, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

April 22, 2013

Update: Prosecutor tells jury Courthouse shooting meticulously planned

Galveston — A man meticulously planned before he opened fire on his daughter and her mother outside of the Jefferson County courthouse last year, wounding them both and killing a 79-year-old woman, a prosecutor said Monday at the outset of the man's capital murder trial.

Bartholomew Granger, 42, was angry at his daughter and her mother about testimony against him in a sexual assault trial, Ed Shettle, a Jefferson County assistant district attorney, told jurors in his opening remarks.

"This was calculated, well thought out and it took a long time for this crime to proceed," Shettle said.

Shettle warned jurors that the state's evidence, which is expected to take about two weeks to present, may seem tedious at times, but that it was important.

"It is to make sure when this is all over that this man is going to sit on death row and you all will be eventually comfortable with what you did and it was the right thing to do," he said.

Granger faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole if he's convicted of capital murder in the killing of Minnie Ray Sebolt. The Deweyville woman was accompanying a relative to the courthouse and was caught in the gunfire. Three others, including Granger's daughter and her mother, were wounded.

At Shettle's request, after Granger's lawyers entered an innocent plea for him Monday, Granger himself responded to State District Judge Bob Wortham when asked for his plea.

"Not guilty, your honor," said Granger, who is also charged with retaliating against a witness.

Granger wore a dark suit, light shirt and silver tie. He was not handcuffed or shackled, but an electronic shock belt could be seen under his coat.

His lawyers deferred their opening statements until the state finishes its case.

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