Jonathan Crews was possible killed by his ex-girlfriend, Brenda Kelly, a Dallas County jury determined in a civil trial Friday.
“I really feel like my son has been vindicated,” Pam Crews mentioned. “That is all he wished.”
Crews’ household appealed to Dallas County civil courts in 2016, two years after a police investigation into Coppell did not conclude whether or not Crews’ dying on February 2, 2014, was a murder or the results of a gunshot wound. self-inflicted bullet. The Dallas County Medical Examiner was additionally unable to find out the reason for dying.
Kelly, whose maiden identify is Lazarus, referred to as 911 round 11:30 p.m. and mentioned Crews, 27, killed himself to indicate his love for her. She has by no means been charged with against the law associated to her dying.
Thomas Shaw, the Crews’ household legal professional, requested the jury to award the household greater than $129 million. The jury selected $206 million, the Crews’ attorneys mentioned.
“You might have a possibility to appraise the diamonds in your life,” Shaw mentioned. “Jonathan’s life was valuable to his household, and this woman took it away from them.”
Pam Crews testified through the three-day trial that she wished the story of her son’s dying to be a real story. The jury’s verdict set the file straight, she mentioned.
“I simply wished to set the file straight for Jonathan,” he mentioned. “I’m happy.”
The six-person jury deliberated for round two and a half hours earlier than reaching a unanimous verdict. In civil instances, solely 5 jurors’ votes are wanted to achieve a verdict.
Kelly, who leaned in opposition to her husband’s chest throughout breaks within the trial, regarded forward as the decision was learn. A member of her authorized staff put an arm round her. Kelly did not look towards the Crews household as they hugged one another and wept silently.
Kelly didn’t converse to reporters as she left the courtroom. She maintains that she didn’t kill Crews, her legal professional Andrew Jee mentioned. They haven’t determined whether or not to enchantment the decision, she added.
“Nicely, we have now heard the jury’s verdict, and Brenda maintains her innocence as she has from the start,” Jee mentioned. “It’s important for individuals to comprehend that the usual of proof and the quantity of proof wanted in civil court docket could be very low. However we respect the jury’s choice.”
Plaintiffs in a civil trial have a a lot decrease burden of proof than prosecutors should meet in a legal trial. Jurors needed to decide that there was a higher than 50 p.c probability that Kelly killed Crews, or “extra possible than not.”
In a legal case, jurors should discover past an affordable doubt to convict.
The Crews’ lawsuit accused Kelly of killing Crews and fabricating a narrative that he killed himself. They pointed to inconsistent statements Kelly’s buddies mentioned she informed them. A pal mentioned Kelly informed him that Crews shot himself within the head. One other pal mentioned that Kelly informed him that she shot herself within the chest.
Darrell Robertson, a retired Houston police detective, testified on behalf of the Crews household, saying Crews would have needed to contort his physique to inflict the wound on the left aspect of his chest. Including to his concept, Crews had seen a health care provider two days earlier for a proper shoulder pressure. Robertson mentioned it “defies frequent sense” that Crews would have pushed via the ache in his shoulder to place the barrel of the gun the place he was shot.
Robertson additionally pointed to gunshot residue discovered on Kelly’s palms, backs of fingers and sweater. Fewer gunshot residue particles had been present in Crews, Robertson mentioned.
However Jee famous that crime scene investigators solely examined the backs of Crews’ fingers. They didn’t take a look at his palms or the garments he was sporting, in response to a Coppell police report submitted into proof.
“It is a bit deceptive to say that they discovered extra on her than on him after they did not look at him,” Jee mentioned.
Jee prompt that Kelly obtained gunshot residue when he tried to cowl the gunshot wound to cease the bleeding.
A neighbor mentioned she heard a gunshot about half-hour earlier than Kelly knocked on her door asking for instructions to the condo complicated. A 911 operator directed Kelly to seek out the handle of a neighbor’s condo complicated as a result of she could not inform them the place she was. Crews had moved into the condo shortly earlier than her dying.
Shaw, the Crews’ legal professional, prompt that she intentionally delayed in search of assist.
Shaw argued that Kelly was very jealous of the ladies Crews communicated with. She was particularly offended with Crews’s good pal, Emily Ramsey, after she noticed them hug at a cocktail party two months earlier than her dying. Ramsey was relationship Crews’ outdated pal Jacob Ramsey, and Crews introduced Kelly to dinner to satisfy them.
Textual content messages between Crews and his sister confirmed that he was contemplating breaking apart with Kelly the night time he was shot.
Ramsey acquired a textual content message from Crews shortly earlier than 11 p.m. saying, “I wish to die.” Ramsey mentioned that he believes Kelly despatched the message.
“She was telling Emily, ‘If I can not have it, you possibly can’t have it,’” Shaw informed the jury in closing statements.
Jurors spoke with Shaw and John Crews afterwards. They mentioned they hoped the decision would assist the Crews household “recover from the hump.”
“That might be nice,” mentioned John Crews.
CORRECTION, 10:30pm, September 23, 2022 – An earlier model of this text incorrectly said the quantity a jury awarded to the Crews household. The entire quantity is $206 million.