By: Julia Deng
SIERRA BLANCA - Trial proceedings in the murder trial of Tony Flint continued Tuesday with opening statements from both sides.
Flint, 38, is charged with first-degree murder in the February 2014 beating death of Terlingua bar owner Glenn Felts. The two were seen leaving La Kiva Bar & Restaurant, which Felts had inherited from his uncle, after a night of heavy drinking. Felts was found dead in the parking lot the following morning by La Kiva's barbecue cook.
Brewster County District Attorney Rod Ponton called Flint's alleged actions "intentional and brutal" in his opening statement. He told the six-man, six-woman jury that scattered pieces of "blurry" evidence would be "stacked up like layer cake" in the prosecution's argument to paint a clear picture of what led to Felts' death.
"Glenn Felts was one of the nicest people in Terlingua," Ponton told the court. "He was not a person who picked fights... This was an enraged beating [carried out by Flint]."
Defense attorney Justin Low also referenced Felts' "friendly, happy-go-lucky" demeanor, with one caveat: the bar owner was supposedly known to lose his temper when people criticized the way he ran La Kiva, said Low. He told jurors an alcohol-fueled argument had led Felts to attack Flint, causing him to retaliate in self defense.
The fact that Flint was approximately "twice the size" of Felts did not preclude him from having the right to protect himself, Low said in his opening statement.
"There is no evidence [Flint] intentionally tried to kill him," he told the court. "There was no motive... They were friendly."
Mike Drinkard, a Terlingua resident observing the trial, noted that "both [sides] agreed that Tony Flint did kill Glenn Felts." Jurors are tasked with the responsibility of deciding whether or not the killing was premeditated.
Investigators will testify during the trial that Flint's boot prints, DNA and red knit cap were found at the crime scene. In addition, Felts' blood was allegedly found on his clothing and truck.
Witnesses called to the stand on Tuesday included the La Kiva employee who found Felts' body, sheriff's deputies who investigated the crime scene and Sheriff Ronny Dodson. Flint is expected to testify later in the week.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Flint faces life behind bars.