Man sentenced to death in Texas courthouse killing

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 7, 2013 at 7:05 pm •  Published: May 7, 2013

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — After disrupting his capital murder trial several times with profanity-filled outbursts, a Texas man erupted in one final chaotic fit when a jury sentenced him to death on Tuesday for killing a bystander while trying to shoot his daughter outside a courthouse.

Bartholomew Granger's courtroom rants against his daughter, prosecutors and the judge had intensified since he was convicted last week of capital murder in the death of 79-year-old Minnie Ray Sebolt, who was walking outside the courthouse in Beaumont when she was shot in March 2012.

Granger, 42, showed no remorse as he admitted opening fire on his daughter and running her over with his truck because she had testified against him in a sexual assault case, but he insisted he didn't kill Sebolt. His daughter and her mother were among three women wounded in the attack.

Even as his attorneys worked to convince the jury to sentence him to life in prison without parole, Granger instead focused on denying the sexual assault allegation, angrily insisting he was not a child molester and denigrating his daughter.

Those outbursts got him thrown out of court, and they culminated Tuesday as Sebolt's daughter began reading a statement after the jury announced its sentence following less than two hours of deliberations.

As Deborah Ray Holst stood in front on him and began reading her statement, Granger shouted, "I didn't kill your mother!" and that he didn't want to hear her statement. Holst then asked Judge Bob Wortham if Granger could be shocked.

"Tase me. Inject me with poison," Granger said.

"I would love to do it myself," Holst responded.

He was removed from the courtroom but returned minutes later with what officials later said was a spit mask — made of cloth and nylon, and used to stop inmates from spitting on guards — covering his mouth.

But he continued to interrupt Holst. At one point a bailiff put his hands over Granger's mouth in an effort to quiet him, but he became increasingly agitated. At least seven bailiffs and deputies were needed to subdue him as Holst finished her statement, saying her mother was a caring person who always had a smile on her face and calling Granger "an evil, evil non-human."

After Holst finished, Wortham told Granger, "I think you removed any doubt from the jury's mind about the correctness of their verdict."

Earlier Tuesday, Granger interrupted prosecutors during their closing arguments in the trial's punishment phase by laughing and saying he wasn't a child molester. Wortham warned Granger about not talking. When Granger held up in the direction of jurors a yellow legal pad with the word "DEATH" drawn on it, Wortham had Granger removed from court for the rest of the closing arguments.

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