Trial date set for accused killer of Central Texas DPS trooper

DPS Trooper Damon Allen was killed on Thanksgiving Day 2017. (File)
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FAIRFIELD, Texas (KWTX) A state judge Thursday in Fairfield set the date and location of the trial of a man accused of gunning down a Central Texas Department of Public Safety trooper on Thanksgiving Day in 2017.

Prosecutors haven’t yet decided whether to seek the death penalty in the trial of Dabrett Black, 33, of Lindale, who is charged with capital murder in the death of Department of Public Safety Trooper Damon Allen, 41, of Teague.

The 15-year DPS veteran was shot while he was sitting in his patrol unit after the traffic stop on Interstate 45 south of Fairfield.

During a status hearing Thursday, the judge set an Aug 3, 2020 trial date and ordered the trial moved to Brazos County, Freestone County District Attorney Brian Evans said.

Black was granted a change of venue in March.

Black was free on bond at the time of the shooting after an incident in which he rammed a deputy’s vehicle during a chase, and the trooper’s murder was a catalyst for a push to reform the state’s bail bond laws.

In July 2017, four months before the deadly shooting, Black led authorities on the 105-mile-per-hour chase, during which he intentionally rammed a Smith County deputy’s vehicle.

The deputy had to be freed from the wreckage before he was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Black was charged with evading arrest, aggravated assault of a public servant and reckless driving, but was released from jail after posting bonds totaling just $15,500.

And that wasn’t the first time he had a violent run in with authorities.

Black was arrested in March 15, 2015 in Smith County after a sheriff's deputy was attacked while trying to restrain him after responding to an assault call.

The deputy suffered a broken nose and two black eyes during the nearly two-minute beating and six stitches were required to close his wounds.

Black was named in two felony complaints in connection, but under the terms of a plea agreement a year later, an assistant prosecutor recommended a one-year jail sentence in exchange for a guilty plea to misdemeanor assault in lieu of the two felonies.

The assistant signed off on the deal without the district attorney’s approval, a violation of office policy.

Black, who previously listed a Killeen address, was arrested in August 2014 for possession of a controlled substance and possession less than two ounces of marijuana.

In December 2014, the possession of a controlled substance charge was dismissed and Black was sentenced to three days in jail and was ordered to pay $200 in court costs, according to online records.