Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Jury Selection Underway in Houston for Murder of Texas A & M Student


Many of my readers in Texas, as well as around the country, will be familiar with the horrific murder of Texas A & M student Tynesha Stewart. The crime made national headline news when it happened in the spring of last year, with the ensuing investigation receiving a great deal of criticism from community and legal activists. Another chapter in this drama is set to unfold here in Houston this week. Ms. Stewart's former boyfriend, Timothy Wayne Shepherd, was charged in her death in 2007 and jury selection for his trial got underway yesterday in a Harris County courtroom. The major hurdle facing prosecutors ... there is no body to present as evidence that a murder occurred.

Shepherd has confessed to strangling Stewart after learning that she had started a new relationship. Then, after first leading police to a commercial trash bin in their search for Stewart's remains, he later admitted to dismembering the body and burning it over two barbeque pits at his apartment. While thirty pieces of charred bone and hair have been found, there was no viable DNA available. And, the confession itself may be thrown out of court as Shepherd may have shared the information during questioning that occurred after he had requested an attorney. Assistant District Attorney Marie Primm may need to prove guilt without the evidence and admission of guilt that certainly would make her case more compelling.

For his part, defense attorney Chip Lewis is looking for jurors who can separate her murder from the subsequent treatment of her body. As he states, "The details are the details, we can't change them, but the details are irrelevant as to whether Tim Shepherd is guilty of murder." In other words, those deciding Shepherd's fate on the murder charge cannot be swayed by the disgusting acts that followed.

With a murder trial, both sides must have the most experienced and aggressive legal team possible. If you have been accused of even this most serious of crimes, Bertolino LLP has attorneys in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio ready to help you. Please contact us today to discuss the details of your case.

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