NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - During the third day of a Nacogdoches man's capital murder trial, jurors watched a video of Decobie Durden's statement to police in regard to his role in the shooting deaths of two men.
Judge Ed Klein made the decision that no person would be allowed to enter the courtroom during testimony. He said incoming traffic was a distraction to the jury.
Decobie "Gutter" Durden, of Nacogdoches, is accused of the January 2014 shooting deaths of Deveston Flemon and William Cole at the Eastwood Terrace Apartment Complex off of E.J. Blvd.
Flemon, who was shot in the head, was pronounced dead at the scene. Cole, who was shot twice in the back, died a short time later at a Nacogdoches hospital.
The first person to take the stand was an autopsy expert.
Nathan Tunnel of the Texas Department of Public Safety was the second expert to take the stand.
Tunnel explained the process of collecting evidence and assuring that it is sealed correctly. He recalled receiving a 9 mm Glock along with magazines and five cartridge cases.
Tunnel testified that he tested two bullets along with the gun. He was asked to determine if the gun was functioning and if the bullets were in fact shot from that gun. He said his findings were that they were.
Ryan Ball, a detective with the Nacogdoches Police Department, was called back to the stand. He explained that he took a statement from Durden after the incident. It was recorded and saved to a DVD.
Lostracco played the video.
"What in the hell went wrong?" the detective asked at the beginning of the video.
Durden said the men came over cursing him out on his own property. He said they began saying gang-related things. In the video, he said, "I'm not with that. I used to be but I'm grown now. I got kids to raise."
The detectives said they appreciated his honesty. Durden said, "I know I'm about to do some time, but I couldn't just let them kill me or harm me." He said he told them to go on. "I was trying to look out for them," Durden said in the video.
Durden said the men had just stabbed someone at the club a couple weeks prior. Durden said one of the men said, "I just got out of jail." He said he had, too, and was not trying to go back.
He said he told them to be careful and they responded, "Naw we 'C' careful," which is Crip-related lingo. Durden said that in 2006, he stopped a confrontation between the victims and his friends. He said they probably remembered that and had a vendetta.
The detectives and Durden began mapping out the specifics of the crime scene.
He said he didn't have a problem showing them where the gun was. "Them girls and Lil C will have the same story as mine," Durden said in the video.
Durden told the detective he was looking at Ball from the woods as authorities had started arriving on the scene.
Durden said in the video he needed a gun for protection. "I need one. I've been running from gangs."
"I know what I was doing. I was protecting myself. I know what they about. I know what they'll do," Durden said during the interview.
Detectives said there were more shell casings at the scene than there were bullet holes. Durden said it was probably from popping rounds for the New Year.
Detectives told him he was probably in the best place he could be by turning himself in. "There are gangs in jail too," Durden said in the video.
"They weren't going to let it be. I wasn't going to make it back to my crib," Durden said in the video.
Detectives asked Durden why he went outside with the gun. Durden first said he did not have the gun, but retrieved the gun after the confrontation with the victims. He then said he had the gun on him all along.
Detectives asked him why he didn't shoot Sanders, or Lil C.
"He's like my relative. I let him make it," Sanders said in the video.
They then asked him why the door to his apartment was locked. He said people would go in and steal his things if he didn't keep it locked.
Durden then put on a bulletproof vest and left with authorities to assist them in locating the gun.
Ball agreed that at times it was hard to understand Durden's speech during the interview.
"It had appeared that he felt he had done the right thing," Ball said.
Ball said Durden seemed to be most annoyed that the victims were being loud near his home.
Lostracco asked Ball about Durden's attitude about the apartment complex. Ball agreed that Durden seemed to be possessive of the area.
Ball agreed with Lostracco that a common theme throughout the statement was that Durden was "not going to give them a chance" to harm him.
Lostracco then asked Ball about the gang references in the interview. Ball reiterated that Durden had said he was no longer affiliated with a gang.
Lostracco asked him to explain his knowledge of Bloods and Crips. Ball said the Bloods wear red and the Crips wear blue. Ball said that Sanders was wearing a blue shirt and blue shoes while Durden wore bold red the day they were interviewed.
Ball and Lostracco discussed Durden's outlook on the incident. Ball agreed that Durden spoke of the potential harm in future tense. During the interview, Durden used the phrase, "they were fixin' to..."
Ball said Durden had no problem discussing the events that had happened and appeared not to be remorseful. Ball said Durden's demeanor was amped up, fired up, or excited.
In response to a question, Ball agreed that Durden said he had wasted the bullets on Flemon and would have used them on Cole. Ball said he made a shooting motion at the ground when he said so.
In Boundy's cross-examination, Ball agreed that Durden had told the victims to "go on" several times. He also agreed that if Cole had indeed stepped between Durden and his home, that could have been perceived as aggressive behavior.
He asked Ball about his opinion of Cole regarding violence.
"Yes, I have an opinion. Recently, I don't recall any violence. Historically, I can recall at least one incident," Ball said.
Boundy and Ball established that the men had known each other for a long time.
Boundy confirmed that Cole was over 300 lbs. He asked Ball if he himself would feel threatened with three men surrounding him and one for sure wanting to fight him.
"Yes sir," Ball said.
Ball and Boundy discussed police training on knife attacks and how quickly they can occur. Ball agreed that people from the streets have had more raw experience than regular people or people of the suburbs.
Ball also agreed that the power went out at the station at the very moment they were taking the statement from Durden. Authorities thought the statements were corrupt at some point until September.
Lostracco confirmed with Ball that there was a computer issue, but that the statement played perfectly for unknown reasons on a different media player.
Lostracco asked Ball if he would use deadly force on someone if he or she looked like they were posing a threat. Ball said that there would need to be something more in an incident to cause him to use deadly force.
Ball also said the prior alleged stabbing at a club by one of the victims was researched, and there was no evidence to prove that it had happened.