Jury selection for Kristen Westfall capital murder trial set for Tuesday

Jury selection for Kristen Westfall capital murder trial set for Tuesday

Writer John Foxjohn contributed to this article

The trial for a Tyler County woman accused of killing her ex-husband and his new wife in 2014. Today in a Brazos County courtroom, attorneys and a judge reviewed final motions for a woman accused in the shooting deaths of a Zavalla couple during a custody exchange at a Colmesneil church.

Nathan and Krystal Maddox were gunned down in the parking lot of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Tyler County on Jan. 18, 2014. They were shot following a supervised visitation with the 5-year-old daughter of Nathan Maddox.

Kristen Westfall has been charged with capital murder in connection to the deaths of Nathan and Krystal Maddox.

Kristen Westfall is the third Westfall family member to face judgment in the case. In May, Westfall's brother Cameron Westfall and mother Letha Westfall both accepted plea deals for their role in the alleged crime.

Cameron Paul Westfall, 20, pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree tampering with evidence. The judge deferred finding of guilt contingent upon Cameron Westfall testifying against his family. He faces up to 10 years in prison for each charge. Letha was given a life sentence with parole option after 30 years. Letha will also have to testify if asked.

The trial was moved to Bryan after a request from the office of the attorney general requested the move.

Kristen Westfall's last pre-trial hearing took place Monday. Jury selection begins Tuesday and is expected to last all day.

The trial is expected to take more than a week.

In the pre-trial hearing, they decided to set opening statements for the capital murder trial for Wednesday morning.

Lisa Tanner, the state attorney from The Texas Attorney General's Office, cleared the way for witnesses to mention that Kristen Westfall had made reference to being a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and other gang involvement.

Tanner stated that the state had no evidence that she had actually ever been a member of these organizations, but she had told many people that she was.

Also, the defense attorney made a motion limiting the type of apparel that the spectators to the trial could wear. The defense attorney stated that the bright yellow shirts with the words "Justice for Nathan and Krystal" would be prejudicial to her client receiving a fair trial.

The judge didn't sign a motion, but did agree with the request.

Lufkin resident and crime writer John Foxjohn has been following the story since the day Nathan and Krystal were found dead. Foxjohn has made the story the subject of his next project ,"Death at God's doorsteps."

"It is very unusual, someone is ambushed and killed on the doorsteps of the church," Foxjohn said. "I just kept coming back to that scene in my head."

Foxjohn researched the topic for a year before he decided.

"I was out on the scene when the bodies were still there," Foxjohn said. "I really looked into it before I decided. I write stories about extraordinary people who can't speak for themselves. They were the extraordinary people."

Foxjohn has done his homework on the project. He has conducted 172 interviews and has been to every Westfall hearing. Foxjohn said things that could come out in trial will be a surprise to people.

"I think there will be people shocked to the core," Foxjohn said. "This case has more twists and turns then you will believe."

Foxjohn has written 18 books, and this would be his second true-crime book. His first was about serial killer Kim Saenz, who was given a life sentence for capital murder after she was found guilty for injecting bleach into dialysis patients.

"The Saenz case was unique," Foxjohn said. "I don't think people here realize how special the case was. Outside of East Texas, murders are happening. I think after this is all done, people will be talking about this case."

Foxjohn said he is not looking for fame from the book but to be a voice for a hurting family.

"I have become friends with them because I care about the family," Foxjohn said. "Family members want this story told. I can't go into details, but people think this could have been prevented. It could have been easily prevented."

John Foxjohn is in Bryan and covering the Kristen Westfall trial as part of a book project. He has agreed to provide updates to KTRE.

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