The Latest on the Daniel Willis retrial

The prosecution rested today in the trial of a former Bastrop County Deputy. Daniel Willis is accused of murder after he shot a woman during a domestic disturbance call.

With the trial of former deputy Daniel Willis now shifting to his defense, the family of the woman he shot said they were feeling both relief and dread.

"You can never be too confident, but you are also going to worry, and right now we feel like the evidence really speaks for itself and I know it’s not a question that’s been made to me but, we want people to not forget, the victim here is Yvette Smith," said her sister Yvonne Williams.

Yevett Smith was shot and killed the night of Feb 16, 2014. She had been struggling in this house, North of Bastrop, over a shotgun with Chris Thomas.  Earlier, he had been fighting with his cousin and later with his father.

According to witnesses, he wanted to go take care of business. Thomas' girlfriend called 911 and shortly after Willis arrived, word came that the situation was escalating.

Amy Vela: "He loaded the gun, he loaded the gun, he loaded the gun."
Dispatcher: "He loaded the gun, ok."

Willis was warned by dispatchers a gunman was at the door. When it opened he fired two shots claiming the person there appeared to have a gun and made a sudden move. It remains in dispute as to whether or not smith had a gun.

Defense attorneys argue the apparent danger at the time, was real, justifying the use of deadly force.

"Because the law is, you look at the reasonableness of the conduct, from the actors point of view, Daniel Willis thought he saw a gun; but the reasonable thing to do and what he was trained to do is to eliminate that threat," said defense attorney Kristen Jernigan.

Deputy Joseph Hurtado, who arrived at the scene after the shooting, testified Monday that he asked Willis how he was doing.  According to Hurtado, Willis said, he didn’t want to die.

"The state has wholly failed to prove its case, they stipulated that Daniel Willis thought he saw a gun. Everybody testified they were fearful, and yet the state wants to hold Daniel to a different standard, that’s not the law," said Jernigan.

Prosecutors believe Willis should have waited and reassessed the situation. Because he didn't, he's accused of committing murder.

"That is exactly all he had to do, just wait, just wait, just give it a second, let her come  out and say, who is out here, or what can I do, or we are ok, something," said Williams.

It's a risky all or nothing charge but smith's family says it’s a risk they are willing to accept.
 

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