It’s been a long seven years for a Killeen man who is facing the death penalty, as three trial dates have come and gone and the coronavirus continues to create uncertainty in the courts. Garett Galloway, the younger brother of Marvin Louis Guy, is calling for a resolution of the case.
“I’d like people to keep Marvin and the officer’s family in their prayers, because it’s a tragedy,” Galloway said. “Whatever the outcome is, some people won’t be happy and there will be tears on both sides. There are no winners in this. Seven years — it’s time to wrap it up and move forward.”
Guy now is 56 years old, but he was still in his 40s on May 10, 2014, when he was booked into the Bell County Jail after allegedly shooting a Killeen Police Department SWAT team leader, and three other officers, when they attempted to execute a no-knock raid at Guy’s home.
Guy has said that he fired in self-defense.
Det. Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie was critically wounded and died on May 11, 2014.
Galloway told the Herald that Guy does on occasion talk about that day when everything changed.
“He’s expressed to me over and over that he didn’t mean to ever disrespect the police because if he had known it was the police, the whole outcome would have been different,” Galloway said. “Now that the city council has banned no-knocks, it’ll keep officers and citizens safe, and prevent something like this from happening in the future.”
A listening ear
Galloway said his brother is able to call him at least once a week, and that Guy often talks for 19 of the 20 minutes allotted.
“I just listen to him and try to understand what he’s going through,” Galloway said. “Everyone needs someone to talk to, and he uses the opportunity to vent his frustrations. He tells me, ‘Hey, bro, I don’t know what I would do without you.’ But that’s what family is for: he’s my brother and I’ve missed him for the past seven years.”
Galloway said that Guy’s health has continued to deteriorate after he was diagnosed with back issues.
“It’s been very tough, and every day probably seems like an eternity,” he said. “He spends a lot of time studying the law. He’s dealing with it the best way he can. I can be a listening ear, but I know it’s agonizing for him to be sitting in there.”
He said his brother is optimistic about the new team of defense attorneys who were assembled last month, but still anxious about the future.
“It’s hard for him to trust the legal system, when it has failed Black people in the past,” Galloway said. “I think Marvin is actually lucky to be alive, when there are so many instances of trigger-happy police.”
Of course, Galloway knows his big brother was no angel, but he said that Guy had to grow up fast after losing his father and mother while still young.
“I think some of the decisions he’s made through the years are the result of learning from the streets,” Galloway said. “But before this happened, he had met a lady, they were happy and he was smiling all the time, and he’d started to turn his life around. I thought they were going to get married. And then on May 9, 2014, everything changed.”
He keeps in touch with Guy’s girlfriend, who has not forgotten that day, either.
“She’s still shell-shocked,” Galloway said.
What’s taking so long?
Through the years, three trial dates have been set in the case but never materialized. No new trial date has been set in the case but status hearings occur about once a month.
So, what’s taking so long?
A succession of defense attorneys, hundreds of pages of motions, evidence and attachments for the judge to consider and even a re-indictment of Guy’s case in 2018 are some reasons for the delay.
Then COVID-19 put the brakes on all jury trials in Texas courts last year.
Comments during recent hearings on the case indicate that attorneys, and the district court judge who will be presiding, all are eager to get the case in front of a jury.
“I’m as frustrated as I can get over the situation and I can’t do squat about it,” said Judge John Gauntt, who presides over the 27th Judicial District Court, during a hearing on Jan. 20. “All of the courts in Texas are under these orders and we haven’t had a jury trial since before March of last year.”
Another reason for the delay is because Guy has dismissed three prior teams of defense attorneys along the way.
Just last month, Guy’s family hired a fourth defense team consisting of Innocence Project of Texas Executive Director Mike Ware, who will be first chair, and Justin A. Moore, a criminal defense attorney from Dallas, as second chair. Last week, two more defense attorneys were added to the team.
As if that weren’t enough, the case could be complicated by the state’s inability to locate the confidential informant whose alleged testimony led to the no-knock warrant being approved by a judge.
Guy’s first attorney requested information about the confidential informant in a motion for discovery filed on June 3, 2014, and subsequent attorneys requested similar information. The state has been unable to locate that person even though the informant could be considered a “necessary witness,” according to a motion for discovery filed with the court on Jan. 7, 2019.
“The state has disclosed the identity of the confidential informant to the defense through discovery; however, the defense team has been unable to determine his present location in order to issue a subpoena compelling his attendance ...” according to the motion.