CENTER, TX (KTRE) - Testimony continued Thursday morning in the capital murder trial for Deedra Grubbs, 39, who is accused of acting as her husband's accomplice in a violent crime spree that resulted in the shooting death of a housekeeper at the Joaquin Country Inn in April 2012.
Her husband, Bobbie DeWayne Grubbs, was found guilty of capital murder and two charges of aggravated assault on May 19, 2014.
On April 27, 2012, Bobbie Grubbs shot and killed Martha Soceredoi, 37, who died at the scene. He shot two other motel employees who survived.
Michelle Joplin, a Conroe resident and former neighbor of Deedra Grubbs, said Deedra gave her an odd request the morning of April 25, 2012.
Joplin said Deedra told her "if anything happened to her and Bobbie, she wanted me to take care of her kids."
Joplin said she laughed the odd request off, but later received a text message from Deedra that asked her to pick up her daughters from the bus stop later that afternoon. She said Deedra gave her explicit instructions to not take the girls to the Grubbs residence and that later on that day either she or someone else would come pick them up.
Later on that afternoon, Joplin said Deedra texted her again telling her to call her on Bobbie's phone if she needed her. She said Deedra told her "Jimmy or Molly will come by for the girls."
Joplin told the state that she had reservations about handing off the children to someone she doesn't know, especially since she noticed a strange white SUV with blacked-out windows circle around her neighborhood several times.
When she went to the bus stop to pick up the youngest Grubbs daughter, she said the bus driver caught her off guard when she asked if she knew why she needed to take the Grubbs' daughter to the police station. Joplin said the Grubbs' daughter also said she wanted to know what had happened to her parents, and was told her parents had been in an accident.
Joplin said she called Deedra and was told that she and Bobbie were both "OK." A few minutes later, Joplin spoke to Deedra over the phone once again and told her there were several police patrol cars in the neighborhood. She said Deedra told her not to tell police her daughter was at the house.
About 20 minutes later, she said police showed up at her house asking her if Deedra was inside. Joplin says she believes police thought she was hiding Deedra. She said Child Protective Services took the children after she picked up the eldest Grubbs child from the bus stop.
Shortly after Joplin testified and was released from court, she broke into tears in the courthouse hallway.
Jimmy Stockton, who used to supply Bobbie and Deedra Grubbs with rent money, said he received a text message on April 25, 2012 from Deedra asking him to pick up her two daughters.
He said he later read a police report in a Montgomery County newspaper and told the Grubbs that he would not pick up their children and would not correspond with them any longer unless instructed otherwise by police.
Stockton said he met Bobbie Grubbs at the Ellis Unit, which is part of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, when he was working as a prison chaplain about 14 years ago.
Stockton said there were some occasions where Bobbie had called him saying he had taken some drugs and was coming off a "hallucination." He admitted that he knew Deedra was "bi-polar," and took medication. He said he considered Bobbie a friend.
Gracie Salas, a Katy resident and a friend of Deedra, said she sent a text message to Deedra saying, "Girl, WTF?" the afternoon of April 25, 2012 after police arrived at her then-Conroe home. She said they questioned her about Bobbie and Deedra Grubbs.
She said Deedra texted her and said, "What do you mean? What the [expletive] is going on?" Salas asked Deedra if she needed her to pick up her girls, and she said Deedra told her she preferred the girls go to the Joplin residence.
Ralph Guerrero, a prosecuting attorney with the Texas Attorney General's Office, asked Salas if she believed Deedra's text meant to stay away from the police and keep the kids away from the police as well, and Salas responded "yes."
Robert Bond, the store operator for Regal Gold Buyers in Lufkin, said documents from April 26, 2012 showed that Deedra had come into the store.
The state provided pictures of jewelry that was brought into the store by Deedra Grubbs around 10 a.m. Bond said he always takes a picture of the merchandise, gets a copy of the customer's driver's license and a signature in case the merchandise is, in fact, stolen property. He says he has to do with it every transaction in order to keep his license. The documents clearly show Deedra Grubbs' signature and driver's license picture.
Deedra's older sister, Nancy McCuwen said she received a phone call from Deedra. She said Deedra was sniffling, but it didn't sound like a crying sniffling. She said Deedra told her that someone was going to kill her, and she needed Nancy to go get her girls.
McCuwen said she thinks Deedra was doing some drugs. She says she told Deedra that she needed to turn herself and Bobbie in to the police. McCuwen said she knew Deedra and Bobbie were in trouble with law enforcement and were on the run.
Guerrero read a text message from McCuwen to Deedra to the court. He says it said, "We love you no matter what. Do this for the girls. Please turn yourself in. Please."
Breaking down into tears, McCuwen said she remembers thinking "this is not my sister." Other family members testified they also got text messages and phone calls from Deedra asking for help. They said that they were all raised Pentecostal, and believe a woman should not wear makeup, cut her hair, and must submit to her husband.
After a lunch break, Dustin Ramos, a trooper with the Department of Public Safety, took the stand. He said he arrived at the Joaquin Country Inn on April 27, 2012 in response to an active shooter presence. Ramos said a bloody female opened the blinds to room 129.
When he walked into the room, he said the female who opened the blinds was sitting on the bed holding something to her head, a male was lying on the ground gasping for air, and a second female was lying on the ground unresponsive. He said she had no pulse.
Philip Schumpe, a detective with the Montgomery Sheriff's Office, said he was working as a SWAT operator on April 27, 2012. Schumpe said deputies and troopers were looking for the car the Grubbs were in. He said they discovered the vehicle was traveling southbound on U.S. 59 towards Houston when a trooper stopped the vehicle outside of Cleveland.
Schumpe said it was a felony take down, which is considered a High Risk Stop. In a felony take down, an officer or deputy will not rush the vehicle and will give commands through a PA system in their unit.
He said both Deedra and Bobbie Grubbs got out of the vehicle and complied with their requests. The state showed several pictures from the Grubbs arrest including the picture of Bobbie's left shoe. It is covered in blood stains. Schumpe said Deedra was having a panic attack during the time of their arrest. He said he does not remember Deedra having any blood on her clothes or body.
Schumpe said he remembers Deedra was transported from the scene via ambulance.
State Trooper Shawn Barnes says during his attempt to make a traffic stop, Bobbie Grubbs refused to stop his vehicle. After a short chase, Barnes says Grubbs stuck his arms out the window of his vehicle.
Barnes says he believes that was Grubbs alerting him that he was surrendering.
On Tuesday, 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 your husband is carrying a gun you stole for him," said Guerrero.
Guerrero claimed Deedra watched her husband walk towards room 129 at the motel they were staying in Joaquin with a gun she stole from a Woodlands home.
Guerrero claimed the couple's crime spree started on April 25, 2012, in Montgomery County when they stole from her former employer, Mary-Jane Cashdollar.
"She stole the guns and jewelry from the home while her husband tried to restrain [Cashdollar]," Guerrero said.
Guerrero claimed the Grubbs left after they thought they had broken Cashdollar's neck and killed her. He said Cashdollar did survive. He also said even after family members pleaded with Deedra Grubbs to turn herself in, she refused and gave up on her family and kids.
Cashdollar testified Deedra came to her door on the day of April 25, 2012. She said she noticed a man standing there that Deedra identified as her husband, Bobbie.
"He was just acting like a fool," 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 him and then he grabbed me and I was slammed against the It took her only seconds to get the guns."
Cashdollar testified Bobbie wrapped his hands around her throat, while Deedra searched for something to tie her hands.
"She seemed very happy," 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."
Cashdollar said she had head, throat, and sternum injuries.
The state continued and said 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.
Defense attorney Deck Jones said Deedra Grubbs was "bi-polar" and got into drugs, which made her very submissive to Bobbie. Jones argued 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," Jones 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."
Jones said Deedra did not fire a gun or conspire with Bobbie.
Charles Cashdollar said when he came home from work, he saw blood and drag marks.
"At that time, I shifted into high gear, and I could hear her voice," Cashdollar said. "She was on the phone with 911. She was very methodical in giving out the info to the lady about Deedra."
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.
"We went over there, and I rang the doorbell," Grubbs said in the video. "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 the jewelry and guns. She said she saw Bobbie push Cashdollar down.
They went home and put the scanner on, and they recognized that the police were looking for them. She said 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 talked about the morning of April 27, 2012 in the video.
"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 caught catch up to them.
"I said keep going," Deedra Grubbs said in the video.