LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Monday marked the first day of testimony in the murder trial of the Lufkin man accused of shooting and killing Kevin Moore at the Annie Mae's nightclub in the Cedar grove community on Nov. 15, 2015.
The trial for Terry Christopher "Chris" Criswell, 32, is being held in Judge Bob Inselmann's 217th Judicial District Court.
The state's opening remarks took the jury through the night of Moore's death at the Annie Mae's nightclub in the Cedar Grove community.
District Attorney Art Bauereiss began and said after Moore was shot, he walked out of the nightclub and got into the car of a woman who took him to Woodland Heights hospital where he was pronounced dead. The state said the Criswell was found to in Tyler, Texas at the home of family related to both Moore and Criswell after the shooting.
"He ironically went to a home related to both and there are several witnesses that said he was pretty tight-lipped, but he did tell Rhonda Shankle that she needed to get rid of a gun," Bauereiss said. "They all knew he was a suspect in the death of Moore."
Bauereiss said scientists and witnesses will explain their findings and added he doubts the full story will come to light.
"What is the motive? I expect we will find there was a disturbance at another nightclub months before, but where Moore was accused of being aggressive, but we may never know if that is true," Bauereiss said.
John Peralta, Criswell's defense attorney, asked the jury to judge their findings based on substantial evidence and questioned the number of witnesses taking the stand.
"May we remember that sometimes it is not quantity of those speaking but the quality of what they are saying," Peralta said. "I think you will find that this case does not have substantial evidence that my client fired that gun."
He also questioned the number of guns fired and the lack of evidence with missing shell casings and the murder weapon itself.
"Their story is anything but solid," Peralta said.
The first witness, a forensic scientist that performed an autopsy on Moore's body, concluded that Moore was shot five times - one above the navel, one that entered the stomach on his left side, another on his upper arm, a fourth that went through his back and hit his heart, and a final shot that went through his upper back.
"The victim appeared to be moving away from the shooter and possibly leaning forward, and we determined his death to be two lethal gunshot wounds one to the abdomen and one to the back," the forensic scientist said.
Traces of alcohol, methamphetamine, and marijuana were also found in the victim's body.
The defense questioned the fact that three shell casings weren't recovered at the scene and noted the difference in bullets found in the victim could have possibly been from two separate guns.
"So you can't say the same gun was used to shoot him? Two different bullets and two different brands of ammunition and the other three cannot be traced back to the same gun because they were never recovered?" Peralta said.
Tracy McKelvey took the stand next and said she saw Criswell with a gun the night of the shooting while she attended the club Annie Mae's.
"I was standing off from the dance floor and they approached me. Chris and Willie approached me. Some music came on, and when he started dancing, his shirt came up, and I saw the butt of the gun," McKelvey said.
She said she told Criswell to hide the gun better if he was going to bring it to a club.
"Excuse my language, but I said, 'If you're going to bring a [expletive] gun to the club, at least keep it covered,'" McKelvey said.
She said knew Moore for his nickname, "Bo Peep," and knew both Criswell and Moore off and on for years. She said she arrived and was leaving with her twin sister when shots rang out.
"He was walking out a couple of feet in front of me, and that's when I heard the first shot and that's when I saw Criswell shooting out in the club," McKelvey said. "He was shooting at Bo Peep running toward the street. I just heard multiple shots going off."
Peralta's cross-examination brought up the discrepancies within McKevley's statements from the night of the shooting up until today.
"I may have had the location of where they were standing when I saw the gun wrong. I said he was across the dance floor, but he was on our side, and I said I left with my boyfriend, but I didn't I left with my twin sister," McKelvey said.
The defense questioned whether McKelvey actually saw Criswell shooting at Moore.
"I don't know. I did glance that way, but I was in shock," McKelvey said.
Peralta questioned if the witness was aware of a previous fight that may have taken place at another nightclub, but she said she was not aware of this.
McKevley is still being questioned on the stand.
"Do you remember telling officers that Terry pulled up to the club in a white car, got out of that car, and shot Moore?" Peralta said.