A Tarrant County jury on Monday found Timothy Huff guilty of the murder of the 2018 death of… Fort Worth Police Officer Garrett Hull.
The man on trial did not shoot the officer, but in their closing statement on Monday, lawyers sought to prove whether he was still legally responsible for Hull’s death.
The court resumes Monday afternoon for the sentencing phase of the trial, to determine Huff’s sentence, which will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday with more testimony. Huff faces a sentence of either the death penalty or life in prison.
Huff was charged with capital murder for his involvement in Hull’s death in September 2018. Hull was part of a team of Fort Worth police officers who tracked Huff and two other men suspected of a series of robberies at Latin American businesses in the United States. course of three months in 2018.
Huff’s attorneys and prosecutors held closing arguments before a packed courtroom and an attentive jury in Tarrant County’s 396th district court at 9:00 a.m. Monday. an hour later.
Three men were involved in the fatal robbery on the night of September 14, 2018, prosecutors said.
Samuel Mayfield, Dacion Steptoe and Huff entered the Los Vaqueros bar and robbed the customers, according to police statements at the trial. Hull and other Fort Worth officers from the criminal intelligence unit had followed the group and supervised the bar. Realizing that the bar was being robbed, they called for backup and got ready to track the men down as soon as they left the business.
Huff, Steptoe and Mayfield fled the bar and the officers began chasing them, according to testimonies. Steptoe and Hull ended up in a driveway on May Street. Steptoe shot Hull, who died after being rushed to hospital, authorities said. Another officer shot Steptoe dead.
The question in the case, lawyers for both sides explained, was not about who shot Hull. The crux of the matter was whether Huff was responsible for Hull’s death. Mayfield is also charged with capital murder and awaiting trial.
If Huff had reasonably anticipated that the result of the robbery could cause a person’s death, prosecutor Lloyd Whelchel explained to the jury, then he should be legally convicted of manslaughter. For four and a half days, prosecutors have presented evidence they say shows Huff knew someone could die during the… increasingly violent robberies†
In an August 2018 robbery, the group of men — dubbed “the Cantina Bandits” — robbed a group of people who were grilling outside, according to Fort Worth police and the person shot, Pascual Soria. Soria was shot in the back, he testified.
“This case is a textbook for how someone is guilty of murder even if they didn’t pull the trigger,” prosecutor Timothy Rodgers said during closing arguments.
The state pointed out that Huff – who hid in a yard after the robbery and was arrested – was found with a handgun, a stolen wallet filled with cash and black gloves. Those items implicate him in the robbery, prosecutors said.
in a interrogation with police after the robberyHuff told detectives he instructed his partners before they rob Los Vaqueros: “Whatever you do, don’t shoot anyone.”
The state said this statement shows that it knew someone could die during the robberies. Even Hull, Rodgers said, knew the potential dangers of the group of robbers, citing the testimony of Hull’s wife on the first day of the trial.
About a week before her husband was shot, Sabrina Hull said, the couple had… spoke for the first time about the possibility that he might die while on duty†
Sabrina Hull said her husband told her, “These guys are really dangerous, honey.” He told her he was worried, and he even told her what song to play at his funeral if something happened to him.
Rodgers described the group of men as “a pack that hunts and finds their victims”.
Defense attorneys William Harris and Patrick Curran did not call witnesses, instead focusing their argument on conflicting testimonies about the identity of the robbers. They said Huff is not responsible for Steptoe’s actions.
“Garrett Hull can’t be dead,” Curran said. “But Timothy didn’t.”
‘He is always with us’
The sentencing phase of the trial began after the court broke before lunch.
Fort Worth Officer Ryan Navarro testified on the night Hull was shot. The night of the shooting, Navarro, who is a former paramedic, ran to the sound of gunfire after hearing the dreaded call on his radio from an officer below. As soon as he saw a plainclothes man lying in the grass, he knew that whoever had been shot was with the criminal intelligence unit – all the other officers on the scene were wearing their uniforms.
Navarro assessed Hull and knew the injury was serious when he saw that the bullet had hit Hull in the head and had no exit wound. Navarro helped carry Hull to an unmarked police car and held his friend’s head in his lap as they rushed to a hospital in Fort Worth.
Hull was “the best cop you could imagine,” Navarro said Monday.
Navarro, who worked with Hull in the criminal intelligence unit for five years, said Hull was like a big brother with whom everyone felt safe. Hull’s death made Navarro think about his own family and what would happen to them if he died.
“It makes you think, ‘Is it worth it?'” Navarro said in his testimony. “Then you think of Garrett and that’s what keeps us going. He is always with us.”
The criminal intelligence unit was renamed after Hull’s death, Navarro said. On paper, the team is called the Operation and Surveillance Team. But among the officers, it has a more meaningful name: GHOST – the Garrett Hull Operation and Surveillance Team.
This is a story in development. For the latest updates, sign up for breaking news alerts.