Prosecutors finished with DNA testing in Tyler capital murder case, plea deadline one month away


TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Smith County prosecutors announced in court Wednesday morning that they have finished DNA testing in a capital murder case that stretches back just over two years.

Harvey Louis Martin is accused of killing Krista Newman, 25, of Frankston, and Caleb McGrady, 26, of Tyler. He allegedly confessed to local police after he was arrested.

During a brief 10-minute hearing on Wednesday, Smith County prosecutor Heath Chamness told 241st District Court Judge Jack Skeen that they had completed their DNA testing through labs in Dallas and were ready to proceed in the case.

Defense attorney Zach Davis said that he is reviewing the reports and will see if he intends to file any additional motions.

The plea agreement deadline to avoid a trial in March is set for February 17. District Attorney Jacob Putman has already said that he would not pursue the death penalty in Martin’s case, meaning under Texas law if he convicted of capital murder in a trial, the only sentencing option would be life without parole.

According to a warrant, Martin shot Newman and McGrady while they were leaving a house party in the 2300 block of Ridgewood Drive, just off the east side of Loop 323.

Two people who were with Newman and McGrady saw Martin’s truck drive away from the scene. Martin then drove himself to the Tyler Police Department, turned himself in, and told officers that the gun used was in his truck.

Last year, an exam was given to Martin to determine if he was competent to stand trial. A psychologist questioned him and found that he was fit.

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