LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - During the second day of the trial for the Lufkin man accused of shooting and killing his wife in front of their then-3-month-old son, an LPD corporal testified that both the suspect and the victim had been in his drug court on numerous occasions and had tried to hide a secret "toxic" relationship before their child was born.
Joshua Ingram, 32, of Lufkin, is accused of shooting and killing his wife Jennifer in their home on Feb. 5, 2015.
According to the arrest affidavit, the Lufkin Police Department got a 911 call from one of Ingram's relatives, who said that Joshua Ingram's mother had called him from California and said that her son had shot his wife and was going to shoot himself.
The relative also told the 911 dispatcher that Joshua Ingram's infant son was also at the residence in the 400 block of Cunningham. In addition, the relative told authorities that Joshua Ingram "was going to attempt to get into a lethal confrontation with law enforcement and may be armed with some form of long gun or automatic rifles."
The first witness of the day was Sgt. Travis Strickland with the Lufkin Police Department, the command of the LPD Special Response Team.
Strickland said he activated the SRT on the evening of be. 5, 2015 because he got a call that there was a potential barricade situation.
"After securing the location, I knew he was potentially looking for a lethal engagement with law enforcement, so I left the sniper and long team at the residence and took two unmarked vehicles to track the suspect's location," Strickland said.
Joshua Ingram appeared to be taking notes throughout Strickland's testimony, and he often sighed audibly.
Strickland then detailed what happened when they took Joshua Ingram into custody at Pal's Video.
"When he wasn't compliant, I deployed the Taser, and one deputy had to press his shoulder into the ground to prevent him from reaching the front pocket of his sweatshirt, where we found the pistol," Strickland said.
In response to a question from the prosecutor, Strickland said once they had Joshua Ingram in handcuffs, the man immediately said that he didn't kill his wife and told the LPD sergeant that he needed to contact the FBI about "the cartel."
Cpl. Kevin Jackson, a crime scene investigator with the Lufkin Police Department took the stand next. He explained that both Joshua and Jennifer Ingram had been in and out of his drug court before they got married.
"In drug court, you cannot have a relationship, but it was obvious that they were hiding a relationship by the way behaved," Jackson said. "They were placed on a 'no contact order.'"
Jackson spoke about Jennifer Ingram's struggle with methamphetamine and said that when she went missing, Joshua Ingram called him and asked the LPD corporal to find her, adding that he was worried about her.
During his testimony, the LPD corporal said not long after the couple's son was born, Jennifer Ingram was arrested for meth use. He said although he was told Joshua Ingram's was the primary caregiver of the child, he felt that Joshua Ingram's parents were actually the ones who were taking care of the child.
Jackson explained that he contacted Joshua Ingram's parents and got permission to enter their home to follow up and collect evidence. He added that he was brought in to the murder scene to help identify Jennifer Ingram's body.
Authorities used the phone service Joshua Ingram was using to "ping" his cell phone, Jackson said.
Jackson said Jennifer Ingram had an ongoing struggle with using meth, which was why she was in and out of drug court.
During the cross examination, Bill Agnew, Joshua Ingram's defense attorney, asked Jackson about his client.
"He was a fighter; he didn't mind fighting someone, and he didn't mind using guns," Jackson said. "He told me this very early on in the drug court. The relationship between Josh and Jennifer would be characterized as toxic."
Jackson said the couple was "on the run" when he heard the news that Jennifer Ingram was found dead at their home with multiple gunshot wounds. He added that the news didn't come as a surprise.
The Lufkin PD corporal also said that he does not believe the drug cartel was involved in Jennifer Ingram's death.
Christi Esteves talked about how they went through the couple's vehicles and collected evidence. She said they found a wallet with a drug court appointment card and a drug offender card. In the Jeep, they found a magazine for a 9 mm handgun, beer cans, and a Dairy Queen bag.
Later in Tuesday's testimony, the state released dramatic footage of Joshua Ingram in the moments after police took him into custody on the suspicion that he murdered his wife in front of their 3-month-old son.
Stephen Abbott was called to the witness stand and explained he spoke to the defendant and explained he was under the arrest, and they were investigating the death of his wife, Jennifer Ingram,
"What murder? Who? Where were the shell casings? Where's my son?" Joshua Ingram screamed.
After Abbott repeated that Jennifer Ingram was dead Joshua Ingram was seen on security footage from the interrogation turning hysterical,
"I tried to protect her, man. F---! She's dead?! She's f---ing dead?" Ingram shouted.
Police continued to explain that they were in fact investigating her murder. In the video, Joshua Ingram could be seen going through multiple fits of rage. Then he would then calmly state several times, "She's not dead. She's not dead. She's not dead."
The defendant continued to hysterically deny that Jennifer Ingram was not dead.
"She can't be dead. I just paid for her to get tanned." he said, "She can't be dead. That's my baby."
After the video finished, the state prosecutor asked Abbott if at the time Joshua Ingram asked about the shell casings, he had mentioned that Jennifer Ingram had been shot.
"No, I do not believe that at that point I had told him," Abbott said.
During the interrogation, Joshua Ingram's hands were tested for gunshot residue. After being asked if he had shot a gun recently, Joshua Ingram answered, "Yes, three of them probably every day. I fired one at 9:00am, so you'll collect that."
The interrogation video showed a very erratic and hysterical side of Joshua Ingram.
"Can you call her? Just call her cellphone! She's not dead this is impossible!" Joshua Ingram said in the video.
Previous witnesses to take the stand today were forensic scientists from the Department of Crime Scene Investigations. Jennifer Ingram Lake said was responsible for finding DNA samples on any of the evidence submitted to her.
"We tested the gun for any trace of blood splatters and none were found. The clothing and cellphone battery however did test positively to blood," Lake said.
The blood was then sent to another lab. Forensic scientist Jennifer Jessica Eheman testified that she found something strange. The blood on his clothing wasn't Jennifer Ingram's.
"The cutting sample from the rear of the shirt, and sweatpants were consistent with Joshua Dale Ingram," Eheman said.
However, the cell phone battery that was sent in for testing was confirmed to be Jennifer Ingram's blood, but this does not explain why the blood splatters found on the back of Joshua Ingram's shirt were from him.
Thomas White, a DPS forensic chemist took the stand, to explain how they determined the gun shot residue taken from Joshua Ingram's hands matched the shell casings found at the crime scene,
"Gunshot residue is a chalk-like consistency, which means within four hours of firing a gun you would have done enough physical activity or washed your hands to wipe it completely off," White said.
"Zirconium is an unusual substance in ammunition specific to Barnaul found only in certain guns," White said.
Zirconium was found on the shell casings from the scene of the crime as well as on Joshua Ingram's hands from the time he was arrested.
Shane Windsor, a forensic scientist that specializes in firearms, and tool marks stated that after performing multiple tests it was inconclusive how many exact gunshot wounds were found on the victim's body,
"We ruled no opinion on the four holes found on the left shoulder of the victim because it could not be determined if they were entrance or exit wounds," Windsor said.
However, three holes on the back right shoulder were consistent with entrance wounds.
"Based on a distance determination test there were some shots fired from less than 18 inches from the victim," Windsor said.
The jury was shown the bloody shirt found on Jennifer Ingram Ingram the night she was murdered.
The next person to take the stand was Galen Davis, a convict serving time for his third driving while intoxicated conviction. Galen Davis is the brother of Ryan Davis who testified yesterday as being the clerk on duty at Pal's video the location Ingram was arrested.
Galen Davis was with Josh and Jennifer the day of the murder.
"Josh wanted me to come over, but I could tell they were arguing that day, they seemed to be having some problems," Galen Davis said.
He explained Jennifer Ingram was being standoffish and only spoke to him when she asked to use his phone. The last time he spoke to her was when she entered the room with a gun.
"She just kind of set it down so it could be seen, almost like, 'Look what I have,'" Galen Davis said. "I think she wanted him to see."
Galen Davis explained Joshua Ingram was concerned that Jennifer Ingram was going to take Cash, their son, and leave for Beaumont to live with her mother.
"She told Josh she wanted to go to Beaumont, there Xanax in the house in a safe and he wouldn't give it to her," Galen Davis said.
Later that evening, Joshua called Galen Davis.
"He called me hysterical and told me that he had shot his wife and asked me to go check on his son," Galen Davis said.
Galen Davis alluded that he felt Jennifer Ingram was on drugs but stated he was not surprised when the toxicology report stated she was clean from alcohol and drugs.
In an emotional testimony, Jennifer Ingram's little sister, Nicole Denard, took the stand to say she had spoken to Jennifer Ingram and was set to pick her up the day before she was murdered.
"She sent her sister a message on Facebook saying Josh was being rude and she wanted to leave him. I told her I would come tomorrow," Denard said.
Denard explained that Joshua Ingram would verbally abuse Jennifer Ingram in her presence.
"I would listen to him scream at her on the phone that he didn't want her to be around my mom and I," Denard said.
She also gave insight to Joshua Ingram's violent behavior and obsession with guns,
"He had a fetish about guns, he always talked about them, just telling everyone what kind of guns he had," Denard said. "He brought one to our house one time and shot into the yard."
She recalled a time he convinced her to buy him alcohol, saying his personality was frightening.
"His whole demeanor would change; he would talk differently, act different," Denard said. "It was scary."
When asked if Jennifer Ingram was ever affected by this behavior Denard said Jennifer Ingram was scared.
"His drinking scared her, and she feared for her life," Denard said. "She would cry sometimes and say she didn't know if she wanted to be with him anymore."
Denard was asked about her mother's history of drug abuse, but she stated it did not have anything to do with Jennifer Ingram's death.
Court adjourned and will resume at 9 a.m.