A verdict was expected late Monday in the capital murder trial of Martez Vrana, but things took a turn when Vrana wanted to testify.
Testimony in the case against the 22-year-old ended on Friday and lawyers were ready to make their closing arguments when Vrana’s attorney John Stickles said his client wanted to speak.
After:Wife and sister are final witnesses in Martez Vrana murder trial
Questioned by his lawyer, Vrana recounted what happened the night Jason Baum was murdered, June 11, 2020.
Vrana said he was in his apartment with friends who decided to steal marijuana.
He described going to an address on Meadow Lake Drive where he and his companions, Dimonique McKinney, Sammy Worthy and Antwan Williams, waited for someone to arrive.
Vrana said he waited in his car while his three companions got out.
He said he was listening to music when he heard what sounded like three gunshots, his companions came back to the car and were out of breath and drove off.
Vrana said he took them to a house in Bailey Street, east of town, and then returned home.
When Vrana was questioned by the Chief Crime Prosecutor, Dobie Kosub, he admitted that when questioned by the police, he lied because he was afraid.
Vrana’s girlfriend (now wife) Nerrisa Sullivan, testified Friday that Vrana asked her to move some things from their house.
Kosub asked Vrana if he had done that, and he said “yes” because he didn’t want the police to search the house with children.
Kosub asked if it was true that Vrana didn’t want his shoes discovered because he didn’t want his footprints identified at the scene.
Vrana denied this.
Kosub also asked about a Snapchat photo in which Vrana posed with a girl, money and a gun.
Vrana denied posting the photo.
He admitted to intending to rob victims at gunpoint in an incident unrelated to Baum’s murder.
Kosub questioned Vrana about an incident where he and his companions planned to rob participants of a dice game.
Kosub asked Vrana to read text messages between him and McKinney in which they described plans to commit the robbery during the dice game.
Vrana admitted that they had planned to do so, but did not follow through. He added, through, that they went to the scene armed with the intent to kill if necessary.
Kosub also attempted to link Vrana to the Crips gang during text testimony.
Vrana denied being part of a gang.
Vrana maintained during the trial that he had no part in the shooting of Baum.
The trial continued until the end of the day on Monday and was scheduled to continue until the middle of the week.