Big Country

Attempted capital murder trial underway in Nolan Co.

SWEETWATER, Texas - An attempted capital murder trial began Tuesday afternoon in Nolan County for two men who have been charged in connection to a high speed chase and shots fired at a Department of Public Safety trooper.

Myron McDonald Jr. and Christopher Johnson, both in their early 20's, were arrested following the January 21st incident. Both pleaded not guilty at approximately 4 p.m. Tuesday.

DPS Trooper Frank Casarez testified that he pulled their car over in the early morning hours because they were traveling at about 109 miles per hour on Interstate 20 near Westbrook. He said he exited his patrol care and got a bad vibe when he approached the vehicle and realized the windows were down despite the cold outdoor temperatures. Casarez testified that he approached the rear of the vehicle and motioned for the driver to exit; however, shots were fired from the vehicle and the car sped off.

Casarez said he pursued the vehicle at speeds over 100 mph for several miles and shots continued to be fired at his patrol car. Dash cam video from his patrol car was presented to the jurors. He was not injured; however, he and other pursuing officers eventually lost track of the car.

The car was later located abandoned in Nolan County and McDonald and Johnson were allegedly found inside a Colorado City home located on Austin Street and known simply as "the café." After an approximate 11 hour standoff, Casarez said DPS Swat team officers removed McDonald and Johnson from the home along with a male juvenile.

Defense attorneys representing McDonald and Johnson told the jury they believe evidence in the case will prove there was only one shooter and the evidence will point toward the juvenile. The juvenile currently does not face any charges in the case but is expected to testify before the trial ends. In opening statements, District Attorney Ann Reed told the jury she has no doubt they will find McDonald and Johnson guilty.

Testimony will begin again Wednesday. 

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