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Dabrett Black, killer of state trooper Damon Allen, sentenced to life

Posted at 6:53 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 19:53:05-05

BRYAN, Texas — Gasps of relief emanated through the second-floor courtroom as the loved ones of Trooper Damon Allen heard the word they’d waited more than four years for: “Guilty.”

A Brazos County jury found Dabrett Black guilty of capital murder, just two hours after entering deliberations late Thursday morning. Presiding Judge Pat Simmons sentenced Black to spend the rest of his life in prison, with no chance of parole.

Family members of Trooper Allen lined the rows of seats in the courtroom, flanked by Texas state troopers in uniform. Four years and four months they’d had time to reflect on the loss of Allen, who was shot in the head by Black during a 2017 traffic stop in Freestone County. Two of Allen’s children gave victim impact statements, addressing their father’s killer.

“I'm not angry at you, despite that what you did was heinous and unnecessary,” said son Cameron Allen.

Cameron wept as he spoke of how his mother cried every night, and how his sister has experienced nightmares for years.

“You deserve what you get, and may God have mercy on your soul,” Cameron told Black.

Next, daughter Madison Allen took to the stand.

"There's a lot of things that happened after my father passed away,” she told Black. “It was very bad... I'm not exactly mad at you anymore, but I was [for] a while. You could have gone on to do better things than you did.”

A juror spoke with KRHD following the verdict. Jeremy Johnson said that he and his fellow jury members made sure to review each piece of the case before coming to their conclusion.

“I think the evidence, in this case, was very overwhelming,” he said. “ I think we all felt that [Black] does have some mental problems. But that does not lead to an excuse for the things that occurred.”

Black’s argument, in this case, had been that of self-defense, insisting he’d perceived Trooper Allen and assisting Trooper Matthew Poole as threats. His lawyers had spoken at length about Black’s paranoia and delusions, resulting from his diagnoses of military combat-induced PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and schizophrenia.

"This case is sad, on top of sad, on top of sad,” prosecutor Lisa Tanner had told the jury in her closing argument. “Most capital murders are... but to suggest that [Black’s] service to our country and his mental health somehow excuse his conduct... that is a slap in the face of every veteran who has served, gone and done the work, suffered through whatever they needed to, and not left a trail of carnage."

Black’s sister Lanell Brown was there to support her brother throughout the trial. Though she gave hugs to the family of Trooper Allen on Thursday, she wept for the fate of her brother. The moment was not joyous for her.

“I felt like the Freestone County Sheriff giving the family of the slain state trooper a hi-five - I felt like that was unnecessary, uncalled for,” Brown said. “Because as the state trooper’s family lost someone, I lost someone as well.”

Black will have the chance to appeal his sentence.