Samuel Juarez Jr. guilty of manslaughter in death of Brownwood boy
BROWNWOOD, Texas - UPDATE: District Court Judge Steve Ellis found 35-year-old Samuel Juarez Jr. guilty of manslaughter with a deadly weapon Wednesday for the drunk-driving death of an 8-year-old Brownwood boy last December.
Juarez was indicted for murder, but Ellis said prosecutors hadn't presented enough evidence to convict of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.
The sentencing phase for Juarez's trial will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
SKETCH ART OF DAY 2 OF JUAREZ'S TRIAL --}} http://www.ktxs.com/photos/photos-sketch-art-of-day-2-of- brownwood -hit-and-run-suspects-murder-trial/640558573
A Brownwood man on trial for murder was driving his vehicle more than three times over the legal limit for alcohol when he hit and killed an 8-year-old boy, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Samuel Juarez Jr., 35, is on trial at the 35th Judicial District Court.
Juarez is accused of driving drunk on Dec. 17, 2016, when he hit Daylan Franklin and then left the scene of the accident.
District Attorney Micheal Murray also said a witness saw Juarez on his cell phone a few seconds before the deadly crash.
Juarez waived his right to a jury trial. His lawyer said his client isn't guilty of murder but of a lesser offense like manslaughter.
Franklin was pronounced dead at Brownwood Regional Medical Center soon after the crash.
Dr. Scott Morris testified in court Wednesday that Franklin never showed signs of coming back to life at the hospital.
Dr. Morris spent 41 minutes working on Franklin inside the emergency room. He said he believes the crash killed the 8-year-old boy.
Dr. Dan Locke, who also testified Wednesday, said the boy suffered "severe brain injuries" as a result of hitting the concrete pavement.
According to testimony by Department of Public Safety Trooper Clinton Hounshell, Franklin's body landed approximately 60 feet away from where he was struck.
Hounshell said Juarez first hit Franklin and then applied the brakes. He said Juarez was traveling at 31 mph.
Juarez's attorney Lynn Ingelsbe challenged the trooper's recreation of events leading up to the crash.
Ingelsbe said Juarez couldn't see Franklin because the boy jumped out in front of his car.
He also said law enforcement's recreation of the crash relies heavily on assumptions because no one saw the accident happen.
Juarez is a military veteran diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to his lawyer.