UPDATE: The jury in the 354th District Court returned about 8:45 p.m. Thursday with a sentence of life in prison for Chacey Poynter. A full story is being prepared for Saturday's weekend edition.
As she took the witness stand Thursday evening after being found guilty 0f murder, a tearful Chacey Poynter again denied that she and her lover, Michael Garza, ever planned to kill Robert Louis Poynter III.
“He (Garza) was just supposed to talk to him, that’s it,” Chacey Poynter said.
Earlier in the day the jury in the 354th District Court didn’t believe the defendant, convicting her on the murder charge, but not finding her guilty on the count of capital murder.
Testimony in the punishment phase of the trial in the courtroom was still underway as of press time Thursday.
Chacey Poynter reiterated the statement she made after her arrest following the death of Robert Poynter on the night of Sept. 9, 2016, that even while texting her husband that she loved him and wanted to work through her marital problems, she lured him to an isolated spot on Hunt County Road 2595 so that she and Garza, with whom she had had sex hours earlier, could tell Robert Poynter that Chacey wanted to move out to live with Garza.
“He wasn’t supposed to kill him,” Chacey Poynter said.
Thursday began with prosecutors attempting to convince jurors to convict Chacey Poynter on a charge of capital murder, claiming Robert Poynter was killed so that she could benefit from his insurance.
“This is a pre-meditated murder folks,” Assistant District Attorney Calvin Grogan said during opening arguments, noting that the Poynter’s had a prenuptial agreement which would have left Chacey with nothing. “Chacey Poynter knows the only way she gets anything … is by death.”
Defense attorney Frank Hughes painted a portrait of Robert Poynter as a mentally and emotionally abusive husband who, like his wife, was involved in multiple affairs. Hughes said their plan that night was to tell Robert that Chacey was moving out.
“She had no idea Garza was going to shoot Robert,” Hughes said. “The motivation had absolutely nothing to so with money.”
Fellow defense counsel Scott Cornaud recalled how Chacey Poynter was hysterical when officers with the Royse City Police Department found her that night, and was in shock during several hours of interviews.
“It is not a reaction of somebody who planned a murder,” Cornuaud said, adding that Chacey Poynter had made a lot of mistakes in her marriage. “She’s done a lot of stupid things. She did not kill Robert Poynter.”
Assistant District Attorney Jeff Kovach said that the evidence showed Chacey Poynter brought Garza along to the murder scene, knowing he was armed a shotgun and was likely to use it.
“She’s no different than the driver in a drive-by shooting,” Kovach said. “She’s guilty.”
The seven woman, five man jury was presented the case for deliberations at 11:45 a.m. Thursday and returned with a verdict about four hours later.
Poynter was still facing a sentence of from five to 99 years to life in prison for the conviction on a charge of murder.
Garza, of Quinlan, was found guilty by a jury following a two-week trial in July 2018 on a charge of murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
Robert Poynter had named his wife the primary beneficiary of his life insurance policy, which would pay a $680,000 death benefit, but prosecutors have claimed Robert Poynter was planning to divorce his wife after becoming aware of Chacey Poynter’s cheating.
Testimony during the trial revealed Chacey Poynter had been involved with at least three men, including Garza, in the weeks prior to the shooting death, while also claiming she still loved Robert Poynter.
Royse City Police Department officers were dispatched at around 10:45 p.m. on the night of the killing to an area on FM 35 near Hunt County Road 2595 regarding a woman in the roadway attempting to stop vehicles.
Officers spoke with Chacey Poynter, who was reported to have said her husband had been shot and was in a vehicle located along the county road.
Officers placed Chacey Poynter into a police unit and went to investigate and found Robert Poynter in the vehicle deceased with a single shotgun blast to the head.
The next day officers interviewed Chacey Poynter for some nine hours, later finding a link to a photo from Garza’s Facebook page on her cell phone which resulted in the issuance of a probable cause affidavit for Garza’s arrest two days later.