The trial of Dallas resident James Anthony Sample will likely continue through Monday or Tuesday. Defense attorneys were still presenting their case against Sample as of 11 a.m. Friday morning and anticipated playing a video interview between Sample and a Cleburne police officer, which lasts about three hours.
Sample’s attorney, Rob Ward, said he did not know if Sample will take the stand.
Sample, 32, is on trial in the 249th District court facing a murder charge in connection with the Dec. 27, 2012, shooting death of Mesquite resident Brian Poole.
Sample allegedly shot Poole twice in the forehead sometime between 1:30 and 2 a.m. in a downtown Cleburne building owned by Cleburne residents Gloria and Blain Dudley.
Cleburne police discovered Poole’s body wrapped in a sleeping bag at the scene later the same morning and arrested Sample, who was also still at the scene.
Paul Slocum, a firearms examiner for Integrated Forensic Laboratories, testified on Friday that a bullet fragment retrieved from the scene and a bullet later removed from Poole’s body matched the gun located under a chair cushion at the scene.
Slocum told Ward, however, that while he could match the bullets to the gun, he could not determine who shot the gun.
Ward on Thursday unsuccessfully moved to introduce evidence of Poole’s alleged drug use. A medical examiner testified that postmortem blood tests registered amphetamine and methamphetamine in Poole’s system.
The doctor told Ward that pinpointing the exact time Poole ingested the drugs is impossible but said it’s a safe assumption that he probably did so roughly an hour before his death.
Three eyewitnesses to the shooting testified that they did no drugs that day and that, as far as they can recall, saw none of the others present consume drugs.
Ward argued that evidence of Poole’s alleged drug use that day should be admitted into evidence to challenge the credibility of the three witnesses.
Prosecuting attorneys argued that whether Poole used drugs that day or not has no bearing on the fact he was shot and that all three witnesses identified Sample as the shooter. Prosecuting attorneys further argued that Poole was away from other members of the party that night, which may have given him opportunity to ingest drugs without their knowledge.
“Who knows what [the witnesses] really saw, or how high they were that night,” Ward said.
District Judge C.C. “Kit” Cooke denied Ward’s motion to introduce the evidence.
Blain Dudley, who testified after Cooke denied the motion, also said no drug use went on that night that he is aware of.
Dudley chose to testify despite Cooke’s warning beforehand that his testimony can be used as evidence in his pending case.
In addition to arresting Sample that day, police also arrested Blain Dudley and Joseph Alvarez, 29, of San Angelo, on charges of tampering with evidence, corpse. Police also arrested Kimberly Dudley, Blain’s sister, on charges of tampering with evidence and fraudulent use/possession of identification information.
Johnson County District Attorney Dale Hanna told Cooke that the DA’s office had made no deal in exchange for Dudley’s testimony.
Gloria Dudley, Blain’s wife, and Mia Ortiz, Poole’s girlfriend, both testified before Blain Dudley. Both said they witnessed Sample shoot Poole in the forehead twice.
Blain Dudley said he was present in the room at the time but had his back to Sample and did not see the shooting. Blain Dudley said he has “a pretty good idea” of who the shooter is since he turned around to see Sample holding the gun in his hand.
According to testimony offered by all three, Sample, Poole, Ortiz and Alvarez arrived at the downtown building where Blain and Gloria Dudley were living at the time sometime after midnight on Dec. 27.
Blain Dudley said that, a short time later, Sample told him, “One of these white boys is a snitch.”
Dudley said he has no idea what Sample was talking about. A short time later, Ortiz and Gloria Dudley testified, Sample produced a gun with a laser sight, pointed the laser at Blain Dudley’s back then pointed it at Poole’s forehead and fired twice.
The reason behind Sample’s alleged shooting remains unclear although it has been suggested that he expected to be paid for the job, was seeking some sort of initiation or feared that someone, possibly Alvarez, would shoot him if he didn’t shoot Poole.
Ortiz and Gloria Dudley fled on foot after the shooting. Blain Dudley testified that he gave Sample a sleeping bag to put Poole in. Sample, Blain Dudley said, asked for towels to clean blood up and grabbed a towel from dirty clothes in a hamper but needed more. Blain Dudley said Gloria Dudley, before she fled, handed him more towels, which he handed to Sample.
Sample and Alvarez, Blain Dudley said, placed Poole’s body in a “tub of water for his wife and daughter” in the middle of the room, which caused water to splash all over. Dudley said he does not know why they did that. Dudley said he did what Sample instructed him to do after the shooting.
At one point, Blain Dudley said, the three of them left the building. He because he was confused and Sample and Alvarez, Dudley said he assumes, to look for Ortiz and Gloria Dudley.
Blain Dudley said he then got in his truck, apparently because Sample and Alvarez wanted to borrow it. Blain Dudley said the truck wouldn’t start. It finally started but then wouldn’t go into gear. Dudley said he walked somewhere to get some brake fluid at that point. Sample and Alvarez apparently drove off in that point but it broke down near Hulen Park. Blain Dudley said he rode his bicycle to the truck and that Gloria and Kimberly Dudley called him about that time begging him not to return to the building. Blain Dudley said he returned, however, because he feared the consequences if he didn’t.
“I just wanted to tell the truth about everything and make sure it’s clear,” Blain Dudley answered when Ward asked why he chose to testify.
Blain Dudley told Ward that he does not believe his testimony in Sample’s case will help in regards to his charges.
“I don’t think everything’s going to work out for me like that,” Blain Dudley said. “I don’t see daylight at the end of the tunnel. I don’t know how I got mixed up in this. I wish I hadn’t have opened the door that night.”