Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

March 14, 2012

Jailers testify to killer’s misconduct

Testimony in Soliz penalty phase continues


Prosecutors in the punishment phase of the capital murder trial of Mark Anthony Soliz showed three videos for jurors Monday afternoon to illustrate the convicted killer’s propensity to act out while in custody.

Jurors must decide whether to sentence Soliz to life in prison or to the death penalty.

Officials at the Johnson County Law Enforcement Center testified that Soliz was found to be in possession of contraband several times and on a few occasions was pepper sprayed, once for bumping a jailer and for failure to follow orders. 

Jurors on Friday found Soliz, 30, guilty of capital murder in connection with the June 29, 2010, shooting death of Nancy Weatherly in her Godley home.

The Fort Worth resident and Jose Ramos, 29, also of Fort Worth, were both charged with capital murder in Johnson and Tarrant counties in the same-day shooting deaths of Weatherly, 61, and Ruben Martinez, a delivery truck driver, in Fort Worth.

Jurors must weigh a few things in deciding whether to give a sentence of death, including determining whether Soliz would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society, including acts inside prison that would threaten other inmates or jail officers.

Over the objections of prosecutors, Soliz’s attorney, Michael Heiskell, attempted to enter into testimony Ramos’ misconduct in custody. District Judge Bill Bosworth allowed Heiskell to ask several questions about Ramos outside the presence of the jury but ultimately said he does not see how Ramos’ conduct relates to that of Soliz’s. Heiskell argued that jurors should be allowed to compare the conduct of both. 

Lt. David Boggess of the Johnson County Law Enforcement Center testified that inmates in administrative segregation, or solitary confinement, basically have 24 hours a day to “find ways to beat the system and hide things.”

Boggess discussed cell shakedowns and the items of contraband, including possible weapons, jailers often find.

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