Deliberations continue in murder trial following Port Arthur man’s killing

Published 7:01 pm Thursday, June 9, 2022

Jurors spent the a majority of the day Thursday deliberating in the trial of a Port Arthur man charged in a 2019 murder.

They did not reach a verdict, and deliberations will continue Friday.

Martin Vincent Pettway, 23, is accused of the shooting death of Jesse Rodriguez, who was shot while driving his truck at the intersection of Dowlen Road and Eastex Freeway in Beaumont Aug. 17, 2019.

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Closing statements were made Thursday morning and jurors began their task just after 10 a.m.

Pettway was one of four people in a vehicle behind Rodriguez at the time of the fatal shooting.

The two had a verbal altercation earlier the day of the shooting, shortly after Rodriguez bumped into someone’s chair at Cicis

In closing arguments, defense attorney Audwin Samuel reminded the jury of Judge Raquel’s West’s instructions that a defendant can’t be convicted on testimony of an accomplice without being supported by corroborative evidence.

He called into attention testimony of Nyah Mayfield, who said she didn’t see who did the shooting. Mayfield and Xavier Michael Parrish were in the vehicle with Pettway at the time of the shooting and were also charged.

In closing arguments, Samuel told the jurors they weren’t called there to solve the case — they were called to make a decision.

Prosecutor Luke Nichols said friends and family of Rodriguez gave slightly different versions of what happened, and that is to be expected.

He noted jurors also saw video showing the altercation between Pettway and Rodriguez, and heard testimony from witnesses.

Taylor Jones, then girlfriend of Parrish, testified she saw Pettway’s body out of the window and she heard the shots fired. She did not immediately meet with investigators but spoke with them days after the shooting.

Nichols said she had no reason to lie in her testimony.

The prosecutor also spoke of the chaos at the scene as police arrived, blood was everywhere and Rodriguez was dying.