Carmen DeCruz Trial: Recordings reveal ex-cop changed statement, claimed Michael Dean may have reached for gun

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 7:51 PM CST
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - A series of recordings played in day 5 of the Carmen DeCruz trial reveal the former cop changed his statement to claim Michael Dean, the unarmed Black man he’s accused of fatally shooting during a traffic stop in 2019, may have reached for a gun.

The former Temple police officer is on trial for second degree manslaughter.

Friday morning began with brief testimony from Texas Ranger and lead investigator Travis Dendy.

The jury was played a series of interviews between Dendy and DeCruz recorded the night of Dean’s death. Notably, DeCruz mentions he’s unsure of how his gun discharged the fatal round.

After DeCruz was given a chance to watch his body cam footage, the officer changed his statement to claim it seemed as if Dean reached for the weapon.

Dendy’s testimony was cut short on Friday, but the investigator’s testimony is expected to continue next week.

Jurors on Friday also heard expert testimony from three forensic scientists who handled case evidence.

Scientist Jeffrey Kelly noted that for Dean to have fired the weapon he would’ve had to discharge two separate safety mechanisms before firing.

Scientist Agatha Eason stated that based on DNA tests, Dean had no direct contact with DeCruz’s gun.

The last forensic scientist to testify, Elinor Hehir, enhanced DeCruz’s body cam footage through a series of analysis for clarity.

The last two testimonials we heard were from members of the Temple Police Department.

On Dec. 2, 2019, Sergeant Thomas Richeson arrived on scene and was assigned to watch over DeCruz.

By watching Richeson’s body cam footage, the jury learned that DeCruz was granted a phone call to his daughter.

Two minutes into the discussion, Richeson requests to turn his body camera off since he was not part of the investigation at the time.

This was granted and the video ends there.

After Richeson, Lieutenant Timothy Simeroth took the stand.

Jurors didn’t get to hear much from Simeroth before the day was over, but state attorney’s did play a recording of the police scanner when DeCruz initially called for help.

“He just hit my car,” and “Cefco on the loop,” were the last words said by DeCruz over the scanner.

After this, court adjourned for the day.

The trial will resume next week.