TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Appeals court grant new punishment hearing for James Fulton, the man sentenced in the wreck of Haile Beasley.
Reasons for new hearing:
- Sufficiency of evidence
- Ineffective assistance of counsel
- Juror bias
“THIS CAUSE came to be heard on the oral arguments, appellate record and
the briefs filed herein, and the same being considered, because it is the opinion of this court that there was error in the judgment of the court below, it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED by this court that the judgment pertaining to punishment be reversed and the cause remanded to
the trial court for a new punishment trial in accordance with the opinion of this court; and that this decision be certified to the court below for observance,” in a statement by Justice Brian Hoyle.
A San Antonio area man convicted of criminally negligent homicide is seeking an appeal of his conviction.
In December 2017, James Fulton, 42, of Bulverde, was convicted in connection with the death of then 21-year-old Haile Beasley and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
KETK spoke with Fulton’s attorney who said the appeal is seeking two things. First, it seeks to overturn the conviction of criminally negligent homicide.
If the court disagrees with that decision, the second thing it seeks to do is grant a new sentencing trial.
On the night of May 14, 2016, Fulton’s truck hit Beasley’s car head-on in the eastbound lanes of West Grande Boulevard in Tyler. Investigators determined that Fulton was responsible for the accident. Beasley was pronounced dead at the scene. Fulton was not injured.
Police said Fulton admitted to drinking, but he was determined not to be intoxicated. Authorities said Fulton had passed field sobriety tests at the scene.
Matt Bingham, Smith County District Attorney, had recommended that Fulton be given 7 years. The maximum sentence was 10 years.
The jury deliberated hours before delivering the sentence.
In February 2018, a Smith County judge denied a request for a new trial.
Smith County Judge Jack Skeen Jr., declared there was no Brady Rule violation in the case against James Fulton, in turn denying a new trial.
The Brady Rule, named after Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), requires prosecutors to disclose materially exculpatory evidence in the government’s possession to the defense. A “Brady material” or evidence the prosecutor is required to disclose under this rule includes any evidence favorable to the accused–evidence that goes towards negating a defendant’s guilt, that would reduce a defendant’s potential sentence, or evidence going to the credibility of a witness.