BAYTOWN, Texas - Jurors are deliberating the fate of the Baytown police officer who shot and killed a woman as he tried to arrest her.
The jury is considering whether Baytown police officer Juan Delacruz acted reasonably as an officer when he shot and killed Pamela Turner or if opening fire and killing her was a crime.
"Pamela Turner was a mother, a daughter, she was loved, and she should still be with us today," prosecutor Timothy Adams told jurors in closing arguments, saying Officer Delacruz committed a crime when he shot Turner several times in May 2019.
"He pulled the trigger, and he shot her in the face, in the chest, and in the side," adds prosecutor Jules Johnson.
Delacruz was trying to arrest Turner for outstanding warrants in the apartment complex where both lived, and it was caught on camera.
Defense attorney Gregory Cagle says, "Pamela Turner made the decision to evade arrest, resist arrest, take a weapon from a police officer, not only take it but then use it against him." He argued Delacruz made a split-second decision to shoot Turner, fearing for his life after she tased him in the testicles. "We're already damn sure self-defense applies," Cagle adds.
"This defendant made the decision to shoot before he was ever even tased, if he was tased. If he was tased," Johnson says.
Prosecutors argued that Delacruz knew Turner suffered from mental illness from previous encounters with her. "She wasn’t perfect, and we’ve not tried to hide that from you guys, but the fact is she did not deserve to die on the sidewalk a few feet from her home," stated Adams.
Turner’s death has drawn so much attention to the point a U.S. Congresswoman attended closing arguments to support the Turner family. "This is the completely wrong way of handling someone who was a contributing member of society with mental health issues," says Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. "I want justice and I want fairness. It speaks for itself. That’s what this family wants," says Jackson Lee while standing with Turner’s daughter, sister, and another male relative.
"Think back to the video. (Delacruz) had the ability to step back, and he did. He stepped back and shot her. He didn’t have to shoot her, but he did anyway," Adams told jurors.
"It’s the right thing to do to find officer Delacruz not guilty of this crime," Cagle says ended his closing argument, but prosecutors had the final word with jurors, telling them. "Juan Delacruz is guilty of Aggravated Assault by a Public Servant".
Delacruz is on paid leave from the Baytown Police Department pending the outcome of the trial. Jurors began deliberating around 2:00 p.m. and still haven’t reached a verdict.