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Man accused of killing stepfather, family tells jury he's guilty
By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas - A trial began Wednesday for a man accused of helping his mother kill his stepfather back in 1977.
After it became a cold case for 36 years, investigators decided they had enough evidence to charge Roger Evan Garrett, 55, with murder for the death of his stepfather, Maj. Chester Garrett.
One of the first witnesses to take the stand Wednesday was Roger Garrett's ex-wife, Theresa Heffelfinger. The two were married from 1992 to1993.
"At first he told me (his dad) had been murdered. He said he was attacked by some gang when he was out running," said Heffelfinger. Just four months into their marriage, however, Heffelfinger told the jury they started arguing and talking about divorce. That's when Roger Garrett's story changed.
"He broke down and told me about the murder that he and his mother had in fact killed his father. Roger had hit him with a bat. Then his mother went into rage and stabbed him," said Heffelfinger.
Heffelfinger told the jury she believes it happened in the kitchen.
"I didn't doubt his story," said Heffelfinger.
Another witness was Roger Garrett's brother, Patrick Garrett. He told the jury, during the night of his fathers murder, his mother sent him to the movies. It's something he said was unusual since it was a school night.
Patrick Garrett claimed abnormal behavior continues into the next day, when he cleaned up red stains in the garage.
"It turned chalk white and gave off a smell," said Patrick Garrett. It wasn't until 13 years later, however, that Patrick Garrett asked his brother about their father's death. His story matched Heffelfinger's.
First he said his brother hit their dad with a baseball bat. Then "mom took a knife, dagger, and stabbed him... They dragged him into the garage... They put him in (his) Volkswagen, drove to Avenues of America and left him in the car." When approached by investigators between 1990 and 2006, Patrick Garrett said he lied about his knowledge.
"I couldn't do it at that time. Sorry," said Patrick Garrett.
It wasn't until Jan 2013 that Patrick Garrett confessed to police. His confession prompted police to charge Roger Garrett and his mother, Lisbeth Garrett, with murder.
Patrick Garrett, as well as Heffelfinger, told the jury Lisbeth Garrett plotted the slaying and Roger Garrett assisted.
Lisbeth Garrett's trial is scheduled to begin early next year. If convicted, Lisbeth Garrett and her son Roger Garrett could each face five to 99 years in prison.
Roger Garrett's trial continues Thursday morning in the 168th District Court.