State rests its case in Little River-Academy capital murder trial

Posted at 7:23 PM, Jun 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-07 20:48:17-04

The State Attorney’s Office has rested its case in the David Risner capital murder trial.

Risner was found guilty of capital murder on Monday for the 2014 shooting death of Little River-Academy Police Chief Lee Dixon.

Sixteen witnesses were called by the state to testify on Tuesday, in day one of Risner’s sentencing hearing.

Those witnesses provided jurors with a lengthy timeline full of violent and abnormal behavior on Risner's part. Their testimony was used to drive home the state's motion for Risner to receive the death penalty in this case.

Here’s a summary of that timeline:

Dec. 29, 2008

  • Several witnesses, including Risner's own brother-in-law, claim that he was shooting an assault rifle near that man's livestock and property.
  • Risner then got into a physical altercation with the responding Van Zandt County Sheriff's deputy, fired several rounds into the ground and then fired a shot above the heads of the deputy and his brother-in-law.
  • He later called Van Zandt County dispatch and threatened to “shoot and kill” the responding deputy if he ever returned to his property.
  • Risner was originally charged with felony deadly conduct in the case, but he later plead guilty to a reduced Class C misdemeanor.

Aug. 24, 2011

  • Risner is involved in an altercation with Temple police and several first responders.
  • After becoming combative during a traffic stop, he was handcuffed and placed in the back of the patrol car.
  • According to a responding officer with EMS training. he then began “faking a seizure” and asking for medical attention.
  • Upon a search of his car. officers also found an assault rifle strapped to the inside of the trunk and an automatic weapon inside the vehicle.
  • They also found what they thought was a pipe bomb, but that turned out to be a false alarm.
  • Risner was taken to Scott and White for a mental evaluation following the incident.
  • Temple Police officers also put out an alert on him in their system to warn all other law enforcement agencies about his behavior should they come in contact with him.

May 1, 2012

  • Risner had a dispute had with his landlord and police were called.
  • He got into an altercation with responding officers and refused to return a cellphone that he had allegedly stolen from his landlord.
  • When officers attempted to detain him, he began resisting arrest.
  • Once he was detained, he began displaying "seizure-like behavior" and was treated by EMS.
  • He was charged with theft and resisting arrest in this case.

May 8, 2012

  • Seven days later, officers went to arrest him on the charges from May 1, 2012.
  • A physical altercation occurred between Risner and responding officers.
  • He was taken to the hospital to be treated for a laceration he received and once again for “seizure-like behaviors.”

In both of the May 2012 incidents, responding EMS and paramedics testified that his behaviors were inconsistent with any seizure behavior they had ever seen, but they treated him anyway.

They also testified that given the alert they received about him on behalf of the Temple Police Department, they felt unsafe in his presence.

Risner's defense team argues that he suffers from PTSD and has occasional seizures as a result of his time as a civilian peace keeper in Kosovo and Iraq. They are hoping the judge will grant him life in prison without parole.

His team will begin arguing in favor of that sentence and calling their own witnesses starting Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m.

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