GALVESTON – The Houston man recently convicted of killing a woman at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont last year was sentenced to death Tuesday.
Jurors elected to give Bartholomew Granger the death penalty for the March 14, 2012, murder of Deweyville resident Minnie Ray Sebolt, exactly a week after finding the former truck driver guilty of capital murder.
The punishment caps a six-week trial that had been moved to Galveston to prevent jury members from walking through the scene of the rampage to get to the courtroom.
Granger also shot and wounded his daughter, Samantha Jackson, and her mother, Claudia Jackson, prior to taking employees at a nearby business hostage.
He was on trial for sexual assault of a child at the time of the shootings.
Claudia and Samantha Jackson had testified against him the day before and were returning to the courthouse when he went to his car and retrieved a gun.
Granger insisted that he meant to shoot Samantha and her mother, but not Sebolt, and it was Beaumont police that may have killed the 79-year-old woman.
Jefferson County District Court Judge Bob Wortham instructed the jury of three men and nine women to consider two special issues: 1.) If Granger will commit criminal acts that pose a threat to society beyond reasonable doubt, and 2.) If life imprisonment is applicable based on his background, character and other aspects of his life.
James Makin and Sonny Cribbs, Granger's defense attorneys, used their opportunity to present opening statements to plead for the 42-year-old shooter's life while lead prosecutors Ed Shettle and Pat Knauth re-emphasized the need to mete out a death sentence.
Judge Wortham ordered the bailiffs to remove Granger after he held up a legal pad with "DEATH" scrawled it on for the jury to see while Shettle spoke.
The pad was entered as evidence.
Deliberations took nearly two hours before the jury returned before 1 p.m. with a unanimous "yes" response to the first inquiry and a unanimous "no" to the second, which are required for the death penalty.
Upon learning his fate, Granger went on another expletive-laden tirade and was then restrained and gagged prior to Sebolt's daughter presenting her victim impact statement.
Deborah Ray Holst condemned Granger for taking "a part of everyone and the (Deweyville) community when you took her away."
"You will never feel the pain we feel," an angry Holst said.
"You do not care. You are an evil non-human."
Holst added that she was glad Granger received the death sentence, acknowledging the verdict was also for the women he injured.
Holst stated that it gave her and her family some closure.
She plans to honor her mother's memory by continuing her work as a professional and a volunteer.
Makin and Cribbs expressed disappointment in the jury's decision, but felt their client was afforded a fair trial in Galveston County and are glad "it is over."
Shettle, who was out of town when Granger opened fire on the courthouse, called the proceedings "the longest 5 1/2 weeks" in his career, but is grateful toward the county "for helping us deal with this problem."
He said the verdict will help those who witnessed the shootings a little though it is possible they will never get over the incident.
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