Capital murder trial delayed
Brandon Charles Cotton was to have gone on trial Oct. 9 in 20th District Court, Cameron, as one of two defendants in the April 25, 2011, shotgun slaying of 50-yearold Sandra “Sandy” Phillips of San Gabriel.
But defense attorneys on Friday asked for a continuance after learning lead attorney Russ Hunt Sr. will still be involved in a high-profile capital murder trial in Waco during October.
Hunt is defending Ricky Donnel Cummings in connection with a double slaying at Waco’s Lakewood Villas Apartments on March 28, 2011.
Testimony in that case was to have begun in September but has now been delayed until Oct. 22.
Jury selection in Cotton’s trial is scheduled to take at least six weeks, with the actual trial another two to three weeks, according to Prosecutor Kerry Spears.
New trial date is Jan. 7, 2013, which was originally the starting date for the trial of Tanner Aaron Baker, 19, of Rockdale, who is also charged with Phillips’ murder.
It’s now certain that trial will also be delayed, according to Spears.
Spears is seeking “life without parole” in that case.
Phillips died from two shotgun blasts, apparently as she answered the door of her home on FM 486, according to Sheriff David Greene.
Her husband arrived home after work that day in Rockdale to find his wife dead, their house ransacked and their 2011 Ford Mustang missing.
Within hours of the shooting, Baker was arrested after the Mustang was located at a Rockdale convenience store.
Cotton was arrested shortly thereafter, on foot, at a different Rockdale convenience store.
Investigators theorized the two, who were also suspects in two other vehicle thefts, saw the Mustang as they drove around the San Gabriel area looking for homes to burglarize.
Investigators believe both were armed, one with a 12-gauge shotgun, the other with a pistol, and Cotton is accused of firing the shotgun.