After four and a half years and nearly two weeks of testimony, the jury found Dabrett Black guilty of capital murder in the murder of Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Damon Allen, whom he shot with a shotgun. on Thanksgiving Day in 2017 after being arrested. for a traffic check.
Black was sentenced to life in prison without parole and has 30 days to appeal the decision.
Prior to the reading of the final verdict at the Brazos County Courthouse in Bryan, the defense and prosecution had the opportunity to present their closing statements to the jury.
Freestone County District Attorney Brian Evans reminded the jury of several testimonies such as DPS Trooper Matthew Poole, who stopped at the scene where Allen’s body lay in a pool of blood with the name of Black on Allen’s patrol car computer; and that of Texas Ranger Jason Bobo, who discussed the evidence and the fatal gunshot that pierced Allen’s driver’s side window; and Magnolia Police Sgt. Stephen Tucker, who arrested Black in Waller County.
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“If he had another gun, he would come out shooting.
“Who is the victim in this case? Is it Dabrett Black? Absolutely not, it’s Damon Allen, it’s Kasey Allen, Damon’s mom and dad, his sister, his kids, they’re the victims of this lawsuit,” Evans said. “Wherever Dabrett Black goes, he creates victims.”
Defense attorney Suzanne Anderson asked the jury to remember that there are two sides to the story. Anderson said Black came from a poor but relatively happy family, he watched over his friends and even stayed out of trouble. He joined the army where he served three tours as a truck driver in Iraq and was in constant danger from mortars, IEDs and insurgents. During his career in the service, Black watched a friend lose his legs to an IED and suffered a head injury from a collision caused by the driver of an equipment transporter. heavy, Anderson said.
Anderson said Black suffered from PTSD, hypervigilance, traumatic brain injury and schizophrenia, which several expert witnesses testified to. After his military service ended, Anderson said Black saw more than 50 specialists over a 15-month period without any successful treatment. Black’s paranoia even made him believe he had a chip planted in his head that the government was using to keep him under constant surveillance, Anderson said. Black felt threatened when he saw Poole’s vehicle heading in his direction during the traffic stop, Anderson said.
“When Dabrett chose to fight on November 23, 2017 he was listening to his schizophrenia, he was listening to his TBI, he was listening to his PTSD and everyone telling him he had to survive and November 23, 2017 was the state out of his mind,” Anderson said.
A victim impact panel was held following Black’s sentencing, where Allen’s children shared a few words. Allen’s son told Black that he had to watch his mother cry daily and his sister had nightmares for the first year after their father’s death, but despite his “odious and unnecessary” action, he didn’t. hate him more. Allen’s daughter told Black that everything went “downhill” after her father’s death, but she doesn’t hate him anymore.
Evans said nothing will bring Allen back, but he believes the conclusion of the trial will provide a solution for everyone involved, such as law enforcement, family and the Freestone County community.
“Every case involving capital murder involves a tremendous loss for both families – the defendant or defendants as well as the family of the victim or victims,” prosecutor Lisa Tanner said. “It’s been greatly aggravated because of the military aspect of it. … I feel bad for (Black’s) family, but that doesn’t change what we need to do as a society and what we can and cannot accept as a company.
Freestone County Sheriff Jeremy Shipley said he felt a sense of relief once the verdict was read and was proud of the work of prosecutors and all law enforcement officers and agencies who helped in the case. Shipley thanked Brazos County jurors, the sheriff’s office and their deputies, jailers and courthouse staff.
“What I can’t understand are the overwhelming feelings and emotions of families right now. More than four long years later, the justice system has done its job,” Shipley said. “We let the judge do their job, let the lawyers do their job, let the jurors do what they are appointed to do. The verdict is guilty and I am proud for the family who have endured so much. »
Neither Allen’s family nor Black’s defense team chose to comment afterward.