By: Julia Deng
SIERRA BLANCA - New details emerged Thursday about accused killer Tony Flint during the third day of witness testimony in his murder trial.
Friends and former colleagues of the Terlingua river guide testified that he "walked off and cried" after telling them he was a person of interest in the beating death of La Kiva Bar & Restaurant owner Glenn Felts.
Flint appeared to be "very upset" and "very confused" when he joined them at friend Erik "Gumby" Allgood's house on February 4, 2014, several hours after Felts' body had been found by a La Kiva barbecue cook, according to one woman who described both Flint and Felts as former work supervisors.
"[Authorities] had found something and he was being questioned," she told the court. "He said, 'They think it's me'... All of us were crying."
Flint went on to tell the group of friends Felts' blood was on his boots, according to multiple testimonies. None of the witnesses called to the stand on Thursday recalled Flint saying he had been attacked by Felts. Their relationship was described as "friendly" by at least four people.
"In terms of emotion and the best testimony, it's still coming," famed courtroom artist Pat Lopez told NewsWest 9.
Thursday marked her first day drawing Flint's trial. During her 35-year career, Lopez has documented thousands of trials with her colored pencils. She is one of three living court sketchers whose work has been displayed by the Library of Congress.
"I've been able to increase my awareness over the years to know what's going to happen next [in trial proceedings]," she said of her "courtroom artist's intuition."
Lopez noted at least one witness appeared likely to "have an outburst later on in the trial."
"Right now, they're quietly answering the questions they know need to be answered and so it feels guarded," she observed.
Flint's sister, Tiara Slack, has sat quietly through nearly a week of trial proceedings. She told NewsWest 9 it was "difficult" to hear the first-degree murder allegations against her younger brother, but could not discuss details of the case with media.
"We're just here to support Tony," said Slack. "He has a lot of love and support back home... We'll get through this."
His legal team's strategy currently focuses on a self-defense argument. Attempts to characterize Felts' supposed attack on him as drug-fueled have, so far, made little headway in court. Defense attorney Justin Low attempted to question multiple witnesses on Thursday about illegal drug use among Felts, Gumby Allgood and other La Kiva regulars. Judge Roy Ferguson repeatedly declared his line of questioning "irrelevant."
"We'll find a way to bring [this alleged substance abuse] up," Low was heard telling co-counsel outside the courtroom.
Meanwhile, lead prosecutor Rod Ponton was overheard saying "things are going very well" for their team and "moving along faster than expected."
"The prosecution table... is in housekeeping mode," said Lopez, after peering at them through opera glasses. "They're making sure all their ducks are in a row before they get to the hard stuff [like] forensic evidence. Then they'll be on the attack."
The medical examiner is expected to testify on Monday. Autopsy information will "probably be really juice [and mark] the turning point of this case," said a Terlingua resident observing trial proceedings.