112th District Attorney Laurie English on Tuesday discussed former Godley resident Gary David Green and his victim, Upton County Deputy Billy “Bubba” Kennedy Jr.
A Nueces County jury spent less than half an hour on June 24 before finding Green guilty of capital murder. The same jury on June 26 sentenced Green to death.
“Deputy Kennedy’s death in 2013 was a tragic loss to his family, Upton and Pecos counties and the law enforcement community,” English said. “Deputy Kennedy and I worked together in Pecos and Upton counties during my tenure as district attorney until his death. In addition to being a dedicated law enforcement officer, Bubba was a devoted father, a faithful husband, a loving son and a loyal friend.”
Every law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty leaves a void that can never be filled, English said.
“The increasing attacks on the men and women who protect us each day requires us to be ever vigilant in seeking the ultimate penalty for these tragic murders,” English said.
Evidence presented during trial showed that Green stole a pickup in Odessa on Oct. 2, 2013, drove to McCamey and later stopped for gas at Stripes convenience store. After his credit card was declined, Green remained at the fuel pumps for more than two hours in the stolen truck.
Deputies Kennedy and Thomas Stiles approached the truck on a welfare check after the store clerk relayed disturbing statements Green made while inside the store. As the deputies approached a gun battle broke out.
Three Texas Rangers who headed the crime scene investigation testified during Green’s trial.
“Ballistics evidence revealed that Green shot Deputy Kennedy with one fatal round that entered his left bicep and traveled through his heart and major organs,” English said. “Deputy Kennedy injured Green by firing all rounds in his weapon after sustaining the fatal would. Evidence showed that Green also shot at Deputy Stiles, who returned fire and eventually subdued Green by shooting him in the neck. The incident was captured on store video, which revealed that the shooting took place in one minute.”
Kennedy was declared dead at the scene.
Jurors had the option of sentencing Green to life in prison without parole or death.
Evidence entered during the punishment phase showed that Green was a convicted felon on parole when he killed Kennedy.
“Green was on parole for brutally beating his mother, which occurred in 2000 in Johnson County,” English said. “Testimony from Green’s ex wives and other witnesses revealed a history of violence against women, children, elderly and disables individuals in Johnson County over the course of Green’s adult life.”
Former law enforcement officials and other witnesses from Johnson County testified that Green made threats against law enforcement offices in 1998 and made statements that he was never going back to prison.
Prosecutors also presented evidence that Green, while awaiting trial, solicited others to manipulate potential jurors and to commit additional acts of violence.
Evidence presented by Green’s attorneys showed that Green was injured during the shootout from which he continues to suffer physical limitations. Green’s attorneys argued that he had not gotten into trouble while in jail awaiting trial.
Although the crime occurred in Upton County the venue was changed to Nueces County.
“On behalf of Deputy Kennedy’s family, Upton County and all law enforcement I extend our deepest gratitude to the Nueces County officials for their hospitality as we litigated this case,” English said. “We also express our deepest appreciation to the jury for their careful consideration and attention to the evidence presented.
“It was an honor and privilege to seek justice for Deputy Kennedy and on behalf of our law enforcement partners. All life is precious, but the murder of a peace office in the line of duty undermines our safety at the deepest levels. The jury’s verdict sends a clear message that the ultimate sacrifice made by Deputy Kennedy warrants the ultimate penalty.”