Brownwood deadly hit-and-run suspect waives right to jury trial
BROWNWOOD, Texas - A man accused of driving drunk and killing an 8-year-old Brownwood boy waived his right to a jury trial.
Samuel Juarez Jr., 35, appeared in the 35th Judicial District Court Thursday to file the motion. He told Judge Steve Ellis that he's a military veteran who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"He is a veteran that has served overseas," his lawyer Lynn Ingalsbe said outside the Brown County Courthouse. "He's been diagnosed by a VA doctor with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and has been taking medication for that."
Juarez will go on trial Oct. 17 for murder. He's accused of killing Daylan Franklin while driving drunk, according to court documents.
The incident happened Dec. 17, 2016 on the 1600 block of 6th Street in Brownwood. Police said Juarez fled the scene of the accident but was arrested within minutes.
Juarez admitted to police after his arrest that he drank a six pack of Bud Ice beer right before he drove, according to documents.
Ingalsbe said his client is not guilty of murder.
"He may be guilty of some lesser offense," Ingalsbe said.
He said Juarez attempted to use alcohol to self-medicate from his PTSD.
"It's just a horrible situation. There's no winner in this, everyone's a loser. We're just trying to mitigate the damage as much as possible," Ingalsbe said.
KTXS previously reported that Juarez participated in Brown County Attorney Shane Britton's donation program. That program, which ended in 2015, allowed defendants in misdemeanor cases to make a donation to Britton's officer for a lesser charge - or even a possible dismissal.
The practice prompted the Brown County Sheriff's Office, Texas Rangers, and U.S. Attorney's Office in Lubbock to investigate Britton for corruption and bribery.