Prosecutors push trial for Tyler man charged with double murder to March 2021

Crime

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Tyler man charged with capital murder for killing two people in December 2018 was in court Thursday morning.

Harvey Louis Martin allegedly confessed to shooting Krista Newman, 25, of Frankston, and Caleb McGrady, 26, of Tyler, nearly two years ago.

Smith County prosecutor Heath Chamness told 241st District Court Judge Jack Skeen that he is anticipating a March trial date for Martin. During the 20-minute hearing, he explained that DNA testing had been completed, but that it is going through a review process at the lab, which is required in capital murder cases.

Once the report is released in early October, the defense and prosecutors will be able to examine the results and determine whether further testing is needed. The defense may also wish to contact expert witnesses.

Chamness explained that a March trial date allows for the entire process to play out and gives amble time for the defense to file any new motions.

Defense attorney Zach Davis offered no objections to Chamness and Skeen said his court would work on finding an exact date for a trial in the future.

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.

Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman said at a hearing back in January that he would not seek the death penalty for Martin. Under Texas law, the only other punishment available to Martin would be life in prison without parole.

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.

Martin’s trial was scheduled to begin in August of this year, but like many things in 2020, it has been pushed back due to the coronavirus.

He has remained in the Smith County Jail since turning himself in nearly two years ago and is being held on a $1 million bond.

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