Tyler County capital murder suspect denies being 1 of shooters, blames brother

Tyler County capital murder suspect denies being 1 of shooters, blames brother
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Nathan and Krystal Maddox (Source: Facebook))
Nathan and Krystal Maddox (Source: Facebook))

By John Foxjohn

BRYAN, TEXAS (KTRE) - After the state rested in the capital murder trial for the Tyler County woman accused in the shooting deaths of her ex-husband and his new wife, Kristen Westfall testified that she took the blame for the rest of her family and claimed that her father and her brother killed Nathan and Krystal Maddox.

Kristen Westfall's trial is being held in Bryan instead of Tyler County, where the crime was committed. Judge Delinda Gibbs-Walker granted state prosecutor Lisa Tanner's request to have the Tyler County woman's trial moved to a neutral site in order to have a fair jury.

The defendant in the case is one of three family members charged with capital murder in the killing of her ex-husband Nathan Maddox and his new wife Krystal in January of 2014 outside of a Tyler County church after a mediated visitation with Nathan and Kristen's young daughter.

Kristen Westfall's mother, Letha, and brother, Cameron, accepted plea deals in May. Westfall's father, Paul, has not gone to trial yet.

Cameron Westfall pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree tampering with evidence. The judge deferred finding of guilt contingent upon him testifying against his family. He faces up to 10 years in prison for each charge.

Letha Westfall was given a life sentence with parole option after 30 years.

The families of Nathan and Krystal Maddox have requested the punishment be life in prison if found guilty and not the death penalty.

On Wednesday, the defense called a DNA analyst from the Texas Department of Public Safety crime lab to the stand. The analyst testified that they found a partial DNA profile on one of the spent shell casings at the crime scene that didn't match the DNA of anyone else at the crime scene.

The DNA analyst said there was very little DNA present, so they couldn't work up an entire profile. There was just enough material for a comparison.

Later in the day, Wednesday, the defense called Kristen Westfall to the stand to testify on her own behalf.

While she was on the stand, Kristen Westfall said she didn't tell anyone what had really happened in January of 2014. She told the jurors that she waited until just recently to tell anyone.

"I was willing to take the blame," Kristen Westfall said. "I told them I would protect everyone, but it was Cameron with my dad, and they killed Nathan and Krystal."

In her opening statements Wednesday, Samantha Oglesby, a prosecutor for the Texas Attorney General's Office, told the jury that they would hear evidence that Kristen and her father Paul shot Nathan and Krystal outside the Mount Carmel Baptist Church as Nathan was going to visit his four-year old daughter.

"We know custody issues can be messy but it did not have to come to this," Oglesby said.

On Wednesday, Oglesby said that the Westfalls tried to keep Nathan's daughter isolated and discouraged her from having any kind of relationship with her father.

"You will learn the Westfalls discouraged Nathan's from having a relationship with him," Oglesby said Wednesday. "You will learn Nathan was trying to be a good father, but Kristen was not trying to be a good mother. The Westfalls saw the writing on the wall. Nathan was going to be able to get visitation with his child, and he was going to get the child out of isolation. They knew they were going to get custody of this child, and Kristen had to stop it."

Oglesby said Kristen plotted for months and that she told her family that she had friends that could kill Nathan. Oglesby claimed the Westfall family tried to pay Kristen's friends and give them money. She stated in October 2013, Nathan and Paul got in an argument and a physical altercation.

"It was in that time that words turned into action," Oglesby said.

Oglesby claimed that Kristen started to stalk Nathan and Krystal in an attempt to find a place to kill them. She said in December of 2013, a custody hearing was made where the judge ordered a visitation plan that both sides agreed on.

"What you will learn is the Westfalls came up with that place," Oglesby said. "They recommended their family church."

Oglesby said the day of the murder Cameron was asked to go to the store and he saw Kristen dressed as a boy and he knew the murder would happen that day.

Oglesby said Paul was armed with a .3030-caliber rifle and Kristen with a shotgun, and they walked through the woods to the church.

"You are going to hear that Paul Westfall shot Krystal in the head as she walked out," Oglesby said. "You are going to learn that Nathan had to watch his wife die, and then Kristen shot Nathan in the hip by Kristen, and then Paul walked up and shot him in the head."

Oglesby said Kristen thought she planned the perfect murder.

"What she didn't expect was for her family not to keep her secret," Oglesby. "What is better than fingerprints and DNA is her confession to her family. What is better than DNA or fingerprints is her understanding of where Nathan and Krystal would be."

In their opening statement the defense asked the jury to look at the evidence closely and really listen to the witnesses and think about what they had to gain. The defense argued that a different picture will be painted when they hear the evidence.

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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