At the McLennan County Courthouse Monday before the 10th Court of Appeals, Walker County District Attorney David Weeks took issue with the fairness of the judge’s instructions that might be given to the jury in the capital murder trial of John Ray Falk, Jr. Under the Texas Law of Parties, Falk is being charged for his role in the death of TDCJ Officer Susan Canfield during a 2007 escape. Jerry Duane Martin, who escaped with Falk, stole a truck and rammed the horse Canfield was riding causing her death.
The jury instructions at issue, which have four parts the state has to prove for Falk to be found guilty of Canfield’s murder and receive the death penalty, say that Falk should have anticipated that Jerry Duane Martin would kill the officer with a vehicle by hitting her horse.
Austin Attorney Rick Wetzel, who represents Judge Ken Keeling, said the state did not prove some of the indictment elements, specifically that Falk killed Officer Canfield when Martin has been proven to be the driver, which is the reason the jury instructions were written that way.
The appeals court is expected to hand down a ruling on the issue today.