Jury Seated in Capital Murder Trial
By Scott E. Williams
Published December 7, 2005
TEXAS CITY — Seven women and five men will decide the fate of a
man charged with killing his grandparents in the course of burglarizing
their Texas City home.
With jury selection finished in the capital murder trial of Thomas
Justin “T.J.” Thomas, testimony in the case begins today, in the 122nd
State District Court.
Thomas was one of four teens charged in the February 2004 beating
deaths of William and Lorena Pearl Clement. The elderly couple had
been beaten to death with a tire iron that police said they later found in
a van in which Thomas had been riding with the trio who would
become his co-defendants.
Jurors had completed questionnaires Monday. On Tuesday, the
questions came from the attorneys in the case. Defense attorney Tad A.
Nelson asked whether potential jurors could consider matters of
diminished capacity and sanity, if they were raised in the trial.
Galveston County Criminal District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk and fellow
prosecutor Stacey Jones worked with Nelson to weed out those for
whom a lengthy trial would likely be a hardship. Attorneys warned
prospective jurors that the trial would likely last two weeks.
The jurors will not sit through punishment evidence, though, even in
the event of a conviction. A guilty verdict in this case would mean an
automatic life sentence for Thomas, as prosecutors are not seeking the
death penalty.