BELTON — The defense team for a man accused of shooting and killing a Killeen Police Department SWAT team leader in 2014 filed a flurry of pre-trial motions that were considered by the 27th Judicial District Court on Wednesday, including discovery motions questioning the legitimacy of the no-knock raid.
Judge John Gauntt approved some of the motions filed by attorney Carlos Garcia and denied others in the Marvin Louis Guy capital murder case.
Guy, 53, is in the Bell County Jail on a $5.5 million bond on four capital felonies: three charges of attempted capital murder of a peace officer and one capital felony charge of capital murder of a peace officer.
He is accused of shooting Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie on May 9, 2014, when officers tried to serve a no-knock warrant at Guy’s home on Circle M Drive in Killeen.
Dinwiddie, a respected detective with the department, died in a hospital two days later.
Many of Garcia’s motions on Wednesday were motions to compel discovery, but he also mentioned, in court, additional motions to suppress consent and a motion to produce a witness.
“We’ve requested multiple pages of discovery about a Killeen police officer (who is being investigated by KPD’s internal affairs division) that would impeach that officer at trial and impact the investigation,” which his team just learned about, Garcia said. “I want to allow the defense team to look at personnel files of SWAT team members, KPD investigators and Bell County Organized Crime Unit individuals who worked on this case because I don’t trust the district attorney to decide what is exculpatory or mitigating.”
The state countered that it would not release any information without due process.
“We want to wait until a final decision is made in the internal affairs investigation,” said First Assistant District Attorney Paul McWilliams, in court. “I’m sure Mr. Garcia would allow a police officer to have the same due process he would enjoy.”
McWilliams insisted that personnel records already had been handed over to the court.
“The court has reviewed them and decided not to turn them over to the defense,” he said.
Garcia said he wanted records including written reprimands, not just internal affairs investigations.
McWilliams suggested turning over all records would set a “dangerous precedent.”
Gauntt said he would take another look at the personnel files in his possession, but that the defense “has gotten what (they) need.”
Garcia also requested after-action reports, debriefing notes and recordings of interviews of SWAT team members involved in the incident.
“We only have summaries from KPD but...we want specifics about the raid and what happened that night,” Garcia said.
McWilliams said he has handed over to the defense all the information from KPD that exists, including reports from at least three people, and Gauntt denied the defense’s motion.
“We need to know if they followed standard operating procedure,” Garcia said when asking for KPD training videos, “including when no-knock warrants are used with a flash-bang device.”
“We need to know if they did this right,” he said. “Twenty people attacked that house that night.”
Gauntt initially denied the motion but changed his mind when Garcia narrowed his request to actual raids, not training materials, within six months of the incident.
Garcia also asked for documents to clarify the planning procedure used before no-knock warrants are approved, and questioned if KPD changed its tactics after Dinwiddie’s death.
“We have suspicion that the operation in 2014 did not follow protocol,” Garcia said.
Gauntt granted that request.
McWilliams said it already is documented why it was a no-knock warrant, and that the decisions made by commanders likely are “subjective.”
Garcia continued on the same track.
“We have some documents (about policy changes in the department), but we need the whole picture to see if excessive force was used,” he said. “If they issued a stand-down order, if they stopped doing no-knock raids for a period of time...”
McWilliams insisted, as he did multiple times during the hours-long hearing, that “those records just don’t exist.”
The defense made other motions Wednesday, including several for interview notes and recordings, information used by KPD commanders to produce reports on the Guy case, photos and other audio-visual recordings, the witness and expert list, as well as a list of “snitches.” Gauntt decided to remind the state of their continued obligation to disclose evidence to the defense.
“It’s amazing how many jailhouse snitches rise up close to a trial,” Garcia said. “There should be no surprises.”
McWilliams agreed to continue to provide the evidence as it arises.
The next step before a trial can begin is sending out jury questionnaires before an anticipated trial date in March, according to previous courtroom discussions.
Officials can’t talk about the case outside of court due to a gag order from the judge.