LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Murder or self defense? The answer will change Timothy Malone's life.
The former prison guard looks on as the state makes their case, accusing him of killing 47-year-old Terry Adams and shooting Joel Gresham at a May graduation party gone wrong.
"It's a lot different than what you see on television when it's in your own life," Adams' father, John Adams said. "It's pretty difficult. There were some things we had to step out for because it's too gross, too graphic for us. It would leave a memory in our minds forever."
A forensic pathologist walks the jury through photos of Adams' lifeless body.
Doctor Tommy Brown said eight gunshot wounds caused his death.
He ruled it a homicide, claiming the victim came to his death at the hands of another.
Malone was here at the courthouse for a bond reduction hearing just months ago when he admitted firing the shots that killed Adams and injured Gresham, but said it was all in self-defense. It's evident his side is sticking to that story."
Malone's attorney told jurors, "there was a mean streak in these people that they were picking on him."
The defense claims guests at the graduation party made Malone believe they were going to take his motorcycle.
Supposedly, when Malone heard truck engines rev, he thought it was his bike and went outside with his 45-caliber pistol.
Malone's attorney says he felt threatened.
"I don't know what to say about that," John Adams said. "In my heart, I say 'no, I know better, I know my son,' and I know how he was with other people. He was a peacekeeper."
The Adams say it's still early, but they're willing to accept whatever the jury decides.
"It's not about revenge," mother Mary Adams said. "I think Mr. Malone is going to have to live with his actions regardless of how his actions came about, he's going to have to live with that and it could be sentence enough."
Editor's note: Holley Nees provided details at KTRE.com from the courtroom Monday. Below is her account.
The state claims a New Waverly man murdered one man and shot another, his attorney says it was all in self-defense.
Timothy Malone, 34, pleaded not guilty to killing Terry William Adams, 47, of Hudson, and shooting Joel Thomas Gresham Jr., 41, of Hudson in the leg at a May 2010 graduation party gone sour.
Malone is being tried for one count of murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
"All I know is that he was killing Terry, and I was trying to get that out, and he had shot me and I was down," Gresham said in a May on-camera interview with KTRE.
This case is the first murder case for Hudson Police, since the department was created about 10 years ago.
In opening arguments, Prosecuting Attorney Art Bauereiss told the jury May 15, 2010, was supposed to be a happy day for a Hudson woman who had graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Bauereiss explained the woman invited Malone to the graduation party in Hudson. She apparently worked with Malone in a Huntsville prison unit where they had been prison guards.
The state told jurors the defendant arrived on a motorcycle with a partially empty bottle of vodka and said he had been drinking before the party began. Bauereiss said Malone continued drinking at the party along with many of the guests.
The prosecution said Malone gave his motorcycle keys to Gresham and he supposedly put the keys in a dresser.
"During the party a police officer arrived," explained Bauereiss. He said the officer was there to check on the party and make sure the noise level wasn't out of control. Bauereiss said when the officer arrived, Malone jumped the fence and at some point during the party, Malone indicated he needed to get some Benadryl out of his motorcycle saddle bags.
The prosecuting attorney told jurors two men at the party began joking with Malone about taking his motorcycle and the defendant took those jokes seriously. He said later, those men began firing up their trucks and Malone, who was sleeping in another room, heard the noise and believed it to be someone messing with his bike.
The state told jurors Malone came to the door with a .45 pistol, wanting to know who was messing with his motorcycle. The state said Gresham and Adams approached Malone to get him to leave.
"Terry Adams is saying 'put the gun down,'" said Bauereiss. "Joel Gresham works his way into the master bedroom."
The state said Adams asked Malone, "'Is the gun loaded?'" He said when Malone indicated the firearm was loaded, Adams reached for the weapon.
"He shot Terry Adams at least four times, there is a wound to the head, there is a wound to the abdomen and there are going to be two bullet holes to the groin area," said Bauereiss. "When these shots were fired, Terry Adams bled profusely."
He said the defendant then stepped from the bedroom, turned and shot Gresham in the leg.
Bauereiss said Gresham was in the master bedroom when Malone ejected the empty magazine, put in another loaded magazine and pointed the gun at Gresham, then turned the gun toward a lady in the room.
"Oh and by the way, he did take the keys from Joel Gresham after having shot him," said Bauereiss.
The state said Malone left the house, but had trouble maintaining balance of his bike at the end of Scoggins Lane and fell off his bike before he was met by Hudson Police. Bauereiss explained officers ordered Malone to submit and he did. When officers asked him where the gun was, Malone supposedly told them, "It's in the saddle bag."
Bauereiss went on to tell jurors evidence would show the weapon was, "warm to the touch and the hammer engaged."
The prosecution said jurors will see the gun Malone had was the weapon used in the crime and that Malone was intoxicated at the time of the crime.
The state went on to explain the defendant is a diabetic and there were no injuries complained of by the defendant either at the time he was at the jail or when he was taken to the hospital.
Bauereiss concluded Adams never had any kind of gun, sharp object or anything else that could be constructed as a weapon in his hand and neither did Gresham.
In opening arguments, Defense Attorney Bryan Cantrell said, "I think that the presentation of the evidence up to the point to get to the party was accurate."
However, Cantrell said he does not think the evidence is going to show that his client got out at the party with an open bottle of vodka.
"There was a mean streak in these people that they were picking on him," Cantrell said.
Malone's attorney went on to tell jurors that party guests were trying to make Malone believe they were going to take his motorcycle. He said the two men at the party intentionally fired their trucks up to make his client believe they were stealing his bike.
Cantrell then explained when Malone got out his gun, "That pistol stayed pointed at the ground."
The defense said Adams and Gresham were screaming at Malone and one of them grabbed the gun right after they punched his client in the face.
"I think you're going to get instructions not only on self-defense, but the appropriate use of deadly force," said Cantrell.
He explained Malone serves the state in a very bad part of the prison.
"At the end of this, I think the evidence is going to show you, make you compelled, overwhelmingly, that he's not guilty," Cantrell concluded.
The defense said Malone received threats at the gathering and people at the party deliberately pinned Malone against a wall and tried to take his weapon.
The state called their first witness, Dr. Tommy J. Brown, a forensic pathologist who has performed thousands of autopsies over the course of several years. He said when he received Adams' body there was medical paraphernalia still attached to it.
Brown said there were eight gunshot wounds to the body, some of them exit wounds.
He explained there were gunshot wound tracks though the abdomen and he detailed the path of the bullets through Adams's body.
"There was a gunshot wound to the left temple-area of the head," Brown testified.
He said the gunshot wound also fractured part of Adams' skull.
"There was another gunshot wound near the center of the chest," he said. He mentioned there were also gunshots to the groin area.
Brown walked the jury through photos of Adams' lifeless body, describing each bullet wound.
"This bullet here is the one that went through the liver and the stomach," he detailed.
Brown said the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds and the manner of death was a homicide. When Bauereiss asked the witness to clarify homicide, Brown explained "that he [Adams] came to his death at the hands of another."
Brown said alcohol was in Adams's system, but no drugs were found.
The state asked Brown about the rate alcohol leaves the body, but Cantrell objected several times.
Brown told jurors a person's blood alcohol level is going to be higher originally than it will be hours after blood is drawn.
Both attorneys asked Brown if he had knowledge on the affect high blood sugar or diabetes has on the rate of alcohol leaving the body. Brown said he did not.
Cantrell pointed out Brown was not charged with looking for gunshot residue on the victim's body.
The defense brought the jury's attention to an abrasion on Adams's leg. Brown said it did not appear to be caused by a gunshot, but it did appear to be a fresh wound.
Brown went on to tell jurors a .45 caliber would have a shock value. He said it would pretty much stop a person from moving forward.
Cantrell pointed out Brown found high level of caffeine in Adams's body.
"Somebody is taking pills to try to raise their caffeine level," said Cantrell.
The defense began questioning Brown about his knowledge of a diabetic condition where the body starts tearing down muscle and fat. Brown said 600 is a very high number for a blood sugar level provided it was a good sample.
Bauereiss had Brown define further what a diabetic coma means. Brown said usually diabetic coma patients would be in the hospital, not walking around.
Tuesday afternoon, the state called Kim Cummins a Registered Nurse in the Woodland Heights Medical Center Emergency Room.
Cummins testified Malone was brought by the Angelina County Sheriff's to the hospital in the early morning hours following the alleged crime and said his blood sugar was high and it was "greater than 500." Cummins said she realized he needed to check in and be an emergency patient to be treated for this high blood sugar.
Cummins explained Diabetic Ketoacidosis or DKA basically means a patient has too much acid in the blood stream.
"He [Malone] said that he thought his blood sugar was high and that's what we were addressing," she said.
Cummins said in the triage area and the whole time she was with the defendant, he was alert and oriented. She said his speech was slurred, but he said he had been drinking.
The nurse explained "one thing of slurred speech" doesn't necessarily indicate a diabetic emergency.
Cummins said Malone was not in danger of going into a coma simply because he just had some slurred speech and said he was not in acidosis at all.
Cantrell began questioning the nurse about what she did to treat Malone when he was a patient.
Crystal Rita, Gresham's long-time girlfriend, took the stand after Cummins and testified she worked with Malone as a corrections officer in Huntsville. She said they talked nearly every day and explained she was assigned to general population and Malone was assigned to "seg."
Bauereiss questioned her about the firearms training she went through to be a corrections officer.
Rita said the defendant was aware there would be alcohol at the party and beds to sleep in for those that had too much to drink.
"I met him at his motorcycle, I asked him how he was…he handed me a bottle of vodka," she said he explained that's all he really had money for.
Rita said the seal on the vodka had been broken and "it was down …the alcohol itself was actually down to the round part of the bottle."
She said it seemed as though the defendant had consumed alcohol when he arrived at the party.
She said Malone drank several drinks over the course of the evening. Rita said she later saw Malone give himself an insulin shot.
Rita said she had drank and hadn't eaten anything and was feeling nauseous so she went to rest in the master bedroom.
"The next thing I remember is the conversation going on between Terry [Adams,] Joel [Gresham,] and Malone," said Rita.