CENTER, TX (KTRE) - A forensic scientist for the Texas Department of Public Safety started testimony on Monday morning in the trial for Deedra Grubbs, 39, who is accused of acting as an 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 both survived.
The shooting happened two days after Bobbie burglarized and beat a Deedra's former Montgomery County employer. Deedra is accused of acting as an accomplice in this incident, as well.
John Jackson, a DNA analyst with the Texas Department of Public Safety's Crime Lab in Houston, said he tested a blood card from Acevedo Chan that was taken at her autopsy.
He said he studied his unknown blood samples from the evidence and believes, based off of blood sample comparisons; the bloodstain on Bobbie's shoe belongs to Acevedo-Chan. He said with scientific certainty this was a complete match.
"To a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, Martha Acevedo-Chan is the source of this profile, excluding identical twins," Jackson said.
He said the "probability of selecting an unrelated person at random who could be the source of this DNA profile is approximately 1 in 942.5 quintillion for Caucasians, 1 in 35.66 sextillion for Blacks, and 1 in 5.587 quintillion for Hispanics."
He said he never tested a sample from Deedra Grubbs.
Sgt. Les St. James, who works in the computer forensic unit at the Texas Attorney General's Office, said he works mostly with cell phones that are brought in as evidence. He said, ideally, he will take a physical image of the cell phone meaning the computers will connect to the phone and they will collect data.
He said sometimes he might only get a partial extraction of information. James said he was asked by Texas Ranger Sam Rayburn to do an analysis on two cell phones. James said he was asked to obtain text messages, contacts, and incoming calls. He said cell phones have unique identification numbers like cars.
Ralph Guerrero, the prosecuting attorney for the Texas Attorney General's Office, said one of the cell phones was found on the side of the road during the arrest of Bobbie and Deedra Grubbs and the other cell phone was found inside the vehicle the Grubbses were traveling in.
Based off of the images St. James extracted from Deedra's cell phone, a call was made to a contact labeled Bobbie Mbl at 10:52 a.m. on April 25, 2012. A second phone call was made to the same number at 11:19 a.m.
Based off of the images, Bobbie and Deedra made several phone calls back and forth to each other from 11:19 a.m. until 12:02 p.m. St. James says the phone tag makes him believe the Grubbs were not together at the time.
At 1:16 p.m. Deedra received a text message from Bobbie that reads, "Call."
Around the time Deedra receives the text message from Bobbie, Deedra texts her friend Michelle Joplin asking her to pick up her daughters from school and to not take them to the house.
Deedra received a text message from friend Molly Stockton asking if she was in trouble. Molly then said that if they are in serious trouble they will not pick up the girls because they want to do the "right legal thing. The legal thing we just don't know what that is right now."
Deedra sent a text message around 3:53 p.m. to her sister Nancy that reads "I NEED YOUR HELP SIS."
Friend Gracie Salas sent Deedra a text message asking her if she was at home, and if she had a smoke, to which Deedra responded "No."
Deedra asked Gracie if something is going on, in which Gracie responded that a police officer asked her if she knew Deedra while she was at the bus stop. Deedra told Gracie to make sure her daughter did not go home and go to Michelle's house.
Deedra received several restricted calls around 6:00 p.m. At 6:29 p.m., Deedra received a text message from a detective that told her to talk to them, and that they have their kids. He said they will have to turn the kids over to Child Protective Services if they do not respond.
Deedra texted her sister, LaRonna, saying that their sister Nancy is taking care of everything and that her kids were probably in CPS custody. When LaRonna asked her what is going on, Deedra tells her to check out the Montgomery County News.
On Thursday, April 26, 2012, at 6:36 p.m. Deedra received a text message from her sister Nancy that said to turn herself in.
"This is not you! Please, I love you no matter what. Do this for your girls," Nancy said in the text message.
Around 8 a.m. on Friday, April 27th, 2012, Nancy sent Deedra another text message that stated CPS had the girls, and that she couldn't get them because Deedra and Bobbie "are on the run." Nancy said the girls are scared. She told Deedra that she needs to turn herself in.
After 1 o'clock, Deedra texted LaRonna, telling her that she is trying to get by herself so she can text her back. At 2:17 p.m., she called Jimmy Stockton. This was the last communication from this phone. Deedra and Bobbie were arrested shortly after this.
Defense attorney Deck Jones said that despite the records, it's unclear if Deedra made these calls or sent the text messages. St. James agreed saying, "That is true."
St. James said based on the fact that the phones were Tracfones, which are prepaid cell phones, he cannot get a complete record like he could on a smartphone like an iPhone.
Quinton "Sam" Watts, who survived the motel shootings, says the morning of April 27th, 2012 was "good." He said he was picking up trash when he got to the third bungalow and saw some people sitting on the porch to Room 101.
He said they watched him the whole time.
"I didn't think much about it. I just thought they were viewing the weather," Watts said.
He said he was finishing his work when he heard footsteps in the leaves. He looked back to where the people were standing and said they were gone.
He said he was fixing a light bulb in the ceiling fan in Room 129. Motel employee Marilyn Retamar was in the bathroom, and Chan was standing next to him. He said he turned around and "that's when they came in on me."
He said Bobbie told him not to move or he would shoot them.
"He just kept saying 'I'll shoot you if you move,'" Watts said.
He said he just stood there and did not move because Bobbie told him not to move. He said Bobbie shot Martha and then Bobbie turned on him.
"I thought, 'Well, I guess this is it,'" Watts said. "All I heard was boom."
Watts said Bobbie stepped over him and started hollering at Retamar.
"I heard the gun pop. Everything went quiet. Then he went to cussing. I could hear his foot kicking," Watts said.
Watts said Bobbie shot him again behind his right ear.
"I just kept thinking, 'Lord, help me,'" Watts said.
Watts said after Bobbie left, Marilyn called 911. He says he was conscious when the law enforcement kicked in the door. He said he thought it was Bobbie coming back.
"I could see but it was like night. I could barely see," Watts said. "I stayed awake until I got to the hospital."
Watts said he had two sets of car keys and always left a key in the ignition, but locked the doors. He said he gave his second set of keys to Bobbie. He said Bobbie took his wallet and his cell phone.
"Got everything I had on me," Watts said.
Watts said he was taken by helicopter to LSU Medical Center in Shreveport. He said he was shot in the back of the head, in the left cheek, and in his back near his spine. He said one of the bullets shattered his jawbone. He was in the hospital for 6 weeks because he had to wear a neck brace. He said his mouth was sewed together and he couldn't eat for those 6 weeks. He says the bullets are still in his body.
"All I could do was sit," Watts said. "I feel alright. It's just what I went through I want to say for six months, that was a rough go."
Guerrero showed a picture of Bobbie to Watts in which he said, "That's the man who shot me."
Velasquez asked Watts if he heard two people walking or one. Watts said he heard two people walking because of the sound of the leaves. Velasquez asked if he saw Deedra in the room.
"I didn't see anybody but him," Watts said.
He said he only saw Deedra sitting on the porch of Room 101. But he said she never entered the room, never shot at him, or took his car.
"She didn't shoot me. She didn't even come into the room," Watts said.
Retamar talked about several photos of Chan and her children. She says Chan was young, late 20s or early 30s when she was shot and killed by Bobbie.
Retamar said she was working at the front desk the Thursday before the shooting when Bobbie and Deedra came to the motel office. She said the Grubbs were having car problems, and they had to push the car to Room 101 from the motel office.
Retamar said Bobbie told her he was hungry and wanted some pizza. She said she gave him a number to a pizza place that would deliver. He ordered the pizza, but then said he was too hungry and left.
"He looked like a nice guy," Retamar said.
Retamar said Bobbie looked nothing like his mug shot when he was at the motel. Retamar said she was helping Chan clean Room 129 when she heard stomping outside the room.
"I started to feel like something was going to happen to us. Really, really scared," Retamar said.
She said someone yelled, "don't move," and she saw Bobbie with a gun. She told Chan in Spanish that Bobbie was going to kill them and she said Chan said, "No. Let's pray."
She said Bobbie was telling Watts he wanted the master key.
"I hear the first shot. He shot Sam and I was trying to hold Sam, and that's when he shot me right here," Retamar said pointing to her right temple.
Retamar said she was still conscious and heard Chan scream.
"She only screamed," Retamar said. "He kept shooting her, and she would scream like 'Ah! Ah!'"
She said she started praying in her mind because she thought Bobbie was going to kill her. She said Bobbie touched her to see if she was breathing and she held her breath.
"I felt no pain but it was like something burned me," Retamar said.
She said she looked through her fingers and didn't see Bobbie anymore. She locked the doors and called 911.
In the 911 recording, Retamar can be heard begging for help.
"I got shot in my head. Hurry up!" Retamar said in the recording. "You need to hurry up. I'm gonna die."
In the recording, the dispatcher asks Retamar if she is the only one that got shot. Retamar says there is another lady in the room and says she thinks she is dead. She says there is also a man.
"I'm gonna die!" Retamar said.
The dispatcher asks if she knows the shooter.
"White guy, white guy, white guy," Retamar said.
Retamar starts getting frantic as she says she hears someone at the door. She sounds terrified as she tells the dispatch that she thinks he is coming back.
Throughout the 18-minute recording, Retamar keeps repeating she is going to die.
"I'm going to pass out!" Retamar said.
While the recording played, Retamar bent her head down and put her hands on her forehead. Several of the jurors got incredibly emotional and had to hide their faces.
When asked about Chan, Retamar broke into tears. She says Chan was her sister in Christ and she could tell her anything.
"She's gone. I lost my best friend," Retamar said.
Retamar said when Bobbie came into the room she caught a glimpse of Deedra outside Room 101, which is just a couple of bungalows away from Room 129.
"I am very sorry for what Bobbie Grubbs did to you and to your best friend," Jones said.