By JESSIE HORTON
STEPHENVILLE (October 14, 2015) — Families from both sides were in the 266th Judicial Courtroom on Wednesday as testimony resumed in the case of the State vs. Juan Reyes for the murder and hiding the body of Keith Lynn Wood.
Both the State and defense called a number of witnesses including Reyes himself, who after telling the court he never gets angry, got into an argument with Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash while on the stand, having to be reprimanded by Distrct Judge Jason Cashon.
“If I have to tell you one more time, I’m going to sit you down over there (indicating his seat with his attorney) with a gag in your mouth, do you understand?” Cashon said Wednesday afternoon.
Reyes continued testimony throughout the afternoon, even being recalled at the end of the day to clear up questions raised by other witnesses.
The State’s key witness, Lily Marie Floyd, took the stand for the better part of the morning, giving emotional testimony regarding her participation in the crimes on October 7, 2013.
Through tears, Floyd told the jury of hearing the gunshot, seeing Wood fall to the ground when shot, wrapping his body in a shower curtain, stuffing it in the trunk of a borrowed car and driving to Proctor to bury the body.
After returning to court from the morning break, Floyd was advised of her rights to an attorney and that statements she made in trial she could lead to later charges since she and the district attorney had not made a deal.
“He (Wood) must have just hit the ground when I opened the bedroom door because the body kind of bounced like it’d hit hard and then this shuttering sigh came out of him and I knew I’d just seen the life leave him,” Floyd told the jury of Wood’s death through tears. “Later, when they (Reyes and Maldonado) were talking about what to do with the body – either to cut it up or to burn it – I told them we should bury him.”
Nash asked Floyd why she would suggest such a thing and she advised it was because she wanted him (Wood) to be able to go home to his family some day and that wouldn’t happen if they destroyed the body.
“He (Reyes) just kept saying ‘no body, no gun, no case’,” Floyd told the court. “I knew if I left or didn’t stay with Juan (Reyes) no one would ever know where the body was or what had happened. I just kept thinking he (Reyes) could hurt me or my family, too. So I stayed and I told him we were in this together.”
Floyd told the jury that she and the two cousins wrapped the body in a shower curtain and sealed it with duct tape and Maldonado and Reyes loaded the body into the trunk of the car she’d borrowed, driving it out to Proctor where she and Reyes buried the body.
“At one point, when he (Reyes) was putting dirt in on top of Woody (Keith Wood), he told me the ground would rise up as the body decomposed like a dog’s would do, so I had to get in the hole and stomp the dirt down,” Floyd recounted. “The whole time I’m in that hole, I just kept thinking he could shoot me right here and bury me with Woody and no one would ever know where we were or what happened to us.”
But Reyes didn’t shoot Floyd and the two of them buried Wood’s body in the dirt near a barn on Reyes’ family’s property. Officers testified that Floyd would later draw them a map and take them to where Wood’s body was located.
“Without her help, we might not have ever found him,” Stephenville PD Investigator Curtis Dees said in his time on the stand.
After the State rested, defense attorney Andrew Ottaway called Reyes, Maldonado, Tammy Smith, Stephenville Police Department Lt. Don Miller and recalled Reyes and Maldonado Wednesday afternoon.
Reyes told the same basic story as Floyd, the only other direct witness to the murder, but some of the major details varied including who wanted to call the police – both saying they suggested it and the other saying no. Both recounting fear of Wood, who was a known member of the Aryan Brotherhood, possibly even a captain in the gang. Reyes said he was worried for himself and his family when questioned by his own attorney about not calling the police. However, when Nash questioned him, Reyes repeatedly said he was not afraid of Wood or what his fellow brothers might do in retaliation.
Witnesses testified about various happenings in the neighborhood around Maldonado and Reyes’ home including an incident where the two men and two other neighbors pulled weapons on one another in the middle of the street over who had the right to a lawn mower stolen out of Fort Worth. One witness described Wood as “downright evil,” but said Reyes had a reputation for pulling knives and guns on people.
“It all comes down to meth, if there was no meth involved I doubt any of this would have happened,” Miller said. “But meth does things to men and they do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. We know meth was involved here, but that doesn’t change the fact that a man lost his life.”
The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday in the district courtroom in the courthouse annex.