefore had not washed his clothes,” Byrd said in Monday’s news release.

Mrs. White, who lived in her own home on the property where the shooting happened, testified she was talking on the phone in her residence when she heard a gunshot.

She said she looked through a window and “I saw Glenn running across the clearing” between his trailer and Mrs. Espinoza’s house. “He had a gun in his hand. . . He was moving at a fast pace, but he was hobbling because he had a limp, “ Mrs. White said.

Apparently attempting to explain that, Myers testified he had tried to kill a snake with “a piece of long, skinny wood,” but it had gotten away.

He also said he was hard of hearing to some degree, and that he heard neither the gunshot, nor Ms. Tigue crying for help. Myers said he had his radio and air conditioner on, as well as a Western movie that contained “a lot of gunfire.”

In addition, Myers testified he had never seen a .410-gauge shotgun which a sheriff’s investigator found under a toolbox on the property four days after the shooting .

Ms. Tigue testified her mother had just showered and was going to collect rent from Myers when the shooting occurred.

Sheriff’s detective David Cruce, who headed the investigation, testified that when he interviewed Myers, the defendant said “somebody had told him a lady had been hurt. He wanted to know who it was.”

Choy asked Cruce, “Did he show any remorse that his sister had been killed?”

“I saw none,” replied Cruce, who said this was the first homicide investigation he ever performed. According to testimony, Myers exited his trailer peacefully when sheriff’s deputies went to it.

When Cone asked Myers “Glenn, did you kill her?,” the defendant replied, “No, sir, I did not.”

But Choy, joining Byrd in making final arguments to the jury, argued “all the evidence pointed to Glenn Myers.”

Choy told The Mirror after the trial he believed the key to securing the conviction was Ms. White’s eyewitness testimony.

Cone said the newspaper that the “blood evidence hurt us pretty bad,” but he still believed there was a “lot of room for reasonable doubt” of his client’s guilt.
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