Defense argues wife of shooter in Joaquin hotel slaying, assaults is a victim, too

Deedra Grubbs (Source: Montgomery County Sheriff's Office)
Deedra Grubbs (Source: Montgomery County Sheriff's Office)
Bobbie Grubbs (source: Shelby County Jail)
Bobbie Grubbs (source: Shelby County Jail)

CENTER, TX (KTRE) - Arguments began Wednesday morning in the trial of Deedra Grubbs, who is accused of acting as her husband's accomplice during a violent crime spree that resulted in the shooting death of a Joaquin hotel housekeeper, and is charged with capital murder.

Her husband, Bobbie DeWayne Grubbs, was found guilty of capital murder and two charges of aggravated assault on May 19, 2014.

In opening arguments, the state told jurors that it is clear Deedra Grubbs conspired with Bobbie during their crime spree.

"You don't have to pull the trigger to be guilty when you know you're husband is carrying a gun you stole for him," said prosecuting attorney Ralph Guerrero.

Guerrero claimed Deedra Grubbs, 39, watched her husband walk towards room 129 at the motel they were staying at in Joaquin with a gun she stole from a Woodlands home.

"She watched him walk in with the intention of stealing the vehicle, so they could continue on their crime spree," Guerrero said.

Guerrero claimed the couple's crime spree started on April 25, 2012, in Montgomery County when they stole from her former employer. The shooting incident occurred at the Country Inn in Joaquin on the morning of April 27, 2012.

One woman, who was later identified as Martha Soceredoi, 37, died at the scene and two others were injured, Johnson said. One was taken to a Shreveport hospital, and another was treated at a Center hospital. All three employees were housekeepers.

Montgomery County authorities arrested the couple later that day after they spotted the suspects' vehicle.

"She stole the guns and jewelry and from the home while her husband tried to restrain her," Guerrero said.

Guerrero claimed that when they left they thought that Bobbie Grubbs had broken her neck and killed her, but her employer would be able to survive and tell law enforcement that then put them on the trail and led them to plan their escape.

Guerrero continued and said even after family members pleaded with Deedra Grubbs to turn herself in, she refused and gave up on her family and kids.

The state continued and said that the jury would see all the evidence of how Deedra Grubbs was involved in every step of his plan and knew what was going on.

The defense claimed that Deedra Grubbs is a religious woman that believed in submitting to her husband "till death do us part," Guerrero said.

Attorney Deck Martin said that Deedra Grubbs was bi-polar and got into drugs, which made her very submissive to Bobbie and willing to do what he said.

Martin went back to Bobbie's trial and pointed out the heightened security at his trial after the court believed safety was an issue.

"We had so many armed people here at Bobbie's trial," Martin said. "Bobbie Grubbs is a bad man."

Martin argued that Bobbie would hide Deedra's medication so he could control her and that Bobbie was a con man.

"He used her religion against her because he knew she was supposed to submit to him" Martin said. "He brought porn into the house and made her submit to him and do what they did in the video. Deedra Grubbs was powerless spiritually, physically, and mentally."

Martin said Deedra did not fire a gun or conspire with Bobbie.

"She knew of these things, but did she agree with him?" Martin said. "We all have sympathy for the victims in the crime, but Deedra is another victim."

The first witness the state called was Mary-Jane Cashdollar.

Mary-Jane Cashdollar said she needed help around the house and a friend referred Deedra Grubbs to her. She also said she always paid her at the end of the day that Deedra Grubbs worked.

Mary-Jane Cashdollar said that she had to stop using her because she could not be at the house when Deedra Grubbs was there.

Mary-Jane Cashdollar said that on April 25, 2012, she was running late to an appointment and she heard Deedra Grubbs at the door.

"She was waiving her cell phone and tapping on the glass," Mary-Jane Cashdollar said. "She said she lost her phone and got a new one and lost her numbers, and she needed to get a few from me. She just kept saying, 'I just need the phone numbers, I just need the phone numbers.'"

Mary-Jane Cashdollar said that after she opened the door, she noticed a man was standing there that Deedra Grubbs said was her husband.

"He was just acting like a fool," Mary-Jane Cashdollar said. "He was standing there with his hands in his crotch and his knees bent. She said this is my husband and he needs to go to the bathroom. It startled me. I looked at her and then he grabbed me and I was slammed against the stairs."

Mary-Jane Cashdollar said that Bobbie wrapped his hands around her throat and yelled at Deedra to get the guns.

"It took her only seconds to get the guns," Cashdollar said.

Mary-Jane Cashdollar said that Deedra had not been in the house for a while and that while Deedra cleaned her home, there would have been no way she knew where the guns were.

Mary-Jane Cashdollar continued and said that they took her in the kitchen and sat her up and while Deedra was trying to find something to tie her up with, Bobbie broke her neck.

The state showed pictures from the house where Mary-Jane Cashdollar described the home and how they would have gone through it. There was blood in several pictures.

"She seemed very happy,"Mary-Jane Cashdollar said. "She walked around like she was in control of my house. It was one of the happiest moods I have seen her in."

Mary-Jane Cashdollar said that Bobbie was not forcing Deedra to do any of it.

"He just seemed a little bored," Mary-Jane Cashdollar said.

Mary-Jane Cashdollar then described her multiple injuries. She said that her skull was hurt, her throat was crushed, and her sternum was injured in several places.

"I was black and blue from the waist up," Mary-Jane Cashdollar said. "It took almost eight weeks for the swelling to go away."

The defense then asked Mary-Jane Cashdollar to tell them who assaulted her.

"It was Bobbie," Mary-Jane Cashdollar said.

Defense Attorney John R. Smith asked Mary-Jane Cashdollar who said to get the guns.

"Bobbie said it," Mary-Jane Cashdollar said.

Mary-Jane Cashdollar also said that it was Bobbie that asked for something to tie her up with.

"He said he needed something to tie me up," Mary-Jane Cashdollar said. "Deedra said, 'I can't find anything.'"

Mary-Jane Cashdollar continued and told Smith how she was dragged by the neck by Bobbie.

"I was frightened," Mary-Jane Cashdollar said. "I was thinking about my husband and about my daughter. From the moment I hit the stairs, I knew what was going to happen."

Mary-Jane Cashdollar told Smith that she was awake through everything and that at first Bobbie Grubbs had told her all he was going to do was tie her up. Mary-Jane Cashdollar said she did not pass out until Bobbie broke her neck.

Guerrero asked Mary-Jane Cashdollar if she would have opened the door for Bobbie.

"No I would not have," Mary-Jane Cashdollar said.

Guerrero then questioned Charles Cashdollar.

Charles Cashdollar said he was at their business and around 11 a.m., he got a call from his wife saying he needed to come home.

"I pulled in the driveway, opened the garage door and went into the den area." Charles Cashdollar said.

Charles Cashdollar said when he came in, he saw blood and drag marks.

"At that time, I shifted into high gear, and I could hear her voice" Charles Cashdollar said. "She was on the phone with 911. She was very methodical in giving out the info to the lady about Deedra."

Charles Cashdollar recalled trying to unwrap an extension cord from her neck as she was talking to 911.

Charles said he felt like, based on his wife's call, that there was a home invasion robbery and that someone wanted to kill her.

"As I went to get the washcloth, my first thought was about the firearms," Charles Cashdollar said.

Charles Cashdollar said that he did check on the guns and they were missing.

After a lunch recess Guerrero asked questions to Danielle Comptay, a friend of Deedra Grubbs who let the couple stay at her house after the burglary.

Comptay told Guerrero that she received a phone call from Deedra on April 25, 2012.

"She was upset," Comptay said. "She was at a park. She asked if I could come get her."

Comptay said that she understood she was just getting Deedra. Comptay recalled Deedra calling Bobbie.

"We were in my car and she called Bobbie and said, 'I am with Danielle from church, I am okay,'" Comptay said.

Comptay said that she let Bobby come over, but she wasn't so sure about it.

"I figured when she called, she was in trouble with him," Comptay said.

Comptay continued and said , judging by the way they were acting, that he was not the trouble. She continued and said she could tell that there was something wrong.

After Comptay was questioned Paul Hahs, a detective with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, was called to the stand.

"I got a call that said they had a victim at Memorial Hospital,"  Hahs said. " My understanding is that we had a home-invasion robbery victim that we needed to question and get answers from."

Hahs said that Cashdollar was in bad shape when he and his partner arrived at the hospital.

"She identified Deedra Grubbs, and her husband, Bobbie," Hahs said.

Hahs did not know the people so they presented photo lineups to her, so they knew who Cashdollar was talking about.

"She was unable to write at the time, but she was able to verbally identify Deedra Grubbs," Hahs said.

Hahs also said that Cashdollar was also able to identify Bobbie Grubbs.

Hahs continued and said that the department sent two detectives to the Grubbs house to see if they were home. Hahs said no one was home, and they also put detectives on the lookout in case the Grubbs tried to pick up their children.

Hahs said they were looking for anything that they could link to them. Hahs said they had several phone numbers and a vehicle description they believed belonged to them.

Hahs told prosecutors that he sent a text to a number he believed to have been a phone associated with the Grubbs.

"Deedra, Bobby, you need to talk to us about the situation," Hahs read from the text message. "We are with your kids and will have to turn them over to CPS if we do not hear from you."

Hahs then told prosecutors that he was not on the ground once the Grubbs were arrested but that he was in a helicopter monitoring the situation.

"We followed the vehicle on the side so we could not be observed, until we saw marked cars on them," Hahs said. "We then landed at a nearby dealership to see if we could be of help."

Hahs said he observed the two being arrested without incident and talked about a cell phone that was found at the scene of the arrest.

Hahs would tell the defense that Bobbie Grubbs was indicted for retaliation after he made a threat towards the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office detective.

Hahs said that he received a text back from the phone he sent the message to.

"The text said, "You have until noon to return my kids. I am coming after you. I am not afraid to die,'" Hahs said.

The jurors saw a video of an interview between Deedra Grubbs and Detective Eckles of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. At the beginning of the interview, Deedra Grubbs hesitated to answer a question about what had happened at Cashdollar's house.

A video of a questioning session between Deedra and Detective Eckles of Montgomery County Sheriff's office.

"We went over there, and I rang the doorbell," Grubbs said in the interview. "She came up and Bobbie was there. When we got in, he said, 'You have to go get everything since you know where everything is.'"

Grubbs said she went in the bedroom and found jewelry and guns.

"Bobbie told me to go get in the car and 'I will take care of it,'" Deedra Grubbs said.

Deedra Grubbs said that she saw Bobbie push Cashdollar down.

They went home and put the scanner on, and they recognized that they police were looking for them, and that's when Bobbie left.

"He came back and said, 'Come on we have to go," Deedra Grubbs said. "I said, "Why do we have to go?' and he said, 'Get in the car, I don't need any witnesses. We have to go.'"

Deedra Grubbs said they were heading to Louisiana, but did not make it all the way because the car died. She told the detective that she was never tied up against her will with him.

Deedra Grubbs then described the next day.

"I got up and got dressed." Deedra Grubbs said. "He said we needed a car and he was going to get a car. He went to another cabin and then came back and said, 'I don't have keys, we need to find keys.'"

In the video, Deedra Grubbs first said she did not hear any gunshots because it was loud outside by the road. After a few more minutes, Deedra admitted to officers that she heard gun shots.

"[I heard] four," Grubbs said.

Deedra said that when Bobbie Grubbs walked out of the cabin next to theirs she could tell that he had guns.

In the video, Deedra Grubbs told the detectives would tell that she could not understand why Bobbie would shoot three people if all he was doing was trying to get a car.

"I told him he turned into the devil," Deedra Grubbs said.

Deedra Grubbs said that there was also a plan to rob a bank, so he could get the kids.

"He said, 'This is the way I was supposed to die,'" Deedra Grubbs said. "He was going to kill me and take the kids. He loved the kids."

Deedra Grubbs broke down in the video and said that she was confused. She also said she thought after initially leaving the house that they would be going back home.

Deedra Grubbs then went back to the armed robbery of her former employer.

"He said he killed her," Grubbs said. "I said, 'No she's not, she wasn't when I left.' He said, 'No she is taken care of.'"

Deedra Grubbs said that Bobbie told her that he saw their faces on the news and that they were wanted for murder and burglary.

Grubbs said after they stole a car from the motel, they left and were later pulled over.

"I said, 'Why did we stop?'" Grubbs said. "We were not supposed to give up. He said police told him he would be able to stop and talk to his girls."

Deedra Grubbs then broke down to detectives and said she was tired of living, and that they killed a person and nothing was accomplished. She said they didn't accomplish paying off bills or getting rich.

Deedra Grubbs continued and said that she saw Bobbie get rid of a gun and cell phone.

She was then asked about stealing the car and when the idea came to Bobbie.

"We got up, and the car wouldn't start," Grubbs said. "It was 7:30 and [Bobbie] said the car is not starting. He said he was going to get a car."

Deedra Grubbs said the plan was not to kill the people. She said the plan they talked about was to steal a car and then rob a bank.

Deedra Grubbs said when Bobbie came out of the motel office he gave her money, and she put it in her purse. She said she later used it for gas and cigarettes.

Deedra Grubbs said that she knew that wouldn't make it all the way. She also said that they had about $200.

Deedra Grubbs said after stopping in Porter after the shooting that morning in Joaquin, the police would catch up to them.

"I said keep going," Deedra Grubbs said.

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