Christopher Harrell will likely not face murder charges this year in the 59th State district court in the death of 54-year-old Michael Lindsey.
On Thursday, 59th State district Court Judge Larry Phillips granted an agreed continuance in the case to have some blood found on a shirt tested. The shirt is evidence in the case, Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Britton Brooks said. Harrell’s attorney Tim Brown said he understands that the state plans to use the bloody shirt at trial and the defense can’t prepare for that without having it tested.
In an exchange with the judge, Harrell said he could tell them to whom the blood on the shirt belongs. Brooks quipped that he would be glad to hear it and Phillips cut off the exchange.
Phillips said he was not happy about having to postpone the trial, noting that Harrell, 56, has been in jail for more than 400 days awaiting trial.
He was jailed in October of 2017 after the Sherman Police Department identified Lindsey, 54, as the person found deceased in a home in the 1500 block of West Gandy Street in Denison.
Lindsey was reported missing by his daughter after he failed to show up at work for several days and could not be contacted. Denison Police Lt. Mike Eppler said Lindsey had been shot twice in the chest. Authorities said Harrell and Lindsey had been neighbors and Harrell was stopped, the same week that Lindsey’s daughter reported him missing, in Lindsey’s truck. Eppler said Harrell identified himself as Lindsey and produced Lindsey’s driver’s license. The officer who stopped Harrell took him at his word and released him.
After the traffic stop, the officer did a little bit more digging and was able to contact a family member to see whether that was indeed Lindsey and was told it was not. Harrell was subsequently located at a hotel in Mount Pleasant and arrested on a charge of fraudulent use of identifying information.
In court on Thursday, Harrell said he would leave it up to Phillips whether the trial was pushed back. Harrell said he doesn’t like having to wait for his day in court, however, he understood the need.
Harrell said the state “has dropped the ball numerous times” in the year that he has been in jail.
Phillips reluctantly agreed to the continuance but said he wants to try the case sooner than the March date that Brooks said the Texas Department of Public Safety techs suggested for the return of the evidence to Grayson County.
The judge said he would have his office call DPS and see whether the department could get the test done with more haste.
Just as it looked like the hearing might be over, Brown said he had another issue to take up. He said jail staff had entered his client’s cell and taken things that were privileged because they concerned his communications with his client. He explained they were notes he had asked his client to take as Harrell examined the discovery in the case.
Brown said the items were taken after his client was charged with what he thought was a felony over something that occurred while Harrell has been in custody. The attorney said he also wanted to ask that he be allowed to get photographs of injuries on his client’s person that resulted from the incident at the heart of those charges.
Phillips agreed to see to it that those photos were taken. He said he would advise both sides when he heard from DPS and settled on a date to reschedule the trial and any pretrial hearings that may need to be held.