Trial of Garrison man accused in 2018 shooting death expected to wrap up Tuesday
NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Closing arguments are expected Tuesday in the case of a Garrison man accused of shooting and killing another man in 2018.
Testimony concluded Monday in the case against Jason Harvey Lee. The court was recessed until Tuesday morning when the prosecution and defense will begin closing arguments.
Lee was charged with first-degree felony murder in the death of Thomas Sluterbeck. On Jan. 8, 2018, Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to the Gravel Ridge Cemetery to check out reports of shots fired in the area. When deputies arrived, they discovered Sluterbeck’s body with multiple gunshot wounds.
A witness who was familiar with Lee’s case, who prosecutors have asked remain anonymous, was among the last witnesses to provide testimony on Monday. He told jurors he has known Lee for more than a year, as they both served time in Nacogdoches County Jail.
The man told the court that on Sept. 18, 2019, Lee asked him to visit his jail cell. When the man arrived, he said Lee started discussing his case. He said Lee claimed Sluterbeck molested his daughter and took drugs from Lee’s fellow gang members without paying for them.
The witness proceeded to tell the court that Lee said Sluterbeck “deserved to die” for what he did and that he shot Thomas five times for the five-point star for the Piru gang.
Defense attorneys argued that the witness was lying to jurors in order to receive a lesser sentence in his own sexual assault of a child case, which is pending. The man, however, said he has not been offered any special offers from Nacogdoches County, and had even asked for protection from other gang members inside the jail.
After the man’s testimony, jurors heard from Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges, who spoke at length about the involvement of Lee’s co-defendant, Cassidy Fuqua.
Investigators identified Fuqua early as a suspect in the case. When Fuqua was brought in for an interview, she allegedly confessed to being at the crime scene with Lee and Sluterbeck and said that Lee shot the other man multiple times.
Fuqua later admitted to authorities she threw the gun Lee allegedly used to shoot Sluterbeck out of the window as they left the scene, according to Fuqua’s tampering with evidence affidavit.
Lee has been charged with first-degree felony murder, second-degree felony possession of a controlled substance between 4 and 200 grams, third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance between 1 and 4 grams, and Class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury - family violence. Fuqua’s charges include first-degree felony murder and third-degree felony tampering or fabricating physical evidence.
A Nacogdoches County judge said closing arguments are expected to begin Tuesday morning. After both sides are heard, jurors will receive the case.
+ Affidavits: Garrison man shot murder victim multiple times; woman got rid of gun
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