CENTER, TX (KTRE) - The husband of a woman accused of acting as an accomplice in the shooting death of a Joaquin Country Inn housekeeper in April 2012 took the stand Tuesday morning.
Deedra Grubbs, 39, is charged with capital murder for the shooting death of Martha Acevedo-Chan, 37. Her husband, Bobbie Grubbs, was charged with capital murder on May 19, 2014 and was sentenced to life without parole. He was also charged with two counts of aggravated assault.
Bobbie Grubbs, who is currently an inmate at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Byrd Unit in Huntsville, was advised not to testify by two lawyers, but decided that he wanted to.
Defense attorney Deck Jones asked Bobbie about his previous years in prison. He said he was in prison from 1990 to 1997 for burglary of a building with intention of theft. He said he met Deedra around July 4, 1998, and they were married four months later. He was on parole for eight years, he said. He got off parole in 2005.
Bobbie said during the time of April 25 to April 27, 2012, he purposefully tried to scare Deedra.
"So if she tried to leave me, she would be too scared to do it," Bobbie said.
He said he knew Deedra was bi-polar and would take away her medication, so she would start acting crazy. He said he would do it because he wanted to be in control. He said he was the more dominant person in the relationship.
"I'm the husband; she's the wife," Bobbie Grubbs said.
He said they were both raised in Pentecostal churches and grew up under the belief that women should wear modest apparel, and a wife should submit to a man.
"Her body's mine, and my body is hers," Bobbie said. "The wedding band is not defiled."
He said he still feels this way. However, he said throughout their marriage. they would church hop to different churches that still preached the same beliefs. He said sometimes he would hide Deedra's makeup and would only allow her to wear dresses to church.
Bobbie said that when Deedra would get to close to someone, including her family, he would text them from her phone because he felt like she should only focus on him and their children. He said he would make threats towards Deedra.
Bobbie said on April 25, 2012 he told Deedra to get in the car. He said he had a .357 in the car and told Deedra that she was going to get him into Mary-Jane Cashdollar's house. Cashdollar is Deedra's former employer. He said he pointed the gun at Deedra and hit her in the ribs with it.
He said Deedra was jumping up and down to warn Cashdollar. He said he asked Cashdollar to use her bathroom and that's when be busted through the front door.
"I tell Deedra, 'I said go look for some guns,'" Bobbie said. "I got the gun out and I point it at Ms. Cashdollar."
He said Deedra was "scared," and "panicked." Bobbie said after Deedra got the guns, he told her to go get some jewelry.
After Deedra got the guns and jewelry, he said he told Deedra to go get in the car so he could "kill" Cashdollar. He said he tried to snap Cashdollar's neck. He said he tied a cord around her neck and dragged her around the house. He said he thought she was dead.
Bobbie said when he got back in the car; he told Deedra that if she told anyone, he would kill her, her family, and their kids "because I'm sneaky."
Bobbie said he dropped Deedra off at the house while he traded the guns for crack cocaine. He said a friend, Danielle Comptee, picked up Deedra and Bobbie later joined them.
Bobbie said when the detective from the Montgomery County Sheriff's office texted Deedra about having her kids, Bobbie texted him back from Deedra's phone telling the detective, he was going to come get his kids.
"I'm not scared of death," Bobbie said.
Bobbie said he took the gold he had stolen and made Deedra take it to the Regal Gold Buyer's in Lufkin. He said she cashed it "against her will."
They then traveled to Nacogdoches, where he says his car battery died and he had to go buy a battery. He said they were going to Louisiana because that's where his brother lives. Once they got to Joaquin, the car battery died again. He said they pulled over at the Joaquin Country Inn and had to push the car to the room. He said Deedra never went into the motel office.
"I made her write a will out to her kids because if the SWAT team was coming, I was going to put her out of her misery and me too," Bobbie said.
He said he told her what to say. He said his plan was for both of them to be dead at the end of all of this. Bobbie said the entire thing was his idea.
"She said 'Stop. Our girls, Bobbie, our girls,'" Bobbie said.
Upon speaking about their children, Deedra began to cry, her husband said.
On the morning of April 27, 2012, Bobbie said his plan was to take someone's car keys. He said he didn't plan for everything else to happen.
"I seen Sam, the black guy, and I'm looking at him," Bobbie said. "I told [Deedra] stay here. Don't get up."
He said Deedra stayed at their bungalow the entire time while he shot Sam Watts, Marilyn Retamar, and Martha Acevedo-Chan in Room 129.
He said he made Deedra go into the motel office after he shot the three hotel workers and look for some keys. He put the gun in a purse that was in the car, Bobbie said. He said he saw two Louisiana patrolmen and had the plan to kill them.
"I thought people were following me," Bobbie said. "Everybody I ran across that day was dead or dying. [Deedra] had absolutely nothing to do with it."
He said his plan was to go back to Deedra's parents' house so she could see them one last time.
"At that point, I thought there was a body count of four," Bobbie said.
He called Jimmy Stockton, the godfather to his children, who he says tried to persuade him to turn himself in. He said he was upset with Stockton because he refused to get his girls.
"He said, 'Bobbie, this ain't you man. You need to turn yourself in," Bobbie said. "I said, 'Jimmy, I want to see my girls. One last time.'"
Despite Bobbie seeming scattered in his testimony, he said his story has never changed from his original confession at the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. Throughout Bobbie's testimony, he kept looking at Deedra.
Bobbie said right before they were arrested, he made her light him one more cigarette.
"The man takes care of things, and the woman just takes care of the kids and the house," Bobbie said.
Ralph Guerrero, a prosecuting attorney with the Texas Attorney General's office, asked him about a news media report in which Bobbie told the reporter he did not burglarize the Cashdollars' home. In the report, he's quoted as saying he was not present at the Cashdollars' house.
"That was a lie," Bobbie said. "She's a reporter."
Guerrero asked Bobbie why he also told the reporter that when he walked into Room 129 he thought the employees "looked like demons," because their eyes were black. Bobbie said that was what he saw.
Guerrero continued to read off statements he made to a reporter. While the prosecutor was reading his quotes, Bobbie began to laugh.
Guerrero asked Bobbie if he knew where the jewelry and guns were before going to the Cashdollars' house, and Bobbie replied, "No."
Bobbie said he had never met Cashdollar prior to April 25, 2012. Guerrero said that Cashdollar testified Deedra asked her for contacts from her phone. But Bobbie said that's not true. Deedra was jumping up and down trying to warn Cashdollar, Bobbie said.
"Do you really expect the jury to believe you over Ms. Cashdollar?" Guerrero asked.
"I do," Bobbie said. "I hit her hard."
He said he believes Cashdollar is "confused," because he "hit her so hard."
Bobbie's testimony became very scattered as he talked about why he brought Deedra to Cashdollar's house instead of asking for her address. He said he thought Deedra wouldn't go along with his plan if he told her, despite his previous testimony that Deedra was "submissive."
"Sir, you told this jury you threatened to kill her, her family, and everyone she knew, and now you're suggesting she would of disobeyed you?" Guerrero asked.
"Yes, she would've called the cops as soon as I was out of the door," Bobbie said.
Guerrero asked Bobbie why he lied to the reporter. He said it was because she was wearing a tight dress and wanted her to be the last girl he saw. He said he was trying to change the story so he looked like a "good guy." He said he changed the story because the press, "lie on me all the time."
In a letter Deedra wrote to Bobbie from jail in June 2012, she said "If I hadn't been so pushy and needy, you would've never done what you did."
In another letter, Deedra tells Bobbie that she is not going to protect him and is going to stick to her statement.
"I asked forgiveness for the crime I committed," Bobbie said.
When asked if he is innocent of killing Martha Acevedo-Chan and shooting Sam Watts and Marilyn Retamar, Bobbie said, "I did it."
Before the shootings, Bobbie said he went to two car shops looking for an alternator and had no luck. He said he went to a church and used his "Christianity" because he "can quote scriptures," to get one of the ladies at the church to get his car jumped.
Bobbie said while he was gone, he tied Deedra's hands and feet with sheets to the bed. He said he didn't tie her up every time he left. Guerrero showed a picture of the bungalow they were staying in. Bobbie pointed to the sheets he alleges he tied Deedra in. He said he disabled the phones in the room so Deedra couldn't call out.
But previous testimony from law enforcement said there was no indication of violence inside the Grubbs' bungalow. Yet, Bobbie said he smashed the motel phone to the ground.
Guerrero asked Bobbie why he steered away from his original plan to take an unmanned Mustang across the street. He said he had no intention to shoot the motel employees.
"I seen all three of them. I see a mini-van. I see an opportunity. I took it," Bobbie said.
But in his typed confession, Bobbie is quoted as telling law enforcement that he had the intent to kill the motel employees.
"That's what I told them," Bobbie said.
He said he never discussed any of his plans with Deedra, but she might have overheard him talking about his plans. He said they were sitting out on the motel porch when he said "I'm going to go get that mini-van."
He said he was speaking out loud, and despite Deedra hearing him, she was not responding. When asked why he said he had no intention to shoot the employees when he confessed it was premeditated, he changed his story and said he planned the shootings and that it was premeditated.
"When I was in the room, I meant to shoot them," Bobbie said.
He said he had to train Deedra to do whatever he wanted her to do. He says that Deedra cannot wear jeans or makeup and that their church doesn't believe in divorce. However, Guerrero asked why Deedra was wearing jeans in her arrest video. He asked him why she was wearing makeup in court and why she has requested a divorce. Bobbie says it's because he's been in jail for two years and is no longer controlling her.
"You turned Deedra into a fugitive didn't you?" Jones asked.
"Yes, I did," Bobbie said.
Guerrero asked why Deedra didn't call 911 when she was alone because she was sending out texts to family members and friends.
"I let her speak to her family. I made it…clear…that I was going to shoot her and me," Bobbie said.
Bobbie said Deedra had tried to commit suicide before.