Accused killer's capital murder trial comes to abrupt halt

Juror has apparent seizure

SAN ANTONIO – As a medical expert was detailing the injuries a suspect allegedly inflicted on someone during a capital murder trial Wednesday, a juror suddenly slumped back in his chair and had an apparent seizure.

The incident happened during day three of Luis Arroyo’s capital murder trial. He’s accused of killing Quikether Harris, 36, and Rodney Spring and seriously wounding Harris’ mother, Tandylyn Jackson, during an attack at the woman’s North Side apartment in January 2016.

The medical expert who was testifying, Dr. Mike Sippel, quickly stepped from the witness stand and examined the juror. 

Within minutes, the juror was able to walk from the courtroom and was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Judge Kevin O’Connell recessed the trial for the remainder of the day while he meets with prosecutors and Arroyo’s defense team to discuss whether to proceed with an alternate juror or to allow the juror to resume his duties.

Prior to the incident, Sippel told the jury that despite their efforts, doctors were not able to save Harris’ life as he discussed their findings during her operating room treatment.

“A finding which is consistent with a very poor prognosis, meaning that patients usually don’t recover from their injury if they have that finding,” Sippel said.

Harris did not recover. If he is convicted, Arroyo faces the death penalty.

Testimony is set to resume Thursday in Judge O’Connell’s 227th District Court.

About the Author:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.