CARTHAGE, Texas (KETK) – A Shreveport man had capital murder charges officially filed against him on Friday for the murder of a Panola County deputy after he was extradited on Thursday.
47-year-old Gregory Dewayne Newson is accused in the shooting death of Deputy Christopher Dickerson, 28, back on New Year’s Eve.
Authorities say Newson abruptly jumped out of his vehicle and opened fire when Deputy Dickerson pulled him over. Investigators believe the wounded deputy was able to return fire.
Newson was located about one hour later in Shreveport suffering from gunshot wounds, a punctured lung, and broken ribs after he crashed.
Under Texas law, Newsom can only face life without parole or the death penalty if he is convicted.
On Thursday, Newson sat quietly in a wheelchair as a recording was played of a phone conversation he made from inside the jail in which he claimed Deputy Dickerson followed him for miles before he stopped him and got out of his unit with a gun in his hand. Newson could be heard on the recorded call saying the deputy fired first and that he fired back because he thought he was trying to kill him.
In that phone call, Newson described how he walked over to the wounded deputy after he had fallen to the ground with the intention of asking him, “Why did you shoot me?” but he said the deputy shot at him again. Newson said he shot the deputy again before getting back into his car and driving off. In the call, Newson said he had been shot four times in the leg.
During the hearing, Texas Ranger Joshua Jenkins testified that the man seen in the deputy’s dash cam and body cam was not clear enough to specifically identify the shooter – only that he was a black man with a beard. Deputy Dickerson had called in the license plate of the vehicle Newson was driving before pulling him over, and it was the same GMC Yukon Newson crashed an hour later in Shreveport.
Jenkins also testified that Newson did not admit to shooting the deputy when he was read his rights, but that he did say he was “ready to go to the electric chair.” Jenkins said a short-barrel rifle with a magazine, $5,000 and a little over 1 lb of marijuana were found in the Yukon Newson was driving and wrecked before his capture.
During the recorded call played in court, Newson said he shot at a car that he thought was following him when he got into Shreveport. That car turned out to be an off-duty officer in an unmarked unit. The officer was not injured, but had to give up the chase out of concern about continuing to drive with a shattered windshield.
Dickerson’s death prompted a national, and even international, show of support from local police and organizations. Forces from across the country sent their condolences to the Dickerson family and the New York Yankees sent flowers to be put at his gravesite.