By GREG RUSSELL
Register Staff Writer
Arguments from defense and prosecution preceded late Wednesday’s tentative status in the murder trial of Juan Manuel Rodriguez-Olivas.
Cooke County District Attorney Janice Warder said that due to a lack of jury deliberation, District Judge Janelle Haverkamp dismissed court for the evening following testimony by witnesses regarding the June 2012 stabbing homicide of Linda Barrett, 22.
A decision may come today, she added.
“We should get something, but you never know about a jury,” Warder said.
Warder also said Wednesday afternoon that the conviction of Olivas appeared uncertain due to complaints by defense attorneys Anthony Lyons and Anthony Farmer that Olivas was improperly searched and arrested during the initial investigation.
“The whole issue at this point is whether or not they want to turn him loose on a technicality,” she said. “But that’s not supplied by the evidence, in my opinion.”
As reported Wednesday
The trial stems from the brutal death of Barrett — allegedly committed by Olivas, reportedly her companion at the time. On June 18, 2012, Gainesville Police Department Public Information Officer Bobby Balthrop reported that at 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 15, 2012, officers received information from an individual concerning the death of an unknown female said to be located somewhere inside a residence on Truelove Street.
The investigation led to the discovery of a deceased white female inside the residence, plus the arrest of a suspect. The suspect, identified as Olivas, age 30 at the time of his arrest and also residing in the Truelove house, was taken into custody and charged with murder. He was later placed in the Cooke County Justice Center, where he stays now.
Warder said Barrett’s body was found in a locked closet at the Truelove Street residence, wrapped in plastic, decomposing and riddled with stab wounds. Dallas Chief Medical Examiner Jeffrey Barnard revealed autopsy diagrams during Tuesday’s installment, indicating no less than 31 wounds ranging from Barrett’s head to her lower body.
This week’s testimony included statements by Rodney Simpson, an acquaintance of Barrett who had a sexual relationship with the victim until late 2010, and a casual relationship through April 2012 — by which time, he said, Barrett was involved with Olivas. The trial also included comments from Carl Wilson, an inmate at Cooke County Justice Center who testified that Olivas admitted to and bragged about Barrett’s murder.
Nonetheless, Olivas entered trial with a plea of “not guilty.” But he has never faced a death penalty if convicted; currently, he faces a prison sentence of 5 to 99 years.
“This doesn’t fit the definition of capital murder,” Warder said Tuesday afternoon. “In a capital murder, you have to have at least one of the aggravating factors and those are usually murders that also include robbery or rape.”
By GREG RUSSELL
- Local News
GISD teachers thank school board at meeting
Gainesville Independent School District (GISD) teachers rallied at the Monday school board meeting to thank the board for the recent GISD district extra duty pay given out at the first of December.
NCTC honors graduates at commencement ceremonies
North Central Texas College hosted two commencement ceremonies last week to honor the Fall 2013 graduates.
Additional candidates file before deadline
Local candidates in the March 2014 election assembled on the Cooke County Courthouse steps recently for a group photo. Pictured, left to right, are Carroll Johnson, Lee Tatum, John Morris, Aaron Smith, Vince Rippy, Jason Brinkley, Byron Berry, Neil Trice, Leon Klement. Front: Patty Brennan, Rebecca Lawson, Susan Hughes, Dorthy Lewis. Not pictured is B.C. Lemons.
Icy weather forces changes during NCTC finals week
North Central Texas College officials dealt with the county’s recent winter weather by rescheduling semester finals and managing campus walkways, but an expected freeze during this coming week should pose fewer problems.
Chamber guests donate food for VISTO
The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce held its holiday mixer at Fuzzy's Taco. The restaurant provided nachos for the event. In addition, mixer guests were encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for VISTO's food pantry. Pictured above are Shari Kuykendall, Kelly Corbett, Mary Jo Graham, Rhonda Beam and Renea Stephens. Fuzzy's patrons can still donate to the food drive.
NCTC president is also a talented artist
A bronze bull dog named Sadie Mae is one of several works of art created by North Central Texas College President Dr. Eddie Hadlock. The busy college president makes time in his schedule to enjoy art.
Abigail's Arms agents talk to Lions Club about new program
A recent Gainesville Lions Club meeting included a program about a community initiative to help sexual assault victims.
Fatality reported near Love County
LOVE COUNTY, OKLA. — Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported a pedestrian fatality that followed a one-car collision Monday evening on State Highway 32.
Combs announces allocations for December
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reported Wednesday that state sales tax revenue in November was $2.41 billion, up 2.8 percent compared to November 2012.
Morris seeks re-election
Incumbent County Court-at-Law Judge John Morris has opted for an additional term in 2014, following a long history of local service.
- More Local News Headlines
- GISD teachers thank school board at meeting