ANGLETON — Jarret Angst might have fired the shot that turned fatal for Don Weido, a man he didn’t know and is accused of killing for remuneration, prosecutors said Friday.
Angst, 22, pleaded not guilty to capital murder on Tuesday. A Brazoria County jury of 10 men and four women, two who will serve as alternates, saw crime scene and medical examiner’s photos Friday. Once the prosecution and defense rest their cases, they will decide whether Angst is guilty.
If convicted, Angst will automatically serve life in prison, since the state is not pursuing the death penalty. Angst has remained in the Brazoria County jail since Jan. 27, 2017, in lieu of a $1.5 million bond.
Stephen Heiman, 23, is serving a life sentence for his capital murder conviction while Rita Young, 59, awaits a September trail from Brazoria County jail, online records show. The three are accused of arranging payment for the killing of 49-year-old Weido, who was involved in a custody battle with Young’s daughter, prosecutors said.
On Thursday, defense attorney Robert Miller insinuated that Angst would do anything for his friend Heiman, who Angst often refers to during recorded interview as his “brother.”
On Jan. 22, 2017, the night before Weido’s death, the men drove by his Pearland home but didn’t get out of the car, Angst said during the interviews. Angst said it was wrong and he didn’t want to go through with it, but the next day he decided he’d promise to help his brother kill the man, he said.
They knew Weido’s 9-year-old son had been picked up by a woman on Friday, but they didn’t know who that woman was, Angst said.
During interviews with Pearland Police Detective John DeSpain, Angst noted Heiman’s favorite shoe brand, how much he weighs, that he is ambidextrous, that he always drives the car when they’re together and makes Angst do push-ups, which Miller asked DeSpain to confirm.
Angst said Heiman was unstable and he was afraid of what Heiman might do if he spoke to detectives, adding that he would give his life to protect his friend, Miller asked DeSpain to confirm.
But in the final version of the story Angst told, Heiman didn’t instruct Angst to enter the house, DeSpain confirmed to Prosecutor Jessica Pulcher.
When Pulcher asked whether the last four gunshots into Weido’s head were prompted by anything other than Angst’s own actions, 300th District Judge Randall Hufstetler sustained an objection from the defense, meaning the jury can’t consider the question or any answer they heard.
Weido was shot eight times, Galveston County Chief Medical Examiner Erin Barnhart said on the witness stand Friday. Some bullets entered and exited his body, some remained inside of his body and one entered, exited, then re-entered his body to create 12 wounds total, she said.
Angst turned behind him to look at the pictures of the body in the courtroom, while members of Weido’s family in the gallery kept their eyes fixed away from the screen.
The shots to Weido’s body were not necessarily fatal, but the shot that entered his head near his right ear went through both hemispheres of the brain, meaning it would’ve been fatal within seconds, Barnhart said.
Prosecutors allege Angst fired the final shots to Weido’s head.
The jury saw pictures Friday showing Weido’s wallets with cash, credit cards and numerous other valuables that remained undisturbed in the house after his death.
The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Monday in the 300th District courtroom at the Brazoria County Courthouse.