The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

October 7, 2006

Police officer takes stand in Bayer trial


GREENVILLE — Attorneys representing capital murder defendant Byron Trent Bayer continued Friday to try and poke holes in the investigation into the strangulation death two years ago of Patsy Bayer.

Greenville Police Juvenile Officer Victor Petrea, one of the first officers to arrive at Patsy Bayer’s residence in the 6500 block of Sayle Street the day the victim was discovered was on the stand Friday afternoon, the fourth day of trial in the case.

Petrea was assigned the task of videotaping the crime scene prior to still photos being taken inside the home.

Defense attorney Jack Paris noted how the photos revealed Petrea did not follow the standard practice of coverings his shoes and wearing gloves as he proceeded through the residence.

“Your basically leading the evidentiary parade, if you will,” Paris said.

Later, Paris asked Petrea what time he left the crime scene and Petrea said he departed for the last time at 4:33 p.m., based on the clock in his patrol car. Petrea said he was also not involved in the collecting of any evidence at the scene.

Paris then referred to reports filed by officers with the department’s criminal investigation division which indicated Petrea left much later in the day and was involved in collecting and handling of evidence.

Petrea insisted he left at the earlier time.

“If that is true, these logs must be incorrect then,” Paris said.

Bayer, 41, has pleaded not guilty to one count of capital murder in connection with the strangulation death of 63-year-old Patsy Bayer, his mother, in early October, 2004, while in the course of committing robbery.

Authorities believe Bayer stole his mother’s sport utility vehicle and used at least one of her credit cards before he was caught in the vehicle near a local motel early on the morning of Oct. 9, 2004.

Testimony is scheduled to resume Monday in the 354th District Court. The trial is expected to last at least one more week.