Plea Deals, Jury Trials and Continuances in Judge Woodward's Court
SAN ANGELO, TX – Today in Judge Ben Woodward’s court, several defendants were present for motion hearings and to set trial dates. Here are few of the cases in which Judge Woodward presided over with interesting developments.
In the case of Michael Keene,22, who faces a second degree felony after being involved in an accident involving death in June of 2015, the judge granted the defense an additional pre-trial set for April 4th of this year. Keene allegedly struck Gisele Jarmon with his vehicle and failed to stop or return to the scene. According to court records, Keene’s jury re-trial has been reset various times over the past year and it is possible that the trial could begin after the pre-trial in April. To read more about this story, click here.
Levi Todd Turner, 26, will begin trial next Tuesday, February 21. Turner faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in January of 2015, a second degree felony, and possession of marijuana paired with delivery of a controlled substance, which are a state jail felony and first degree felony respectively. The trial is expected to last between three to four days and according to court documents his defense attorney, John Sutton will be seeking probation for his client.
In the trial against Stephano Culbreath, 47, Judge Woodward set the trial date for February 21. Culbreath is charged with murder, a first degree felony, after he allegedly caused the death of David Titus in July of 2015. During the proceedings, Culbreath’s defense attorneys, Jessica Skinner and Evan Jones, objected to the state presenting the interview conducted by the police as evidence. They contend that the police were leading their client, and in the interview, he never made an admission.
District Attorney Allison Palmer objected saying that while she respected the defense’s position, in the interview, Culbreath provides the police information of his whereabouts before and after the murder, which are important to the case. Judge Woodward decided that he would review the tape before making a ruling.
Alleged arsonist Chelsea Strube, 34, has yet to have a definite trial date. Strube was charged with a second degree felony after she allegedly started a fire with the intention to damage a vehicle by using a flammable liquid in September of 2015. Strube’s attorney stated they were not ready for trial and requested a date in April. There are currently no additional pre-trials scheduled for her case on the court records. Strube’s jury trial has been rescheduled four times since September of 2016.
Jason Cano, 34, is set to begin trial this month after allegedly committing an offense in March of 2015. Cano is charged with a third degree felony for deadly conduct in discharging a firearm, after firing his weapon at a vehicle and building without any regards to people occupying that space. His trial is set is set to begin on February 21, and, according to court documents, nine subpoenas were served in preparation of the trial. According to both parties, two days should be sufficient for the trial.
The jury trial for William Avila, 70, has been reset for the second time since July of 2016. Avila is currently charged with four counts of aggravated sexual assault against a child, a first degree felony, and three counts of indecency with a child through sexual contact, a second degree felony. According to court documents, there are medical reports that are not yet available and the defense attorney, Rae Leifeste, has another case that must go to trial. The trial has been postponed until March. Avila allegedly committed these felonies in December of 2015.
In another case, a plea hearing was set after David Salas, 20, agreed to take a plea deal instead of facing a jury. Salas was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second degree felony, and with evading arrest after fleeing in a vehicle. The incident occurred in March of 2016. Salas will plead guilty before the court on February 21, for which the court has set aside half a day for the proceedings.
Virgil Chapman Jr., 26, who is charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second degree felony, was present at his pre-trial, which included a motion to revoke his probation. According to court records, Chapman received deferred adjudication by Judge Jay Weatherby in July of 2016. He was sentenced to probation for six years with the Concho Valley Community Supervision and Corrections Department and a fine of $5,000. Chapman will have another pre-trial to address the issue on March 1, 2017.
Oscar Nino Jr., 35, stood before the court today as Judge Woodward moved his next pre-trial to March 7, 2017. This is after Nino substituted his previous council and Shawntell Mckillop was detained for his defense. Nino is charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second degree felony, in May of 2016. Court records indicate that his jury trial could begin in the weeks after the pre-trial.
Gustavo Sorola, 28, who was indicted with one count of aggravated robbery, a first degree felony, has agreed to a plea deal. According to court records, he was charged for a crime committed on August 28 of 2016. Sorola will come before the court on Tuesday February 21.