Prosecution Rests in Kathy Blair Murder Trial

The prosecution of Shawn Gant Benalcazar started wrapping up Monday with the detectives who got him to confess defending their tactics.

Defense attorney Darla Davis asked at what time in the interview did their client, Benalcazar change from being a witness to being a suspect. Prosecutors tried to block the question, but it was allowed by Judge David Crain.

Detective Derek Israel testified the moment came suddenly.  Gant Benalcazar had changed his original denial of involvement and admitted he went to Kathy Blair's home because his friend named Tim Parlin wanted to burglarize it. 

"I thought my case was pretty straight forward against Tim Parlin, until Shawn got kind of in the mix, and when he confessed that really completely upended the original theory we had in the case," said Israel. 

Video of the  confession was presented Friday to the jury.  On it Gant Banalcazar described what happened after he went inside Blair's house.

"She woke up, she lunged at me, grabbed the knife, started trying to wrestle it out of my hand, and then it was a struggle and I stabbed her in the neck," said Gant Benalcazar who recounted the situation to detectives back in January 2015.

Monday detective Kerry Scanlon was asked about whether or not the confession could have been coerced. He was asked of its fair to say false confessions happen all the time.  Scanlon gave a quick answer.


The answer, defense attorneys pointed out, is a slight change from what the detective said during a pre-trail hearing. In clarifying his new answer to the same question, Scanlon said he was talking about phone calls providing false leads and the occasional person who claims responsibility for a crime they did not commit. 

As defense attorneys raised questions about fairness and how Maranda rights were given after the confession was made prosecutors defended how the police interview was handled.

"So someone is not in custody, then Maranda need not be read, so the judge has already previously ruled the police did everything correctly everything was done as it should have been done according to the constitution," said Travis County Assistant DA Katie Sweeten.

Prosecution rested Monday afternoon.  The first witness for the defense was Randy Lubart with Shoes for Crews. He testified through Skype.  Lubart told the jury shoe prints recovered from the crime scene do not match their records of the type of shoes purchased by Gant Benalcazar when he worked at a local hotel.

Prosecutors countered by suggesting that Gant Benalcazar could have purchased another pair of "Shoes for Crews," that left the prints, from a place that did not identify him as the buyer.

"That is fair, yes," replied Lubart.

Testimony for the defense continues Tuesday.