ELDORADO, TX - 23-year-old Michael Gary Keene's trial for manslaughter and accident involving a vehicle charges, second-degree felonies, started today in Eldorado, Texas.
The San Angelo man is accused of striking Gisele Jarmon, 23, in a June 2015 hit-and-run that killed the woman. The strike occurred near Cavender's Western Wear on the Houston-Harte Expressway frontage road. A shrine honoring Jarmon's memory stands at the spot today.
The second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison, and both indictments are active.
Reporter on scene: Mariah Fernandez
10:25 p.m. — A jury in Eldorado, Texas has found Michael Gary Keene innocent of all charges Monday night. Keene was on trial for manslaughter and 'accident involving a vehicle' charges, both second-degree felonies. Had he been convicted, the charges carried 2 to 20 years in prison.
More to come in the morning broadcasts.
3:30 P.M. — A forensic doctor specializing in autopsy and people subjected to trauma, testified that after looking over the charts and the autopsy report, the information in it was not accurate. There was no x-rays done on Jarmon's body, yet she had suffered several broken bones.
Also, the autopsy showed that Jarmon had no trace of a prescription medication Depakote in her body, indicating she was off the medication for at least several days. Testimony was given that the side effects of coming off of the medication included dizziness, unsteadiness and suicidal thoughts.
The judge was upset at the state for not providing the defense with some paperwork.
The jury will be called in at 4:00 p.m. and deliberations will begin on the case.
Noon — Prosecution calls two peace officers to the stand this morning.
Adrian Castro was questioned about the night of the incident. He also conducted the second interview which was shown to the jury. He said Keene "came clean" and admitted to going to a party instead of his apartment after hitting something only after he said they had a search warrant for his phone.
The second witness, now retired officer Sgt. Todd Hornbecker, was on duty at the time of the incident and participated in the investigation, assisting Detective Gesch. He stated he did not observe significant damage to the vehicle, at least not enough to warrant concern. After meeting with the apartment manager, they were told the vehicle was tied to apartment 404, which was Michael Keene's. Talking with Keene, Keene related the events of the night: approximately 11:15 he clocked out from his work at Texas Roadhouse restaurant, where he was employed, but came home to the apartment.
They also watched the surveillance video taken by the apartment complex, and re-looked at damage to the car.
They came back to the apartment, and while talking to Keene, a text message came on a phone that was on the couch, which Keene then turned the phone off.
Recess was called, the trial will resume after lunch.
Reporter on scene: Victor Guzman
2:30 p.m. — A forensic expert did a cotton swab test of a blood stain on the windshield of the vehicle and impact zone of the car and it "cannot be excluded" as a possibility it is Jarmon's. A 1.3 trillion chance that it might be the combination of more than two people.
A TGC electronics expert specializing a forensic electronic data recovery was brought in to see if any data was deleted from Keene's phone.
Soto testified that a text was sent that showed Keene was drinking that night.
Keene was driving on the right hand side of the road.
When Keene went back to see what he might have hit, he did not get out and search the area, He just drove by.
Testimony showed Keene had looked down, heard and felt a "thud", and then a piece of glass hit his face when he looked up.
11:00 a.m. — State is now bringing in the actual windshield to the courtroom.
Defense objected, windshield not brought into the courtroom.
State calls detective Chris Soto; she was identified as the lead detective in the investigation.
Jury was shown video of Michael Keene being interviewed at the San Angelo Police Department headquarters hours after the arrest.
Keene acknowledge the damage; said he didn't know what it was; claims he went back to the site where he "felt a bump" and had glass hit his face; claims he didn't see/find anything.
He didn't notice the hair, just a crack in the window. He said he used a flashlight to inspect the windshield because he knew he hit something.
Soto was visibly frustrated in the video, thinking he is lying — that he had multiple opportunities to see the hair, had a flashlight, but still didn't see it.
Keene "hung out" at a friend's house after the crash until about 3 a.m. The incident was probably around midnight.
Defense is about to cross-examine Soto, will likely last into the lunch break.
12:20 a.m. — Prosecution testimony centers on windshield and crime scene details. Photos of the scene are being questioned, other crime scene minutiae scrutinized.
10:30 a.m. — Babs Jarmon, Giselle's mom took the stand. She was questioned about her daughter's medical status.
Defense said based on medical records, Giselle had the mental capacity of a 7-year-old.
Testimony to the events that day: Altercation between Gisselle and her mom; domestic altercation; mom went to room; daughter went looking for her, wandered out of the house off to the Houston Harte Expressway; ended up allegedly getting hit by Keene's car.
Mother leaves stand.
State is calling to evidence, a piece of Keene's windshield (possibly has hair on it).
Keene's family has not appeared in court.
1:30 p.m. — Court recesses until 2:30 p.m. Juror questioning continues.
Questions asked to jurors:
- concerning the penalty of the charges (2-20 years, $10,000 fine or probation)
- whether considering probation would be a hindrance in their coming to a decision
- Whether or not a defendant exercising his 5th Amendment rights would cloud their judgment
The mother of the deceased, Babs Jarmon, is listed as a witness for the prosecution.
The defense has raised a question about the amount of law enforcement that are listed as witnesses for the prosecution.
Also the weather for the day is being called into question. According to NWS records, at the time of the incident it was raining with 1.32" for June 15-16, with breezy conditions — 16-22 mph, gusting to 21-25 mph.
More to come.
10:30 a.m. — Still into jury selection, going until noon. John Best is the 119th District Attorney prosecuting, Ashley Knight is the assistant DA.
Defense consist of J.W. Johnson, Jana Johnson, and John Carol.
24 witnesses are expected to take the stand (a number are law officials, almost half), called in a witness today.
The presiding judge is 51st District Judge Barbara Walther.
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