It was an afternoon of whacky testimony in the trial of a man accused of assaulting a local deputy.
The trial for a man who got into a physical altercation with an Erath County deputy in July 2019 got underway Tuesday at the Donald R. Jones Justice Center.
In one of the shortest trials I’ve ever covered, both sides rested in less than two hours after presenting evidence in the case of 61-year-old David Junior Moore, charged with assaulting a public servant.
Deputy Tye Box was the first to testify and told jurors that authorities became familiar with Moore a couple of days prior to his arrest when he was found parked in front of the tax office late one night with a shotgun.
The next day, authorities received another complaint about Moore’s erratic behavior. This time he was threatening to “evict” tenants of an apartment building.
Later that afternoon, Box testified that he located Moore sitting inside a vehicle in Walmart’s parking lot.
Box told District Attorney Alan Nash that rather than approaching Moore right away (he knew he had a shotgun and there were questions about his mental stability), he sat back and observed.
Eventually, he confronted Moore and asked him to exit his vehicle.
Things went south relatively quickly when Box attempted to detain Moore with handcuffs.
Nash played jurors video of the incident captured on Box’s body camera that showed a violent struggle that ended with Box and Moore fighting on the ground and bystanders rushing in to help.
Box wasn’t seriously injured, but he did get a concussion, a few scrapes and a fat lip.
Nash called a couple more witnesses to the stand who backed up the story played out on video, then rested his case.
District Court Judge Jason Cashon then dismissed jurors for a short recess and that’s when Moore announced that we wanted to take the stand.
AND BOY WAS IT STRANGE
I’m not exactly sure how to report Moore’s testimony because calling it strange wouldn’t do it justice.
Moore began by telling his attorney Andrew Ottoway that he had served in the military and worked as a preacher.
Under cross examination, he told Nash that he was sitting inside his vehicle at Walmart the day of the fight working on “court cases.”
He said he was working on writing a “warrant” to serve to an Erath County constable by the name of “Scribner” (there isn’t a constable by that name) who was wanted for “cattle rustling.”
Moore said there was a $50,000 reward for the constable’s arrest and he wanted the cash.
He then explained the incident at the tax office by telling jurors that a woman told him that she was being sexually assaulted by three police officers who frequented the tax office at night.
He said he was there to have a chat with the officers and put an end to the ongoing assaults.
Nash: “Who was at the tax office when you got there?”
Moore: “Nobody was there. If these officers showed up, I was just going to have a conversation with them.”
And about those apartment tenants he was threatening to evict? Well, his aunt told him that he owned the building and had a right to kick them out.
When the questioning returned to the deadly serious topic of the assault on Box, Moore explained his actions by saying he feared for his life.
“I was thinking this man was going to kill me… as he came toward me with that weapon,” Moore said, adding that he had been threatened by other officers in the days leading up to the incident. “I was not going to let (Box) handcuff me, sit me in that car and blow my brains out.”
He then told Nash that the video that was played for jurors wasn’t real.
“All the people you saw in that movie was not correct. I don’t know where those people came from,” Moore said.
Then he announced that Box was not the same person he got into a fight with.
“That is not the individual I confronted,” Moore said.
The case will go to jurors on Wednesday morning.