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Recording of Carmen DeCruz's initial interview with lead investigator played during Day 5 of trial

Posted at 8:24 PM, Jan 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-27 21:27:25-05

Friday, during the 5th day of the Carmen DeCruz trial, the session started off continuing with the testimony of lead investigator for the case — Texas Ranger Travis Denty.

A recording of the initial interview between him and DeCruz during the night of the incident was released in court.

DeCruz, a former Temple police officer, is accused of shooting Michael Dean to death in 2019.

During the audio recording, Denty asked DeCruz about several questions, including why he decided to chase Dean, blocking Dean’s vehicle with his police cruiser and everything else which happened that night.

DeCruz said he pursued Dean because he was driving at a dangerous speed. He also believed Dean was fleeing because he may have had drugs on him or a warrant.

At one point during the recording of this interview, DeCruz told Denty he didn’t believe Dean was trying to reach for his gun. Then, they paused the recording, so DeCruz could review his body camera footage.

When the recording restarted, DeCruz changed his statement and said he did believe Dean was reaching for the gun.

During this recording, he also said "he didn’t intentionally shoot Michael Dean’s and he also doesn’t know how the gun fired."

A forensic scientist who tested the DeCruz’s gun took the stand. He stated DeCruz’s gun was a Glock 22 and was working properly with no malfunctions. He also said the Glock 22 is designed not to accidentally fire and has several safety measures to prevent discharging after being bumped or dropped.

The expert witness said the only way to fire the gun is to pull the trigger with your finger or another object.

However, he also pointed out the gun could fire if someone pulled the gun while someone’s hand is on the trigger.

Another forensic scientist who collected DNA samples from the DeCruz’s weapon also took the stand. She concluded in her findings that Michael Dean’s DNA was not on DeCruz’s gun. She also tested Dean’s keys and a lanyard. Her findings concluded Dean’s DNA was on the keys, but there’s also a possibility DeCruz’s DNA was on the items too.

The expert DNA witness explained the DNA doesn’t always transfer when someone touches an item, so her findings couldn’t definitively say if someone did or did not touch an item.

Another scientist was in charge of brightening and de-pixelating the body camera footage from DeCruz’s body camera also testified Friday.

The audiovisual expert provided a court and investigation with several edits to the original video, including a brighter version, slow down version and a 150 frame-by-frame version of the video.

Lee Merritt, the civil rights attorney who is representing the Dean family, said the family wants to see the DeCruz’s body camera footage made public.

“The city of Temple has a responsibility to the people of Bell County, to the people that visit their area to be transparent. It’s something that we call procedural justice. They don’t have to release that video evidence. They can apply to the Attorney General to have that obscured but what is the point now. It’s been released an open court. You can’t talk about impacting the trial, the trial is ongoing. The evidence is a part of the case now," said Merrit.

25 News has requested a version of DeCruz’s dash cam and body cam video from the night of the incident from the City of Temple.

City officials say they are is processing our request.

Two police officers who supervised and consoled DeCruz also testified Friday.