Day 3: Witnesses Take the Stand to Detail How Jacob Martinez Lost His Life

SAN ANGELO – The wrongful death jury trial of Clayton Dunn continued Wednesday with multiple police officers and other witnesses of the alleged crime taking the stand.

Dunn, who is accused of killing 33-year-old Jacob Martinez by running over him with his truck while Martinez was riding his bicycle, sat in the court room with a hair cut, fresh shave, and black button up shirt and listened to each of the witnesses. The morning session consisted of four San Angelo Police Officers and one man who witnessed the truck drive off from the scene.

The first to take the stand was Dustin Hanna. At the time, Hanna lived in San Angelo at the Rosewood Park Apartments just blocks away from the crash scene. During that night, the day before Thanksgiving in 2019, Hanna had been walking his English Bulldog Dewy. Hanna had heard a dragging noise from a truck that was coming up the road. 

At first Hanna believed that the truck was pulling tree limbs, but then learned that it was actually a bicycle. Hanna said that the truck hit a bump which caused the bike to come detached from the truck. Hanna could not confirm that Dunn was driving the truck but that the truck in question was similar to the one that Dunn drove.

The next three to take the stand were detective Marcus Rodriguez, 20 year vet with the SAPD, Barry Ratcliff, sergeant of the SAPD motor's unit Cade Solsbery, and detective Kenneth Dye. They described what happened from their perspective.

It started with Officer Rodriguez, who was one of the initial responding officers. He told the jury that when he arrived paramedics were already attending to Martinez. He said that he interviewed the man who lived at the house where the crash took place. However, following the interview with him, the man began grabbing evidence and bringing it to officers. This was a point the defense attempted to use. This wasn't the only pieces of evidence defense attorneys say that were tampered with either.

The bicycle, which was dragged blocks down the road, was brought back to the original crime scene by an unknown person. This completely ruined any chance of a reenactment on the scene.

Patrol officer Ratcliff told the jury that he was only involved the day after process. At the time the SAPD had sent out a public notice asking citizens to be on the lookout for the suspected vehicle. The next day police were tipped that the truck was parked in front of a house on the 1000 block of Howard. 

 When police arrived they found Dunn asleep in the back of his truck. Ratcliff's testimony ended with him telling the jury that when asked about the damages, Dunn told him that he ran a property for two lesbians that allegedly tore the truck up. During Solsbery's testimony, he told the jury how they matched the truck to the accident.

During the accident the truck not only hit the bicyclist but a mail box too. Pieces of plastic, including one long piece, matched the broken mirror on the truck. The long piece was almost the entire bottom of the mirror casing.

Attorneys from both sides are expected to present all of the evidence by the end of the day Wednesday. The trial is expected to conclude by Thursday afternoon.

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