Day 3 of Mobley trial: Witness testifies she saw the suspect with a club, later heard screams

Day 3 of Mobley trial: Witness testifies she saw the suspect with a club, later heard screams
Vanessa Melson (Source: Facebook)
Vanessa Melson (Source: Facebook)

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - During the third day of the jury trial for an Elkhart man who was charged and indicted in connection to the brutal 2015 beating death of a Grapeland woman, a witness testified that saw Robert David Mobley Jr. standing over the victim with a nunchuck in his hand.

The woman also testified that she heard screaming and the sound of the club hitting a person's body.

Mobley Jr., 41, is one of three people facing charges first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping in connection to Vanessa Melson's murder. Her body was found partially buried in a shallow grave.

Brenna Theuer, a woman who was in the house at the time Mobley brought Melson to the property, testified in court on Thursday.

In her emotional testimony, Theuer recounted events that unfolded that night between June 16 and 17 in 2015. She said that Mobley had pulled up to James Henderson's property and was standing outside his truck while he was screaming at a female inside the truck, whom Theuer later learned was Melson.

Theuer said that, throughout the night, she and Melson never got into any verbal arguments, but rather she and Mobley got into a heated argument, where she told him to take his business elsewhere. Theuer said after her fight, she went back into the bedroom, where she heard noises.

"Then I heard Mobley beating that stick (nunchuck) on the wall. The consistency on the wall changed and you could tell it was hitting a person," Theuer said.

Theuer said she tried to call 911, but Henderson took her phone away from her. She said then Henderson left the bedroom, and she heard more screaming and what sounded like Melson trying to leave the laundry room, the place where the alleged beating was taking place.

At one point Theuer came out of the room and saw Mobley holding a stick (nunchuck), and Melson was on the floor.

Theuer then said that she started hearing the beating again, and the noise changed to what sounded like a sexual assault, adding it sounded like Mobley was having sex with Melson. She said a different sound was coming from Melson.

Theuer said that eventually the screaming stopped, which to her seemed to indicate that Melson was no longer breathing.

"I was looking out the bedroom. I saw two area rugs in our garage, and one of the rugs was being put in the back of the truck and it had hair coming out," Theuer said.

Theuer said the truck was a dark Chevy pickup belonging to Mobley. She said at one point Henderson was holding a dirty shovel when he returned around 9 in the morning after she had passed out.

The defense attorney, Colin McFall, challenged Theuer's testimony in an attempt to discredit the credibility of Theuer's statements. McFall referred to several interviews Theuer gave to investigators where Theuer's story changed. He said there were several opportunities for Theuer to tell law enforcement the truth about what happened.

Theuer fired back by saying she was too scared to get help and that she feared Mobley.

The back and forth between the defense and Theuer persisted for a while longer.

The state rested after another witness took the stand who said Mobley and Melson were in a relationship.

After the state rested, McFall called Melson's father to the stand. He told the jury that Mobley and Melson were adult friends who hung out with him to do drugs. He also testified that Melson had been over to his house two times, and both times, all of them had been doing some sort of drugs.

The trial will resume Friday at 9 a.m., and the defense plans to have Mobley take the stand.

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