BELTON — A 27-year-old Waco man convicted of capital murder in the 2012 shooting death of Belton resident Stephen Wright is seeking a new trial.

A jury convicted Chance Deallen Keller of capital murder in July. Since then, an inmate at Bell County Jail has contacted the district attorney's office with a claim that he heard a fellow inmate brag about killing Wright and getting away from it.

On Friday, presiding Judge Martha Trudo heard testimony from the inmate, Leslie Whiteley, who stated in a letter that Killeen resident Brand Hargett laughed when a news story about Wright's murder came on the television at the jail.

Whiteley said Hargett bragged that the wrong man had been convicted and that he murdered Wright accidentally in a drug deal that went wrong.

Keller took the stand Friday in a tense hearing in which one spectator had to be thrown at after yelling that Keller was getting inadequate representation from his court-appointed lawyers.

"I'm not an angel," Keller told the court. "I do do bad things, but I'm not a murderer."

Hargett, 22, testified as well, asserting his Fifth Amendment rights when questioned Friday. He is serving a 10-year sentence after his probation was revoked on convictions of two charges of burglary of a habitation.

Trudo will decide whether Keller will get a new trial on either Monday or Tuesday.

Contact Philip Jankowski at or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.

(1) comment


Chance has already been convicted and is just trying to create reasonable doubt. He did the crime and he needs to do the time. Everyone here in Belton that knows him knows he is heartless and cares about no one but himself.

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