Graphic testimony in accused cop killer's trial

March 29, 2010 3:11:03 PM PDT
Testimony in the trial of a man accused of fatally shooting a Houston police officer began on Monday. It's been more than a year since HPD Officer Timothy Abernethy was killed in the line of duty, but by the tears in the courtroom Monday, what happened the day he died is still very fresh in many people's minds. And they described it to the jury.

The 911 calls came in just moments after the shooting back on December 7, 2008, as residents at the Luxor apartments in northwest Houston starting calling police. Their voices were clearly upset after what just happened.

"Is he an HPD officer?" asked an 911 operator on a tape played in court.

"Yes, he is," answered the caller. "Yes he is. Oh Lord have mercy."

Jurors heard the 911 tapes and prosecutors describe the death of Officer Abernethy. Prosecutor Maria McNulty told jurors Mabry Landor ran off after Abernethy pulled him over on a traffic violators.

"OK, so all you head were the gunshots?" asked the operator.

"Yes, I heard four gunshots," responded the caller.

"You heard four gunshots?"

"Yes, four gunshots."

But it was Officer D. Skinners' testimony that was especially moving. He began to cry on the witness stand, saying he'd just spoken to Officer Abernerthy minutes before the shooting. It's Officer Skinners' frantic voice you hear describing the crime scene to the police dispatch.

"It's a shooting," he could be heard saying on police radio. "Officer down right now."

As for the suspect, Landor has an extensive criminal history that includes multiple drug and DWI arrests. He was also arrested for assaulting a family member. Landor has been in and out of prison since 1998.

The acting Houston police chief was on hand Monday to hear the testimony.

"We're just here to support the family and Officer Abernethy's co-workers, and we're here to see that justice is served," said Acting HPD Chief Charles McClelland.