Texarkana, TX 50° View Live Radar Sun H 60° L 36° Mon H 62° L 42° Tue H 66° L 38° Weather Sponsored By:

Jury selection begins in capital murder case

Jury selection begins in capital murder case

Inmate accused of beating a Telford guard to death

September 13th, 2017 by Lynn LaRowe in Texarkana News

Former Telford Unit inmate Billy Joel Tracy appears Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 in a Bowie County courtroom for a pretrial hearing.

Photo by Gazette Staff /Texarkana Gazette.

NEW BOSTON, Texas—The lengthy process of choosing a jury to decide the case of a Texas prison inmate accused in the July 2015 fatal beating of a guard gets under way this morning at Bowie County Courthouse in New Boston.

Billy Joel Tracy, 39, is facing the death penalty if convicted of capital murder in the July 15, 2015, death of 47-year-old Timothy Davison, a correctional officer tasked with escorting Tracy back to his cell following an hour of recreation in a prison day room at the Barry Telford Unit in New Boston.

Eight of the 331 members of Tracy's jury pool are scheduled to report at varying times today for individual questioning by 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart, the prosecution and the defense. The process will repeat and continue on weekdays until 12 jurors and two alternates have been selected. Trial is expected to begin in late October at the earliest.

Tracy allegedly packed up the personal belongings he kept in his one-man cell in administrative segregation prior to his hour of recreation on the day he allegedly killed Davison in full view of multiple video surveillance cameras, according to a Texas Department of Criminal Justice report. On the walk back to his cell, Tracy allegedly slipped a hand free of its cuff and attacked, knocking Davison to the floor.

Tracy is accused of grabbing Davison's tray slot bar, a device resembling a metal pipe used to manipulate the openings in cell doors at mealtime, and pummelling Davison repeatedly with it during the two-minute attack. As a group of Davison's fellow correctional officers approached, Tracy allegedly hurled Davison down nearby stairs and doused the air with a blast from Davison's pepper spray. Davison died several hours later at a Texarkana hospital.

Last month, Tracy's jury pool heard general instructions as a group and filled out questionnaires meant to aid in the selection process. Potential jurors can be struck for cause by 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart or by the defense or state for nearly any reason.

The only punishments available for capital murder under Texas law are life without the possibility of parole and death by lethal injection.

Tracy has been behind bars for more than half his life.

In 1995, he was sentenced to a three-year term for retaliation in Tarrant County, Texas. Three years later, Tracy was sentenced to life with parole possible plus 20 years for burglary, aggravated assault and assault on a public servant in Rockwall County, Texas. In 2005, Tracy received an additional 45-year term for stabbing a guard with a homemade weapon at a TDCJ unit in Amarillo, Texas. Tracy was sentenced to 10 years in 2009 for attacking a guard at a state prison in Abilene, Texas.

Crisp has filed notice of her intent to call a bevy of witnesses who are expected to provide firsthand accounts of Tracy's violent past.

The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.

llarowe@texarkanagazette.com

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com