Texas Rangers testify in Shelby Co. capital murder trial

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)
Source: KTRE
Source: KTRE

CENTER, TX (KTRE) - Testimony continued Friday 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 Acevedo Chan, 37, who died at the scene. He shot two other motel employees who survived.

The day started with the questioning of Lt. Franklin Huff with the Texas Rangers. Lt. Huff said that when he was asked to get involved with the case after Bobbie Grubbs shot three people at the motel in Joaquin.

"I was told we had one person dead at the scene and two others that had been transported," Huff said. "I was called in to process the crime scene."

Huff described his training to the jury and how he would look at a scene. Huff said that when processing the scene you are never sure what you need, so he always takes as many photographs as he can.

Huff said that he was assisted by four other Rangers.

Huff then pointed out to the jury the signs of multiple gun shots in numerous photos. There were a total of five bullet casings and three other projectiles found in the room. In one picture, the one victim from the room had a single gunshot wound to the side of the head.

Huff testified that it is very important to find all of the projectiles, including ones left in the body so they can tie them back to a possible murder weapon. Huff said that finding the physical evidence goes a long way in either confirming or denying statements made by suspects.

Huff told prosecuting attorney Ralph Guerrero that they were still processing the scene while Bobbie Grubbs was being interviewed. Huff said nothing he was told about Grubb's interview contradicted what he saw in the room.

Huff was shown a picture of the shoe worn by Bobbie Grubbs and Huff pointed out the amount of blood was enough to have flown off of his shoe onto the floor.

Guerrero then moved to pictures from the room the Grubbs were staying in. Huff said that multiple Rangers searched the room, and there were no signs of violence committed in the room. Huff said that there was nothing found that would show Deedra Grubbs was held against her will by Bobbie.

Huff said that the Rangers did not process the vehicle that the Grubbs used before they broke down at the motel.

"We knew the vehicle was used in a crime in another county and was not part of the crime at the motel," Huff said. "We left that to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department."

Defense attorney Rudy Velasquez asked if Bobbie's interview backed up the scene according to the indictment.

"Yes, that is correct," Huff said.

Guerrero asked Huff it is true that there was a chance that Deedra knew what might happen, and Huff said that could be possible.

Velasquez pointed out the indictment were Bobbie Grubbs admitted to the shooting at the motel. Velasquez asked on multiple occasions about proof the Deedra also shot someone.

"I have no personal proof," Huff said.

The state then questioned Chester Gwynn, a pathologist for the Dallas County Crime Lab.

"Our main charge is to determine the cause and matter of death," Gwynn said. "We rely on the autopsy to help us."

When looking at the autopsy for Chan, Gwynn said that he noticed multiple gunshot wounds. Based on the diagram presented to the jury, there were four wounds: one to the temple on the right with an exit wound on the left side of woman's head by her ear. Chan also had gunshot wounds to her back, her armpit area, and her hand.

Gywnn said that Chan was shot from a distance or that there could have been something between them. The pathologist said it is possible that Chan could have been trying to block her sight and the bullet could have gone through her hand and her head.

"I am confident that the victim was shot at least three times," Gywnn said.

Gywnn said that he determined that Chan died from a gunshot wound, and it was considered homicide​.

Texas Ranger Steve Rayburn took the stand after lunch. Rayburn said he was at Lufkin High School when he received a call at 9:30 a.m. on August 27, 2012.

Rayburn said he was told of the incident and given a description of the suspects.

"I recognized them from an earlier be on the look-out report I was shown earlier," Rayburn said. "I was on my way to Joaquin because I was told there were multiple gunshot victims, and Bobbie Grubbs was on the loose with a gun in the town. I know sometimes that information is not always right early on. At that point, I was just trying to get as much resources out there that I could."

Rayburn said that by the time he got there, the scene was safe and authorities had the situation under control.

When he arrived on scene there was only one body in the room, Rayburn said. The Texas Ranger said the other two victims had been taken to area hospitals.

Rayburn said that, based on evidence found at the scene including a car and receipt, he was able to confirm that the Grubbses were at the motel. Rayburn said that while he was on scene, he was in charge of keeping the evidence log.

"If we saw something that would have value in the future, all the Rangers would talk to each other to see if we should need it for later," Rayburn said.

Rayburn said that while they were cleaning the room, they got a call from authorities, who were interviewing Grubbs. They said Bobbie told them that they disposed of a motel key in a trash can at the Lufkin Mall. Rayburn also said they were told that a phone was thrown over the Logansport Bridge in Shelby County.

"We looked for anything we could find," Rayburn said. "Just because we couldn't find it, doesn't mean that it isn't there."

Rayburn said he did not call in a dive team and the phone could have gone in the water. He also said it is possible that since there was a park nearby it could have been picked up by someone there.

Rayburn said he was able to find some evidence though.

"They got Bobbie, and we all met in Lufkin and went out 103 to San Augustine County. We got to a grassy area we were told about and we got out, lined up and started walking, looking for the gun," Rayburn said.

Rayburn said that authorities took Bobbie Grubbs' shoes, underwear, jeans, white socks, and a white T-shirt as evidence for the case. Rayburn continued and said a pair of blue shoes, a pair of pants, a shirt, and underwear were taken from Deedra Grubbs.

Rayburn also said that they were able to bring in a 9mm handgun and magazine as well as a cell phone, pocket knife, wallet, and sunglasses. Those items were recovered from the highway in Liberty County during the final moments of the chase between the Grubbses and police.

Then Rayburn identified evidence that was found through a search of the vehicle Bobbie Grubbs stole in Joaquin. Rayburn said that in the purse they found there was a baby bib with a crack pipe wrapped up in it. Rayburn said there was also a semiautomatic handgun as well as cigarettes. There was also a blue notebook with writings in them as well as a state map of Texas.

Rayburn said he put several of those items into evidence to be DNA-tested against blood samples that had already been taken from Bobbie Grubbs.

Rayburn also read from a letter that Deedra Grubbs wrote. The letter stated that Deedra was writing the letter as a will and was giving a family member custody of her two daughters and asked that they be able to go in the house and retrieve items they wished to keep. Rayburn noted that the letter was written a day before the Joaquin shooting.

Rayburn also read another letter that Deedra wrote to her daughter.

"'I love you. I love you. I love you," Rayburn read. "'Me and your daddy thought we could get out of this money issue.'"

Rayburn went on to read where Deedra said she had failed her daughters and that she was sorry.

Later in his testimony, the Texas Ranger read a second letter that was supposed to be for her other daughter.

"'Me and your dad thought we were doing this to help our money problems but that didn't work,'" Rayburn read. "'Do great things, and don't turn out like your parents. I love you. I love you. I love you.'"

Rayburn then read letters from Bobbie Grubbs in which he told his first daughter that he loved her, and that he would one day see her in heaven. In the second letter, Bobbie apologized to his daughter about messing up her life.

Velasquez asked if it was true that Bobbie admitted to the shootings. Rayburn agreed that he had been told Bobbie Grubbs admitted to it and told another trooper that he did it.

Velasquez asked if the gun they found in Deedra's purse was discharged at the scene.

"No it was not," Rayburn said.

Rayburn agreed with Velasquez that based on the language in the letter that Deedra did care about her kids very much.​

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