Suspect's brother kicked out during testimony

March 30, 2010 5:13:30 PM PDT
The trial of a man accused of killing a Houston police officer entered its second day of testimony, but Tuesday the biggest drama came when one of the suspect's family members was asked to leave the courtroom. For the first time, the jury heard from eyewitnesses who can place Mabry Landor at the crime scene. One eyewitness who wants to remain anonymous told the jury he saw Landor being chased by Officer Timothy Abernethy in 2008. The eyewitness then heard three gunshots.

"I thought one of them had got hurt," he testified. "I thought the officer had been hurt."

The eyewitness said he ran over and saw Officer Abernethy lying on the ground.

"He wasn't moving," he testified.

When asked about identifying Landor, the eyewitness said, "I do recall the little mark on his left cheek."

The jurors also heard scientific evidence from the crime scene unit that shows that Landor shot several times at Officer Abernethy.

However, during a break in the trial, Landor's brother was asked to leave the courtroom. Landor's brother wouldn't remove his sunglasses or tuck in his shirt. He was surrounded by a wave of blue, uniformed police officers. The bailiff told Bryon Pitre he was sitting in a police officer's seat even though there is no assigned seating in the courtroom. He refused to move to an empty row of seats and was removed.

"We are taxpaying citizens just like everybody else and we need to be given the frequency to be treated right all the time. Like I said, we are not on trial, but we want to show our presence. That is my brother," said Pitre.

"Some may argue that it may be an intimidating factor, but you know Officer Abernethy died in this uniform, he shed blood for this uniform and people should be proud that police officers are sitting in that uniform because that's what he defended," said Acting HPD Chief Charles McClelland.

Dozens of uniformed officers have attended the trial and our legal expert says that can be seen as a sign of intimidation.

"It sends a message to the jury that we're here because we think he's guilty," said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy.

On Tuesday morning, proceedings were much more composed in the courtroom, as the signs of crime scene investigation took to the forefront. The first two witnesses on the stand were crime scene investigators who had been called to the shooting. The jury saw diagrams and maps of the Luxor Apartments in northwest Houston, as well as the surrounding area.

The testimony, at times, has been very tedious. However, this is an important step for the prosecution to establish where and when officer Abernethy was shot.

Abernethy was shot and killed in the line of duty on December 7, 2008. He had pulled over Landor during a traffic stop when Landor ran off. Abernethy chased him on foot, and was shot. Abernethy fell to the ground and that's when prosecutors say Landor approached him and shot him in the head.

Yesterday, witnesses gave very gripping testimony. More eyewitnesses from inside the Luxor Apartments took the stand Tuesday afternoon.

On Wednesday, the jury will hear from more eyewitnesses who are expected to testify that they actually saw Landor shoot Officer Abernethy.


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