Bell County jury rejects death penalty in capital murder case

Last week, a jury in Bell County deadlocked in its deliberations on whether to sentence David Risner to death for the 2014 murder of Little River-Academy Police Chief Lee Dixon. Risner, a former police officer, was convicted of capital murder on June 6, 2016.  He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after a two-month long trial.

According to the Texas Tribune, “both prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed that Risner suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury” after spending time in Iraq during wartime on a contract job.

It was the first death penalty trial in Bell County since 2007.  Last year, juries rejected the death penalty in four capital murder cases. They imposed three new death sentences statewide.  To date in 2016, juries have imposed the death penalty in two Texas cases – one in Webb County and one in Kaufman County.

Since 2010, death-qualified juries have rejected the death penalty in at least 18 capital murder trials in Texas.

Read more about Risner’s case from the Temple Telegram, the Texas Tribune, and