Dabrett Black Capital Murder Trial continues on day 5

Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 2:41 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The fifth day of testimony in the capital murder trial of Dabrett Black, started as the defense continued to explore the affect Black’s mental illnesses had on his actions. He’s on trial for killing DPS Trooper Damon Allen on Thanksgiving Day 2017.

At 10 a.m. proceedings resumed outside the presence of the jury, the state had taken issue with some of the witnesses being called.

The court and jury heard from two witnesses including James Harrup, who served two tours of duty in Iraq with Black and wanted to testify because of his combat friendship with the defendant. Harrup said Black’s behavior changed over time while on their last deployment together.

LaNelle Black, the suspect’s sister also spoke. She said her brother’s behavior drastically changed and he was anxious, fearful and hypervigilant as he spent more time in the Army. She said her brother was paranoid while on base at Fort Stewart, Georgia thinking helicopters were after him.

Black is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. The death penalty was taken off table after defense agreed to waive an insanity defense.

“What the defense is trying to do in by using self defense is to try and get in all that information that they want the jury to hear through a self defense claim,” said KBTX Legal Analyst Shane Phelps. He has been sitting in on some of the trial but not associated with it. He said the defense has a tough case to prove.

“I think what they really are wanting to do is get that information in front of the jury and get a ‘Not guilty’ based on what we call jury nullification. Which is, we know he did it but look at all this other information, feel sorry for him and find him, ‘Not guilty... Normally in a death penalty case, in a punishment phase that’s all about the psychiatric or psychological testimony. That’s when PTSD would come in, traumatic brain injury would come in, in an attempt to persuade the jury not to give the death sentence. Here, there is no punishment phase. If he’s found guilty of capital murder it’s over he gets life without parole,” he said.

The trial is expected to continue into next week. It will resume Monday morning at 9.

The jury is not being sequestered and was instructed by Judge Patrick Simmons to not watch the news, read newspapers, do internet searches or talk to anyone about the case.

Day one of our coverage is here.

Day two of our coverage is here.

Day three of our coverage is here.

Day four of our coverage is here.

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