Masks and plexiglass separated contestants in the western courtroom at the Grayson County Courthouse Tuesday as the state case against Timothy Barnum charged with murder in the 2017 Halloween murder of Robert Allen.
Jurors sat socially at a distance in the benches normally reserved for spectators, and the jury box was empty when Barnum’s attorney Laura Andrade announced that her client pleaded not guilty to the charges. The masks and aloof participants are part of the court’s ongoing efforts to protect all involved from COVID-19.
First Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Kerye Ashmore and Assistant District Attorney Nathan Young set out their case in opening up arguments. Ashmore said the state thinks it can prove that Barnum, who had a child with Robert Allen’s daughter, wanted Allen dead to prevent him from pressuring that daughter to testify against Barnum in pending domestic cases. violence.
“Conspiracies hatched in hell are never overheard by angels,” Ashmore told the jury when he explained that many of the witnesses he would present to them to prove his case was not within miles of the Grayson County Courthouse this week. wanted to be. He said those witnesses would be Barnum’s father and several of Barnum’s previous love interests.
Ashmore said Barnum’s father would be the key because a bullet removed from the father’s car after Barnum shot him matched the bullet casing found at Allen Plumbing in 2017 and the bullet from Robert Allen. drawn. Ashmore said it belonged to Timothy Barnum.
Furthermore, Ashmore said there was no evidence on the spot that the crime committed on Halloween night was anything other than a murder. Nothing has been taken from the company. Nothing was broken or damaged.
He said Robert Allen’s wallet was full of credit cards in his back pocket.
“He went to the door and was killed at his door,” Ashmore said of the back door of the company that was closed at the time Allen was murdered.
Ashmore said Allen feared only one person, who the prosecution said was Barnum, who was upset that Allen’s daughter had recently taken full custody of her child conceived by Barnum. He also said Barnum’s visiting rights had been taken away, but he was still ordered to pay child support.
Ashmore reminded the jury that they could find Barnum guilty by law on the murder charge even if they discovered that someone else pulled the trigger at Barnum’s request. Ashmore told jurors that that person could be Barnum’s cousin Tyrone Sommers, who is also charged with murder in the case. Ashmore said the state will prove that Sommers was in Denison on Halloween night in 2017, digging his cell phone from cell towers at Allen Plumbing, and others would testify that they saw Sommers in Denison with Barnum that night.
Barnum’s attorney, Laura Andrade, agreed that the state would provide a lot of evidence at trial. But she warned the jury to try to keep track of what all that evidence actually proved that they would hear about many things her client would have done and that they might disagree or disagree many. But the only charge he’s facing this week is the charge.
She said police investigated Allen’s death for months before coming up with a suspect, and when they settled on Barnum, they ran with it “and they won’t stop until they get him for it.”
Andrade said most of the witnesses they would hear from in the case have changed their statements over time or have reason to lie. She said she knew the jurors would feel bad for the Allen family because of Robert Allen’s death, but finding the wrong person who killed him wouldn’t take away their pain or suffering.
She said October 31, 2017 was a bad day for the Allen family and “It was the day a witch hunt started against my client. Today is the day it will end.” She also said those investigating the matter “stopped at nothing to make the story (which killed Barnum Allen) fit.”
The first witness of the day was Stacey Allen, who had been married to Robert Allen for just over 32 years, when she found him in a pool of blood in the company where he worked with his brother for most of his life.
She testified that it was her husband’s habit to stay at the place after office hours to prepare for the next day and to play poker to relax. When he hadn’t returned to their nearby home by 10 p.m., she said, she called his cell phone first, then the business phone, then his cell phone again. She got no answer to her calls, she said, got into the car and drove to the company.
Finding the back door open was troubling, she said, as they kept it locked and locked after office hours. She saw his empty shoes just inside the door. Then she saw her husband lying on the floor in blood.
He had heart problems, she said, so she wasn’t sure what had happened at first. She turned him over and saw that his face was purple.
Juros listened as prosecutors played a recording of her frantic phone call to 9-1-1 explaining that she found him in a pool of blood and that he wasn’t breathing.
She pointed to Timothy Barnum in court and told Ashmore that he was the only person her husband feared. She said their fear of Barnum had caused them to lock their doors for the first time in their lives and keep their children indoors instead of letting them play outside. She said that Barnum once took the child he had with their daughter and refused to bring the child back for a while and they feared it would happen again.
When Andrade questioned the widow, she asked if Stacey Allen had tried to collect a life insurance policy that her husband had. Stacey Allen said she did. When the attorney asked if anyone was coming to the back door of the company, Robert Allen would still know who it was without opening the door. Stacey Allen said he should have asked who it was.
Andrade asked why Robert Allen would open the door for Barnum if he was so afraid of him? Why would he open the door if he knew Barnum was waiting outside?
Stacey Allen said her husband was the kind of man who was always willing to talk to someone about their problems.
The case continued in court in the west on Tuesday afternoon under the chairmanship of Judge Jim Fallon.