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First trial in Kimberlin murder begins

 

BY VALERIE REDDELL
Editor
polknews@gmail.com

LIVINGSTON — After summoning a capacity crowd of more than 100 potential jurors, attorneys and 258th District Judge Elizabeth Coker winnowed the crowd down to 12 who will decide the fate of Quinton Joshua Fisher. He is the first of three remaining defendants accused of capital murder in the shooting death of Billy Kimberlin Jr. at his home in the 1000 block of Polk Street on Aug. 21, 2009. Defense attorney Michael Davis of Coldspring contends that one of the five defendants, Omega Jabbar Manning, “has sold the state a bill of goods orchestrating a campaign from his jail cell to implicate my client, knowing all along that (investigators) needed a mastermind.” The first day of testimony included eyewitness accounts by members of the Kimberlin family of the robbery and fatal shooting of Billy Kimberlin Jr. Robert Kimberlin, a younger brother of the deceased, described how two black males kicked in the door of the travel trailer on the same property as his parents home where he and his wife Carrie were watching TV with their 6-year-old daughter. The couple both described how the intruders struck each of them on the head with the butt of a pistol and threatened to harm their daughter if they did not keep her quiet. When they forced their way into the home, they demanded to know if they were “the Billy’s Donuts people and demanded money.” Robert Kimberlin said yes they were, but the money was kept in the main house. The men then forced him to take them into the house, where they had already attempted to force their way inside but were unsuccessful. In response to a question from Davis, Robert Kimberlin and his wife said neither of the intruders was the defendant, Mr. Fisher. Under Texas’ law of parties, a person is criminally responsible for an act if he promotes or assists another person to commit the offense or fails to prevent the offense or if the offense was committed in the furtherance of an unlawful purpose. A common example given by attorneys when explaining this legal principle is the driver of a getaway car is equally responsible for a crime, even if he never left the vehicle. Further testimony by family members of victim revealed Billy Kimberlin Jr. sleeping sitting up on the coach and his half-brother Larry Wordwell was attempting to fall asleep in a recliner in the living room at the time Robert Kimberlin, his wife and child and the two assailants entered the house. Robert Kimberlin said one of the suspects, turned the light on, waking Billy Kimberlin Jr. The witnesses reported Billy said either “he’s got a gun,” or “they’ve got a gun” before one of the suspects ran up and shot him three times Wordwell told the jury that apparently the suspects never saw him “camoflaged” in the recliner and he was able to escape from the house and call 911. Meanwhile, the suspects kicked open the locked bedroom where Billy Kimberlin Sr. and his wife Lavada (more commonly known as Charlene) were sleeping. Charlene Kimberlin said her husband was sound asleep at the time of the attack, which she estimated to be about 10:30 p.m. He typically starts his workday at 2 a.m. and the family opens their donut shop at 4 a.m., so by 6:30 or 7 p.m. most of the family is headed off to bed. Mrs. Kimberlin said she typically watches “her stories” the soap operas she records during the day in the master bedroom after her husband goes to sleep. She typically works in the office with a 8 to 5 schedule. She said she had finished watching her programs and gone to sleep when she was startled awake and saw Robert, Carrie standing in the door way with blood streaking down their faces and her granddaughter. She said she can’t remember if the two assailants said anything when they entered the room, but she recalled Robert telling her they wanted the money and Mrs. Kimberlin began trying to wake her husband. “He was still in a daze. I told him they want the money,” she said. “He started to get out of the bed to get the money and one of them came around on his side of the bed and held up a gun and said get back in the bed or I’ll kill you.” Mrs. Kimberlin recalls pointing to the bathroom and one of the suspects went into the master bathroom and took the money from a small ice chest in the bathroom floor where Mr. Kimberlin Sr. typically kept the money he would need to open the store in the morning. About that time, family members said they began to hear the sirens of approaching police officers and the suspects fled from the house. Livingston Police Officer Ashley Early was the first to arrive and she described her efforts to ensure there were no suspects in the front yard, which was difficult in the large, dark yard. Early took statements from each of the family members and secured the scene while fellow officers Sgt. Scott Paske and Officer Jason Thomas began to search for the suspects in the area around the house. Livingston Police Lt. Matt Parrish was off-duty but happened to be passing near the scene of the robbery-murder when several city and county patrol cars began heading in the direction of the Kimberlin home. He called dispatch and learned what that a robbery was in progress and one of the residents had been shot and was likely deceased. Parrish testified he spotted a suspicious male cross Willis St. in front of him. Parrish pursued the man and found him and a second subject in the driveway of a nearby residence. Parrish became even more suspicious since he knew the homeowners, and was concerned the two men were about to break into the home. He ordered them to stop, identified himself as a police officer, but the two men fled. The manhunt continued with the aid of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Parrish testified. Ultimately, he and Chief Dennis Clifton decided to turn the manhunt over to the sheriff’s office so LPD could focus on the crime scene. Deputy Vance Berry said he had assisted Parrish with the search but had been dispatched to another call in Wiggins Village. While en route to the call, he spotted a man who matched the suspect’s description in the parking lot near Subway and Burger King on West Church. The suspect was out of breath, sweaty and talking to two white females, attempting to convince them to let him use their phone. The two women indicated to Berry that they did not know the suspect and Berry detained him. In the process, he found a pistol in the suspect’s back pocket. That suspect was identified as Aldrick Johnson, one of the other two suspects awaiting trial. Two of the men arrested in connection with the incident have entered guilty pleas to lesser charges. Testimony in the trial is expected to continue for much of the rest of the week.

 

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