JOURDANTON, Texas - The trial of a man accused of shooting and killing a police officer during a chase in 2013 began Tuesday morning, with suspect Shawn Luis Puente entering a plea of not guilty.
Puente, 34, was clean-shaven, wearing glasses and a dark suit at his capital murder trial.
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Puente is accused of leading police on a high-speed chase from south San Antonio into Wilson County on the night of Dec. 7, 2013. He and his female companion, Jenevieve Ramos, 28, were suspected of robbing a San Pedro Avenue convenience store.
Officer Robert Deckard, 31, was the lead police officer in the chase as he pursued the couple’s car into Wilson County, authorities said.
Several shots were fired at Deckard from the suspect’s car, officials said. A single shot penetrated the patrol car’s windshield, hitting Deckard in the forehead.
Deckard’s patrol car crashed into some trees alongside Interstate 37 as the suspect’s vehicle continued on into Wilson County, authorities said.
The pair was arrested after they were found hiding in a ditch a few hours later, authorities said. They were charged with capital murder.
Deckard died 13 days later in the hospital.
When asked how he pleaded at his trial’s opening, Puente claimed he was not guilty.
During her opening statement, defense attorney Anne Jimenez told the jury that Puente fired the fatal shot.
“This is a complex case,” Jimenez said. “Don’t rush to a snap decision.”
Jimenez said Puente was a homeless meth addict and was on what she described as a “drug binge” on the night of the armed robbery.
“Shawn made some bad, horrible, reckless decisions in his life,” Jimenez said. “This was the worst.”
Ramos is awaiting trial. Prosecutors have indicated that, like Puente, they will seek the death penalty in her case.
Testimony in Puente’s trial will resume Wednesday in Judge Donna Reyes' State District Court in Atascosa County.
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