By: Julia Deng
SIERRA BLANCA - Trial proceedings began Monday in the murder case involving well-known Terlingua bar owner Glenn Felts and his alleged killer, 38-year-old former river guide Tony Flint.
Flint was seen leaving La Kiva bar with Felts, who inherited the business from an uncle, in the early morning hours of February 4, 2014, according to a probable cause affidavit. Both men were reportedly "highly intoxicated."
Flint told officials he and Felts "fell" after stumbling out of the bar, resulting in injuries to Felts' face and fists. The affidavit states Flint dragged him to a rocky area, then drove home while "blacked out."
Felts was found at 8 a.m. in the La Kiva parking lot by a bar employee.
Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson later confirmed Felts had died of blunt force trauma to the head.
Investigators reportedly found blood-stained clothing at Flint's home, bruises on his face and hand, inconsistencies in his statements and signs of a struggle outside the bar.
"This crime just didn't make sense," said Mike Drinkard, a crisis services specialist in Terlingua. "Maybe if it made sense, there'd be more understanding and less trauma... and maybe [that understanding] will come out at trial."
Dozens of local residents sought Drinkard's support at Family Crisis Center of the Big Bend following Felts' death.
"Many, many people were exposed to the gruesome crime scene," Drinkard said, visibly recoiling as he recalled the morning Felts' body was discovered. "[Investigators] couldn't disturb the evidence, so the body was just 100 feet away from where many people were standing. We couldn't believe it... He was like family."
According to Drinkard, a question voiced throughout Terlingua during the past year has been, "Was there even a motive?"
"If all the money [in the bar] was missing, they could say: 'Oh, it was a robbery,'" he explained. "But it does't look like that was it. Maybe a motive will come out in court. Otherwise it will still seem like it was just a killing."
The lack of motive - and lack of closure - was what the made the alleged killing "senseless and especially hard to move past," he said.
"The community is ready for closure now," Drinkard told NewsWest 9. "Whether that comes through punishment or [disclosure of new] details during trial will remain to be seen."
If convicted of first-degree murder, Flint faces life in prison.
400 potential jurors were called to court on Monday for jury selection. Opening statements are expected on Tuesday.
The trial will likely last "at least a week," according to court officials.