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Houston man sentenced to death in courthouse slaying

Sarah Moor, Houston Chronicle
Published 9:10 pm, Tuesday, May 7, 2013

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  • Deborah Ray Holst hugs Prosecutor Clint Woods on Tuesday May 7, 2013, in Galveston, Texas,  after he and Prosecutors Pat Knauth, left, and Ed Shettle spoke to members of the media outside the Galveston County Courthouse.  Bartholomew Granger Sr. was sentenced to death Tuesday  for the 2012 shooting outside the Jefferson County Courthouse that killed Holst's mother, Minnie Ray Sebolt, and injured three others. (AP Photo/The Galveston County Daily News,Jennifer Reynolds) Photo: Jennifer Reynolds, MBR / The Galveston County Daily News
    Deborah Ray Holst hugs Prosecutor Clint Woods on Tuesday May 7, 2013, in Galveston, Texas, after he and Prosecutors Pat Knauth, left, and Ed Shettle spoke to members of the media outside the Galveston County Courthouse. Bartholomew Granger Sr. was sentenced to death Tuesday for the 2012 shooting outside the Jefferson County Courthouse that killed Holst's mother, Minnie Ray Sebolt, and injured three others. (AP Photo/The Galveston County Daily News,Jennifer Reynolds) Photo: Jennifer Reynolds, MBR

 

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GALVESTON - Bartholomew Granger and the jury in his capital murder trial agreed Tuesday that he should be executed for a 2012 shooting rampage that killed one and injured three others outside the Jefferson County Courthouse.

A Galveston County jury spent a little less than two hours deciding Granger, 42, will constitute a danger to society in the future and that no mitigating circumstances justified giving the Houston man life in prison for the March 14, 2012 fatal shooting of a 79-year-old Deweyville grandmother.

As in previous parts of the trial, Granger behaved disruptively in court on Tuesday, with frequent outbursts.

His disturbances began as prosecutors Pat Knauth and Ed Shettle gave their closing arguments in the punishment phase. Granger laughed, muttered and held up a hand-written sign with the word "Death" for jurors.

After he was told he would die for fatally shooting Minnie Ray Sebolt, Granger repeatedly interrupted Sebolt's daughter, Deborah Holst, during a victim impact statement.

"I really don't feel like hearing this," he said. "Why you gotta berate me? I didn't kill anyone - that's what y'all saying."

Prosecutors have said Granger was aiming at Claudia Jackson, his ex-girlfriend, when his bullets fatally struck Sebolt. Jackson was also injured.

So was Samantha Jackson, their daughter. Mother and daughter were to testify against Granger in a sexual assault case.

On Tuesday, Granger insisted that though he "shot that lying bitch," a reference to his daughter, he didn't shoot Sebolt.

Judge Bob Wortham had Granger restrained in a chair and gagged by bailiffs so Holst could continue.

During his closing argument, defense lawyer James Makin pleaded with the jury to spare his client's life, saying that despite Granger's threatening remarks and demeanor, he would not be a danger in a structured prison environment.

Makin said that while Granger's thought process - as expressed in recorded jail telephone conversations with his family – was bizarre and distasteful, he is "a blowhard," noting Granger hadn't harmed anyone since the day of the shooting.

"It's really easy to say he is a future danger," Makin said. "All those horrible words and rants - and not one little injury to anyone."

Jurors could not be reached for comment. They chose to leave through a back door, with some or all being escorted to their vehicles by bailiffs.

The trial was moved to Galveston so jurors would avoid walking past the crime scene in Beaumont.