Jury Expected to Deliberate Friday in Fatal Hit-and-Run Case
BROWNSVILLE –The jury deciding the fate of a Brownsville woman accused in a fatal hit-and-run is being instructed by the judge to consider evidence that was never presented in court.
It’s called spoilage instruction and it was requested by the defense after both sides were done presenting all their evidence for the case. It means the judge will instruct the jury to consider a video they have never seen.
The video in question is the surveillance video captured by cameras at a convenience store near FM 511 and FM 803. Part of it was presented in court this week.
It showed defendant Marisa Govea Hernandez running over Mary Tipton as she walked along the edge of the road.
The lead investigator admitted on the stand that he only kept the first hour and 20 minutes of the video, adding he didn’t see anything of relevance to the case beyond that point.
The defense argued the remainder of the video was crucial to the investigation yet no copy of the video in its entirety was kept for evidence.
They went on to stay that the video, which jurors had no way of seeing since it was deleted, could’ve proven or disprove any witnesses testimony. Including the defendant’s son’s testimonies claiming they went back to search for a possible body.
Defense attorney Ernesto Gamez also told the judge not having that piece of surveillance video changed his strategy in the case. He said if the judge didn’t allow jurors to consider the missing video, it would force him to put his client on the stand to try to prove her innocence.
While the judge disagreed with that point, he did side with the defense and agreed to instruct jurors to consider the missing video. It will be included in the final charge for the case.
During the cross examination, the lead detective testified that the defense attorney was trying to make it seem that he didn’t care about the case. The judge had to repeatedly step in to call things back to order.
Detective Thomas Clipper told the jury that Hernandez ran over Tipton back in 2015 and didn’t bother to stop until there was a stop sign. He added that once her vehicle was taken as evidence there was blood and flesh on it.
He said the fact that her son, a Cameron County deputy, had gotten involved in the case also heightened the investigation. He added he wanted to make sure the deputy hadn’t tampered with the scene of the investigation.
The now retired detective told jurors he was confused as to why people would be looking so hard if the defendant had told them she had just hit an animal.
The jury is instructed to be here at 8:45 Friday. Visiting Judge Juan Bangles will read the entire charge out loud then will dismiss the jurors – eight woman and four men – to deliberate on the fate of Hernandez.
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