Jurors in the 59th state District Court spent most of Tuesday listening to Christopher Harrell talk about the death of Michael Lindsey.
Lindsey's decomposing body was found on Oct. 2, 2017 at a house in the 1500 block of West Gandy in Denison. Just how he got there and what happened to him was the subject of at least half a dozen different things Harrell told law enforcement authorities from the Sherman and Denison police departments and Texas Department of Public Safety.
Though he did eventually admit to smashing Lindsey in the head with a rock a number of times, Harrell pointed to another person as firing the gunshots that Lindsey suffered to his back.
In his opening statements, Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Britton Brooks cautioned the jury that they would hear numerous explanations from Harrell. Brooks said Lindsey had a job at a local big box retailer and place to live at a hotel in Denison. He also had a truck and some new friends who had introduced him to methamphetamine. One of those friends, Brooks said, was Harrell.
In court, Harrell sat emotionless as he watched the stories he told via recorded interviews change with the interviewer. He readily admitted that instead of doing the simple things that real estate agent Christina Moon had asked of him in exchange for allowing him to live in her home for more than a month, Harrell had planned to burglarize her and take her things that he didn't sell at a garage sale. He had also forged and cashed two checks in her name worth a total of about $700 and he was allowing other people to use her home as a place to party and use drugs.
One of those people, it turned out, was Lindsey. Police located Harrell in Mount Pleasant on Sept. 29, 2017, where he was using Lindsey's name. He also had Lindsey's truck and it was full of items that he had taken from Moon's house. Police were looking for Harrell after Lindsey's daughter reported him missing because he had failed to report to work and had missed a date to meet with her.
Harrell's statements said Lindsey had been hanging out at the house on Gandy with him and a woman named Amy. In one of the interviews, Harrell said he came downstairs to find Lindsey shot and dead. He said that was on the day that Moon was due to return from Mexico, so he loaded up the truck and left.
After police showed him photos that proved Lindsey was alive and withdrawing money from his bank account that morning, the story changed and Harrell said Amy had shot Lindsey. When asked for a reason for the shooting, Harrell wavered, depending on the version of the story, between it having had something to do with the drugs the three were buying together or the jewelry Amy was determined to steal from Moon's house.
Either way, Harrell said Lindsey didn't die right away from the gunshots so they smashed him repeatedly in the head with a large rock.
Defense attorneys Tim Brown and Jeromie Oney urged the jury to listen for the inconsistencies in more than just his client's statements. The defense attorneys said the prosecution wants the jury to just overlook the things that don't add up unless they point at Harrell as the killer. Brown said his client changed his story to try to provide the law enforcement authorities with the information they seemed to want at each interview. Brown also asked the jury to watch for evidence they don't get, like body camera footage from the police officer who first encountered Harrell in Lindsey's truck. He told them reasonable doubt is all over the place in this case.