Defense rests in trial of Palestine man accused in 2020 murder of Jacksonville teen

Cameron Shead faces a life-without-parole sentence if he’s convicted.
Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 10:43 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2023 at 7:43 PM CST
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RUSK, Texas (KLTV) - The defense took its turn in the trial of a Palestine man accused in the 2020 murder of Jacksonville teen Tyress Gipson.

Cameron Shead faces a life-without-parole sentence if he’s convicted. Shead was one of four people arrested weeks after Gipson’s disappearance.

One of those four, Breonna Jiminez, testified against Shead on Tuesday.

Shead is charged with capital murder, though Gipson’s body has not been recovered.

The defense called a Jacksonville police officer to the stand, who testified on a robbery before Gipson went missing. Testimony through the trial has alluded to Gipson being a suspect in that robbery.

Following the first witness for the defense, the trial went into recess until 12:45 p.m. The defense said they have one more witness who is not available until then.

Judge Michael Davis said closing arguments will likely be held Thursday morning.

The defense resumed questioning witnesses Wednesday afternoon as it called Stephanie Lufsey to the stand. Lufsey is the mother of Shead’s daughter. She said Shead took two photos with his daughter at 1:15 a.m. on August 23, 2020.

Shauntell Simpson, Shead’s girlfriend at the time of the incident, also testified, saying that she and three other people were robbed by Tyress Gipson on August 22, 2020, claiming Tyress shot at Shead’s Dodge Charger. Simpson claimed that her maroon Chevrolet Tahoe was in disrepair at the time of the murder, which goes against Breonna Jiminez’s testimony on Tuesday.

Simpson said she and a friend went to a party at her brother’s house the night of August 23, 2020. She said she and her friend got there after midnight and stayed until 5 a.m. and when she arrived home Shead was in bed asleep with his daughter.

Simpson’s brother, Aaryon Robinson, also testified. Robinson said he had tried in the past to help Simpson repair the Tahoe but could never successfully do so. He said he was unaware the Tahoe was important in the case.

The apartment manager, Rhonda Perry, also testified. She said she saw the Tahoe sitting for quite some time. The apartment complex had rules that no car was allowed to sit in a spot for an extended period of time. She said she gave the owners of the Tahoe notice that they needed to move it. The vehicle was eventually towed.

Jiminez’s sister, Haley, was also brought in to testify. She said that she saw Breonna driving the Tahoe that night.

The defense then rested their case. Closing arguments will begin Thursday morning.