LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The trial of a 23-year-old Diboll man accused of firing a rifle at Angelina County Sheriff's Office deputies back in January started Tuesday.
Joshua Sterling Day was arrested on January 7 after he allegedly fired a rifle at Angelina County Sheriff's Office deputies after they responded to a 911 call about a home invasion at a residence on Jenna Lou Road.
Day appeared in Judge Bob Inselmann's 217th District Court Tuesday.
Day is facing seven charges including three counts of aggravated assault against a public servant, two charges of assault of a public servant, a count of obstruction or retaliation and a count of deadly conduct by discharging a firearm. For two of the charges, assault of a public servant, Day has pleaded guilty. He pleaded not guilty to the other charges.
In opening arguments, prosecutor Sandra Martin outlined the facts and events which led to deputies arriving at the Days' residence. She said to a jury that they will hear video evidence, where through the audio they will hear conversations, disputes, and gunshots when fired both by Day and the deputies. She said further that there were two 911 calls made which ended up being hang up calls.
Defense attorney Al Charanza said during his opening arguments that Day is guilty of some things and not guilty for some other things. He said for that reason Day has pleaded guilty on two charges. He said that while this incident happened on January 7, Day's life changed four years prior when his brother committed suicide, and his best friend died shortly after. He said that Day's family will testify where the jury will learn about how the defendant wasn't the same where he was experiencing depression and grief.
An ACSO deputy who arrived first to the residence testified on behalf of the state. He said he was informed that Day was at the back of the residence, but upon arrival, he learned Day was somewhere by a carport on the property.
The deputy said that he and other deputies arrived at the same time. When he got out of his vehicle, he observed that Day had a single-shot rifle and gave Day commands to put his weapon down, but eventually things escalated and there were shots fired from Day and deputies. The ACSO deputy said none of the shots came from his rifle because the safety was still on, and he had taken cover. In total, six shots were fired. He said that while he didn't see the first shot, he saw the second shot where the gun was point to the ground. The ACSO deputy said he was unsure whether the shot was to the left or the right, but it was toward law enforcement officers.
A second ACSO deputy testified next and shed more details. He said after the shots were fired, he saw Day's mother wrestling with her son to get possession of the gun. He said during the arrest, Day was resisting and he tried to shock him, but that didn't work. The deputy said Day was kicking and became irate, but he eventually went into the patrol unit. He told the jury at one point, Day head-butted a third deputy.
A third deputy told the jury that Day made verbal threat to him and his family. The deputy said that Day will find him and kill him. Those words concerned the deputy and made him feel unsafe.
An evidence and property technician brought the weapons and shell casing evidence collected that the crime scene. She showed the jury the single shot rifle found on the property.
A sergeant with ACSO who booked Day during the arrested testified. He said that Day made verbal threats to another deputy and hit the left side of his face.
Trial will resume on Wednesday at 9 a.m.