Jury Trial Begins Monday in Brutal, Gruesome Tom Green County Capital Murder

SAN ANGELO, TX  – Jury selection for the oldest Capital Murder case on the Tom Green County district court docket began on Friday.

According to court documents, on Dec. 3, attorneys for both the Tom Green County District Attorney's Office and attorneys representing Stephen Jennings, 38, began picking jurors for the capital murder trial that will begin on Monday.

Jennings was originally booking into the jail on Jul. 27, 2017 after an arrest warrant was issued alleging that Jennings murdered 41-year-old Eric Torrez. 

As previously reported, Torrez's body was found by Tom Green County Sheriff Nick Hanna who was then a Texas Ranger in Crockett County after Tom Green County Sheriff's Office issued a missing persons report. After finding the body, a phone ping location for Torrez was located at 7481 Duckworth Rd, the home of Jennings.

Five total people were arrested for the crime; Stephen Jennings, Jennings' father Garry Jennings, Jennings' wife Kristen Dean Jennings, David Navarro, and Angella Wray.

Details later released described the murder as very brutal. Torrez was allegedly lured from Abilene to the home on Duckworth, beaten for days, and then shot in the head.

Jennings' attorney has requested that if he is found guilty that Judge Weatherby assess punishment instead of the jury. For Capital Murder in Texas the sentence is either life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

As for the others involved, on Nov. 18 Wray was given 10 years deferred adjudication for engaging in organized criminal activity. Garry Jennings has not had a court hearing since Mar. 2021 due to a DNA battle between defense attorneys and the DA's office. The last time Navarro saw the courthouse was on May 18. During the hearing the DA's office waived their intention to seek the death penalty. That means if Navarro is convicted he will get life in prison.

The last member of the team, Kristen Dean Jennings, will only be spending 30 years in prison. This is because Kristen and the DA's office agreed to a "Use Immunity and Plea Bargain Agreement." In the agreement, Dean will get 30 years for the murder in exchange for testifying against the rest of the defendants. 

The jury trial will begin Monday at 9 a.m. 

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