LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An Angelina County grand jury no-billed a 49-year-old Lufkin man who was accused of shooting a 44-year-old man who got into an argument with him at a gas station and later confronted him at his house.
The victim, Timothy Austin, later died of his injuries at a Lufkin hospital.
The Angelina County grand jury no-billed Venable Wayne Bonham on a first-degree felony murder charge. The no-bill ruling means that the grand jury did not think there was enough evidence for the state to proceed to a jury trial.
According to a previous East Texas News story, the shooting incident occurred back in May. Captain Alton Lenderman with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office said Bonham and Austin got into an argument at a gas station located in the 4600 block of State Highway 103 East.
Lenderman said the two men left the gas station without further incident. However, Austin confronted Bonham at his home, which is not car from the gas station. After another argument ensued, Bonham shot Austin before he called 911, Lenderman said.
Austin underwent surgery at a Lufkin hospital and was initially listed in serious condition. He later died of his injuries, according to Lenderman. Bonham was detained by authorities for questioning, but he wasn't ever arrested.
Lenderman said there is the castle law that many homeowners use in cases like these that allows homeowners to use deadly force if they feel their life is threatened. Lenderman said the law is not as black and white as people think
Austin has had several run-ins with law enforcement in Dallas County. In 1998, Austin was charged with assault. In 2005, he faced a retaliation charge. In both cases, Austin reached a plea deal before going to court.
Lenderman said he has no reason to believe the men knew each other before the confrontation began.
Among the 52 people indicted by the Angelina County grand jury were Justin Elisha Welch, 22, of Lufkin, and Rosalind Welch Smith, 41. Welch and Smith were both charged with first-degree felony murder in connection to the death of 30-year-old Elisha Henson. A group of children discovered Henson's body in a wooded area in the Rivercrest community on May 10.
Smith was also indicted on a tampering with evidence charge. Both murder suspects are still being held in the Angelina County Jail. Welch's bail has been set at $250,000, and Smith's collective bail has been set at $289,000. Smith has also been charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and burglary of a habitation, along with four misdemeanor charges.
The Angelina County grand jury also indicted Daryl Bernard House, 43, of Lufkin, on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection to an allegation that he dragged his wife from her vehicle, hit her, and threatened her with a handgun on April 27.
Two Lufkin men who allegedly robbed a man at gunpoint in the 1000 block of Shermell Drive on June 5 were also indicted by the grand jury. Octavious Mosby, 22, and Deroy Eric Penson, 24, were both charged with first-degree felony aggravated robbery. Penson was also charged with 14 misdemeanor traffic warrants.
In addition, the grand jury indicted Ahmad Rachon Shepherd, 34, of Hudson, for sexual assault of a child. The charge stems from allegations that Shepherd sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl twice at his residence on Ted Trout Drive back in May.
Another person indicted by the Angelina County grand jury was Daniel David Pina, 34, of Lufkin. Angelina County Sheriff's deputies arrested Pina on two sexual assault of a child charges after the aunt of a 15-year-old girl walked into a bedroom of her home and allegedly found him pulling up his shorts with the girl also in the room.