TYLER, Texas (KETK) — The resentencing trial of James Fulton entered its second week on Monday, where Fulton himself took to the stand to testify on his own behalf.

Fulton was convicted of criminally negligent homicide in a crash that killed Haile Beasley, of Tyler in 2016. He is now undergoing re-sentencing after his original 10-year sentence was overturned due to ineffective council.

Now, with a new jury determining how long Fulton’s new sentence will be, he took to the stand in his own defense on Monday morning, offering up a tearful apology to Beasley’s family. His father also took to the stand in his son’s defense, describing him as “a good man.”

Smith County prosecutors focused on the fact that one day, Fulton will be able to go home, while Haile will never be able to.

Closing arguments are expected to be held on Tuesday morning. Fulton faces up to 10 years in prison.

Editor’s Note: Below is a live blog of court proceedings in the 241st District Court. Judge Jack Skeen is presiding over the case. A review of the case can be found below.

12:07 p.m.

11:57 a.m.

ADA Gatewood asks Marshall if he has reviewed this case or Fulton’s file from TDCJ.

Marshall says he has not. He knows the basics about Fulton’s past. Also says he focused on lack of criminal history, family stability, and being told he had no problems out on bond.

Gatewood: Do you plan on offering testimony that Mr. Fulton should get probation?

Marshall: Possibly

11:53 a.m.

“He would be very minimal risk to re-offend or recidivate,” Marshall says about Fulton.

Questioning of him passed to prosecution.

11:51 a.m.

Marshall testifies that Fulton would have several “pro-social” influences if out of jail (i.e. stable income, network of strong family/friend ties).

11:45 a.m.

The defense has called Steven Marshall, outside the presence of the jury. He worked in the California corrections and parole system for nearly 28 years.

Now works as a consultant for how electronic monitoring can assist parole units around the US

11:28 a.m.

11:24 a.m.

Questioning of Daniel passed to ADA Chris Gatewood.

Daniel describes Fulton as a “peaceful” man and he has “never known him to lie to me.”

11:21 a.m.

Daniel went to the scene after Fulton’s wife noticed on a location-sharing app that Fulton had not moved in several minutes.

He said Fulton was “shaken” while in the back of a squad car.

11:13 a.m.

10:50 a.m.

The prosecution focused on when Fulton mentioned seeing a deer during questioning.

Fulton’s testimony is over and we are in a 15-minute recess.

10:47 a.m.

Hodges goes back to the deposition where Fulton marked a spot on a map where he thought he saw a deer. Points out that in the deposition it was meant to be a general vicinity, not an exact location.

Hodges: Would you ever drink again on the same day you know you’re going to drive?

Fulton: I don’t know that I’ll ever drink again.

Questioning passed back to the prosecution.

10:35 a.m.

10:32 a.m.

Chamness spent a little more than 20 minutes on the four seconds before the crash. Now moving on to Fulton’s time in prison before this retrial for the sentencing phase.

10:29 a.m.

Chamness hammers that Fulton did not take evasive action until less than half a second before impact with Beasley’s car.

10:19 a.m.

Chamness presses that a picture of the truck appears to show it drifting out of the lane before it was physically possible to see an animal where Fulton marked on a map.

Fulton denies it saying he only gave a rough general vicinity.

10:12 a.m.

10:07 a.m.

Chamness pressing Fulton on whether a phone call with his wife was what actually distracted him, rather than an animal. Fulton denies being on the phone.

9:58 a.m.

9:53 a.m.

Defense questions Fulton about the difficulty his children faced after he was convicted of criminally negligent homicide.

He had three sons and a daughter, who is also named Hailey.

9:45 a.m.

Fulton says that he didn’t go to Beasley’s funeral but he watched it online. He said if he was in her family’s shoes, he wouldn’t want him there either.

9:38 a.m.

Fulton says he believed a deer was off to the side of the road and it distracted him. He said he does not remember taking any evasive action to avoid Beasley’s car and had no indication he was about to hit her.

9:35 a.m.

9:15 a.m.

Fulton is going through his life background, including when he briefly taught in the Tyler area and what made him leave the profession for a job in the oil and gas industry.

9:00 a.m.

Judge Jack Skeen calls the court to order. The first witness brought to the stand on Monday is James Fulton himself.



TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The resentencing trial for a Central Texas man in Tyler for a fatal wreck on Grande Blvd. back in 2016 has entered it’s second calendar week.

46-year-old James Fulton was convicted of criminally negligent homicide for a crash that killed 21-year-old Haile Beasley in 2016 and had been sentenced to 10 years in prison, the maximum punishment allowed by Texas law.

Two years later, an appeals court ruled that Fulton received ineffective counsel when his lawyers chose not to present evidence that would have contradicted the testimony of a local waitress. They ordered that the conviction would stay in place, but that Fulton would receive a new sentencing trial. He has been out on bond since August 2019.

In an interview with KETK News in 2019, Beasley’s family talked about the pain that was still with them.

“He just gets to walk out and go back to his family, and he gets to travel to see his kids play baseball or football or whatever, and he gets to live life and I get to go to the cemetery and visit my child.”


Fulton and Beasley’s cars collided head-on, killing Beasley but leaving Fulton uninjured. The wreck happened on a sharp curve between Hollytree Drive and Old Jacksonville Highway.

At the crash site, police did not give Fulton a breathalyzer after he refused, but did administer several sobriety tests. He was allowed to leave the scene when it was determined he was not intoxicated.

Beasley’s mother, Jennifer Whittmore, stressed her worry that people think there has to be proof that Fulton was drunk to make him guilty. She says he was charged with criminally negligent homicide, not driving while intoxicated. She tells us she believes the proof of his guilt centers on his negligence that night while driving, which is what he was ultimately charged with.

“Nothing will bring her back, and nothing does, ever and I’m fully aware, but having the punishment fit what he did, does bring a lot of comfort,” said Whittmore.