Trial for 2nd man indicted for Allen Plumbing murder starts

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Tyrone Sommers

A Sherman man indicted for the 2017 Halloween murder at Allen Plumbing in Denison will go on trial this week.  Tyrone Dewayne Sommers, 51, is the second person to face murder charges in Robert Allen's death. 

Back in October of 2018, Sommers was identified by the Denison Police Department as the suspect in the Oct. 31, 2017 shooting death of Allen.

Allen’s body was found inside his family business Allen Plumbing after police responded to a call about shots fired at that location. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Allen’s death a homicide.

Information released by the Grayson County District Attorney’s Office at the time of Sommers' arrest said Allen was killed while Sommers was committing an aggravated assault or deadly conduct and while Sommers was attempting to flee from committing or attempting to commit a felony.

Earlier this year, Allen's grandchild's father Timothy Barnum was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison after jurors found that he set up the killing.

In that trial, the prosecution said Barnum wanted Allen dead because Barnum believed Allen to be the driving force behind the criminal charges Barnum faced with regard to Allen's daughter and behind her refusal to let Barnum see his child.

In the 15th state district court Monday, Judge Jim Fallon presided over the first jury trial to be held in that courtroom since the pandemic began as Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Kerye Ashmore told jurors the state plans to prove that Sommers conspired with Barnum to kill Allen, possessed the gun that killed Allen and then disposed of that gun.

Ashmore said they don't have a lot of witnesses to the conversations that took place in which Barnum and Sommers talked about killing Allen, but they do have phone records that prove that Sommers was in the area around Allen Plumbing on the night Allen died. They also have statements that both Barnum and Sommers made to others after the killing that implicate themselves and each other. 

Sommers' attorney Jeromie Oney told jurors to pay attention to the specifics in the case and to the things that some of the witnesses say because in his opinion, their stories have changed a number of times since they first started talking to police. He pointed out that one of the state's witnesses, Barnum's father, perjured himself, and then was offered a deal to testify against Barnum and Sommers to make those charges go away.

Oney said the property that the state contends his client got for killing Allen is not in his client's name or possession. He also told them that the person who has already been convicted of the crime has shown in the past that he is not afraid to shoot someone because he shot his own father. 

The first witness to testify Monday was Robert Allen's wife Stacy who talked about finding him dead on the floor at Allen Plumbing on that Halloween night in 2017.

The trial continued Tuesday.