A Texas man’s accomplice shot and killed a police officer during a robbery. Now, one will head to prison forever despite never pulling the trigger.
Recently, in Tarrant County, Texas, Judge George Gallagher sentenced Timothy Huff, 36, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the shooting death of Fort Worth Police Officer Garret Hull. Though Huff did not pull the trigger, he was found guilty and convicted by a jury of capital murder.
On Sept. 13, 2018, Hull and his colleagues with the Operations and Surveillance Team had been monitoring the Los Vaqueros Bar while anticipating it was going to be robbed by a gang known as the Cantina Bandits.
The criminal enterprise, which included Huff, Dacion Steptoe and Samuel Mayfield, had been involved in a string of robberies targeting Hispanic-owned businesses for three months, reported The Dallas Morning News. Prior to the incident, the trio had robbed a group of people who were grilling outside and shot a resident, Pascual Soria, in the back. Soria survived the ordeal and testified at Huff’s trial for the state.
According to prosecutors, on that fateful day, the victim and his fellow officers realized the bandits were actively robbing patrons at the bar. Then, they called for back-up while waiting for the trio to exit the bar. Soon, they chased after the bandits, leading Hull to cross paths with Steptoe in a driveway on May Street. Then, Steptoe shot the victim in the head. Eventually, Steptoe was shot and killed by another officer.
Hull was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead the next day.
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Huff and Mayfield were later arrested. At the time of his arrest, the defendant was in possession of a gun, a stolen purse stuffed with cash, and black gloves.
Prosecutors argued Huff was culpable for Hull’s murder despite not pulling the trigger. Using his statement to authorities that he instructed his crew not to shoot anybody before robbing the bar, they claimed the defendant knew there was a possibility someone might get killed during their activities.
On the other hand, Huff’s defense lawyer, Patrick Curran, argued the defendant was not aware that Steptoe had shot Hull during the chase. In addition, the defense claimed their client did not shoot the victim and should not be held responsible for the murder.
“Garrett Hull should not be dead. But Timothy didn’t do it,” said Curran, according to Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Huff apologized to the victim's family and told them if he had the option to change the events that took place, he would change it.
Though prosecutors sought the death penalty, the jury opted for a life sentence instead.
After Hull’s death, the unit unofficially changed its name to the Garret Hull Operation and Surveillance Team (GHOST).
Mayfield is still awaiting trial.
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