Thursday, December 12, 2013

Knife murderer says previous convictions 'not true'

Tennessee offenses to enhance sentence

Waco – They call him “T,” or Memphis, and he has large bags under his eyes, a weary urban cool affect when he walks. He sat with a downcast expression in the well of the 19th District Court following the jury's ultra-swift deliberations that made him a convicted murderer.

When asked by the judge if it's true he received a felony sentence in Tennessee for assault to rape and aggravated assault, two prior felony convictions, Allen Latoin Story pleaded “not true” after a jury reached a unanimous verdict of guilt for murdering a Waco man after deliberating less than a half-hour. They got the case at 3:50 p.m. and returned at 4:15.

After a two-day trial during which prosecutors elicited testimony from witnesses that left little doubt in jurors' minds as to his intent to kill a Waco man who sought only to defend his sister, his words carried a certain weakness, his demeanor sank a little bit lower.

Today, those same jurors will hear testimony regarding T's previous life of crime as they deliberate upon his sentence. Due to the two previous felony convictions, his sentence could be enhanced to life, or not more than 99 years or less than 25.

Prosecutor Chris Bullajian told them “Zach Davis is dead because he tried to protect his sister. Zach's not here because of the actions of that fellow.”

Examination of witnesses revealed that Story told Davis if he interfered with his argument with Renee Davis over his alleged attentions to other women, he would kill him.

He then went into the rear of a residence at the Kate Ross Apartments and returned with a knife and plunged its full length into his chest, not once, but three times.

Bullajian told jurors that their charge required they find those five elements to be true – that on or about September 22, 2011, at that location, with intent to cause serious bodily harm, he did there and then attack and kill a human being with a knife and cause his death.

Lead prosecutor J.R. Vicha urged them to “Use a little common sense,” as they deliberated. “When you stab someone with the full length of the blade three times, I think it's pretty clear what your intent was...The only way you can find him not guilty is if you find the state has not met these elements.”

After jurors heard defense attorney Sam Martinez urge them to understand that “The burden of proof is on the state,” and that any one element of reasonable doubt of any one element of proof is enough to acquit a defendant, Vicha returned to his original argument of guilt.

Judge Ralph T. Strother
Who hit who first?...Zachary did not deserve to die because he protected his sister.” He had earlier warned Story that he was not going to sit by and watch him beat his sister, according to witnesses.
Following the killing, he reminded them, Story led Waco Police and McLennan County Sheriff's officers on a 4-hour manhunt. “What's your number one indicator of guilt? Flight, and that's what he did.”

When jurors return to court today, they will hear expert testimony and character witnesses who will establish what type of man Story is. As Judge Ralph T. Strother dismissed them for the day, he said, “Well, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the realities of the real world. We're all out of witnesses at this time...”

The time was 4:45 p.m, and the work day completed on Wednesday, December 11, 2013.

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