ROBERT LEE, TX — Defense attorneys for a Robert Lee woman accused of murdering her husband want District Attorney Allison Palmer disqualified from prosecuting the case.
During the final pretrial hearing in the Coke County Courthouse in Robert Lee Tuesday, attorney Frank Sellers of Fort Worth made a motion to disqualify Palmer because he intends to call her as a material witness.
Jasmine Nichole Moreno, 28, was arrested in June 2018 in the 800 block of Euel St. in Robert Lee and was charged with murder after she allegedly shot and killed her husband Cisco Ray Moreno, 30.
Court documents state, “Coke County Deputy Terry Crenshaw responded to the residence and discovered the body of Cisco Ray Moreno in the kitchen of the residence. In his initial investigation at the scene, Deputy Crenshaw contacted Jasmine Moreno, the defendant, who had advised him that she had used a handgun and shot her husband.”
Two individuals were in the residence when the shooting occurred but neither were in the kitchen where the murder took place. The witnesses stated that they saw Jasmine Moreno “in the kitchen pointing a firearm at the body of Cisco Moreno immediately following the sound of gunshots from the kitchen.”
Jasmine later that day signed a “written confession detailing the manner in which she shot Cisco Moreno more than once in the kitchen of the residence utilizing a single action revolver.” The document stated Jasmine “recalled having to cock the hammer of the pistol back for each successive shot.”
An autopsy was conducted at the Southwest Forensic Institute in Lubbock. The cause of death was identified as multiple gunshot wounds, and the manner of death appeared to be homicide.
In the wide ranging two-hour hearing, Sellers filed a flurry of motions preparing for the trial. Most of the motions dealt with how the trial will be conducted. District Judge Carmen Dusek listened intently in the courtroom on the second floor of the Coke County courthouse ruling on each motion.
Assistant District Attorney Jason Ferguson detailed the state's stance on each motion filed.
Sellers filed a motion for a continuance to postpone the trial. Judge Dusek said she would consider that motion but wanted to keep the jury trial set for July 29 until all parties could meet July 8 or 9 to rule on last minute filings.
Among the motions granted by the court were that Moreno is eligible for probation and the jury will assess punishment. The defendant in a felony jury trial can select either the judge or the jury to assess punishment. Since Robert Lee is a small town, Judge Dusek said everyone knows everyone so she has called for a jury pool of 225 people. She explained to the attorneys that she chose that number because that's all that will fit in the court room.
Moreno has pleaded not guilty to the first degree murder charge. Ferguson said the state has not offered a plea deal.
One of the most contentious issues was a questionnaire for potential jurors. Sellers wanted to ask potential jurors, "have you formed an opinion about whether Jasmine Moreno is guilty of murder?"
Judge Dusek denied allowing that question on the juror questionnaire.
Moreno is charged with first degree felony murder which is punishable by 5 to 99 years or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.