GALVESTON - Jurors in the Bartholomew Granger capital murder trial delivered a guilty verdict Tuesday against the 42-year-old Houston man charged with the Jefferson County Courthouse shootings that killed one and injured three others.
Granger was accused of shooting his daughter, Samantha Jackson, and her mother, Claudia Jackson, during a recess from Granger’s sexual assault trial where the two women had testified against him.
He opened fire outside the Beaumont courthouse on March 14, 2012, fatally hitting 79-year-old Deweyville resident Minnie Ray Sebolt, an innocent bystander who was entering the front doors of the courthouse.
He was also accused of running over Samantha Jackson after shooting her, then fleeing to a nearby business and taking hostages.
The venue for the trial was moved to Galveston County, because jurors would walk through the crime scene every time they entered the courthouse for trial. Jefferson County Judge Bob Wortham presided over proceedings.
After listening to about an hour of closing arguments, the jury of three men and nine women deliberated for nearly two hours before reaching the unanimous vote required for the verdict.
Sebolt's daughter, Deborah Ray Holst, smiled broadly as the foreman read the verdict from the stand and confirmed each of her fellow jurors' individual verdicts. Vicky Hollingsworth, the woman who had accompanied Sebolt to the courthouse and was the last to see her alive, shed tears.
When presiding Judge Wortham adjourned the trial for the day before beginning the punishment phase, Holst expressed her approval of the jury's decision by hugging Jefferson County Chief Assistant District Attorney Ed Shettle.
"Tremendous," she said exiting the courtroom with her son and Hollingsworth. "This is the best feeling I have had in over a year."
Holst, who has been present at the trial since it began April 2, added the verdict was what she and her loved ones prayed for and stressed that Granger is "an arrogant SOB," deserving of the death penalty.
She thanked the jury, prosecutors and Jefferson County as a whole.
"Mom, you are avenged," Holst said.
Officials state the punishment phase could last the rest of this week and into part of next week. The jury will decide whether Granger should receive the death penalty or an automatic life sentence.