Jury in North Texas capital murder trial sent home early after witness watches livestream

The jury was sent home early Tuesday after a witness for the prosecution admitted that she watched a livestream of the capital murder trial of Jerry Don Elders on Monday, after she was admonished not to.

The witness, Joshua police Detective Lee Sosebee, gave her testimony to just the judge, attorneys and those sitting in the gallery in Johnson County’s 413th District Court after the jury was sent home. She spoke about how she was out on patrol when the call came in that someone had broken through the back gate of the police station, into the parking lot, and that a body had been dumped there.

When she arrived, Sosebee saw medics attempting to save the woman, later identified as 60-year-old Robin Waddell, and saw her purse and another unidentified black object on the ground. She told the court she then spoke to witnesses and took a statement.

The detective also said she saw another officer clean the blood off the surface of the parking lot, a piece of information the defense mentioned in opening statements Monday.

Visiting Judge Lee Gabriel, who is presiding over the trial, will make a decision Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. as to whether the Sosebee is allowed to testify. Attorneys for the defense objected to her speaking because she broke the rules laid out by the judge, who asked lawyers from both sides to send any case law to her to review Tuesday night.

Elders is accused of carjacking and killing Waddell after he shot and wounded Burleson police Officer Joshua Lott in 2021. The trial could last two weeks or more. If the jury finds the defendant guilty of capital murder, he could face a death sentence or life in prison without parole.

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