A Texas man went on trial for murder this week for fatally shooting a Killeen Police Department detective nine years ago.
The defendant, 59-year-old Marvin Guy, faces one count of capital murder and three more counts of attempted murder, but he contends he was acting in self-defense when he fired the shots.
The Killeen Police Department (KPD) SWAT team arrived at Mr. Guy’s residence at about 5:45 a.m. on May 9, 2014, attempting to serve a no-knock warrant for suspected cocaine possession. Officers initially smashed in Mr. Guy’s first-floor bedroom window and struck at his front door with a battering ram. In the commotion, which took place nearly an hour before sunrise that morning, Mr. Guy opened fire, striking four officers and fatally wounding Detective Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie, who died two days later.
Police returned fire and Mr. Guy eventually surrendered. After gaining entry to his home, police seized a list of items including plastic bags, scales, a jar, and metal grinder with what authorities identified as marijuana residue, and traces of an unspecified white powder.
Mr. Guy was booked in Bell County Jail the day after the shootout and has remained there for nearly a decade on a $4 million bond. The case had seen multiple pre-trial delays in the ensuing years, with defense attorneys dismissed and legal battles fought over a number of pre-trial motions. Prosecutors agreed last year to waive the death penalty as a possible punishment if Mr. Guy is found guilty, the Killeen Daily Herald reported.
After years of delays, a Bell County court began jury selection last week and opening arguments began in the murder trial on Monday.
Mr. Guy’s defense attorneys argued that there was not enough light at the time of the raid for the defendant to clearly identify those breaking into his home as police, and that he opened fire believing he was under attack.
Prosecutors argued during opening arguments that an object blocking Mr. Guy’s front door indicated he intentionally barricaded himself in his home. Killeen police officer David Daniels, who was on the SWAT team and was shot during the raid, testified on behalf of the prosecution during the first day of trial.
“We were ambushed. He was waiting for us, barricaded the door, and attacked us,” Mr. Daniels testified, according to local TV station KWTX.
While Mr. Guy’s defense team argued that it was still dark and his porch light wasn’t on, Mr. Daniels testified that members of the SWAT team were exposed as they had to cross in front of the bedroom window to get to Mr. Guy’s front door and that there was indeed an overhead light. Complicating the conflicting claims, KPD officers did not have body cameras at the time of the 2014 raid, only microphones to record what was happening.
Marvin Guy’s Arrest
In an interview following his arrest, Mr. Guy told investigators “I was just trying to protect myself.”
“Nobody got on the loudspeaker and said, ‘This is the Police Department, come out.’ If they would have done that, I would have never grabbed a gun and started shooting. I thought it was some neighborhood kids trying to come in and do me harm,” he added during the 2014 pre-booking interview. “I just did what an average natural person would do.”
According to Mr. Guy’s account, shared in a 2017 New York Times article, once he heard shouts that it was police trying to enter, he dropped his gun and ran to a back door where more officers were attempting to gain entry and cut his feet on broken glass on that end of the house. Upon surrendering, he recounts saying “Don’t shoot me, I’m not armed.”
During Mr. Guy’s surrender, Officer Juan E. Obregon Jr. held Mr. Guy at gunpoint. According to accounts by both Mr. Guy and police officers, Mr. Obregon issued a warning, saying “if you move I will kill you.” Officers reportedly grew agitated after learning some of their own had been hit and, according to Mr. Obregon’s own statement, he struck Mr. Guy in the mouth with his gun before other officers pulled him away.
Officers also tackled Mr. Guy’s girlfriend, who was at his home at the time of the raid. She sustained two broken ribs as she was slammed to the ground.
Guy’s Defense Claims
Five days prior to the May 9, 2014, police raid, a neighbor across the street from Mr. Guy had experienced a break-in. A suspect had smashed in the window of the neighbor’s first-floor apartment and assaulted a woman inside, nearly choking her to death.
According to the 2017 New York Times article, Mr. Guy felt agitated in the evening before the raid and told his girlfriend that he didn’t feel comfortable staying at the apartment. He had been up at points in the hours before the police raid, at times driving around aimlessly and at other points napping in his car away from his home. He even reportedly visited his half brother, Fred Galloway, at his nearby home around 1 a.m. to share his concerns.
In his recollection to The New York Times, Mr. Galloway said “Ain’t nobody watching you, man. Now just go home.”
Mr. Guy reportedly did return to his home at about 3 a.m. and pushed a recliner up against the front door as an added measure to deter intruders before sleeping in a spare room near the front of his house with a pair of firearms close by: a 9 mm and a .45-caliber handgun.
Following his arrest, Mr. Guy admitted he’d used drugs, including on occasion cocaine, but denied he was selling at the time of the arrest. Mr. Guy, who had been convicted on past felony charges, was also legally prohibited from possessing firearms at the time of the May 2014 raid.
Prior to the start of his trial, Mr. Guy has floated a number of defense claims, including that Mr. Dinwiddie’s fatal gunshot wound may have been the result of friendly fire. Police reportedly fired at least 41 rounds in their exchange of fire. Mr. Guy claims he fired shots from his .45 while the round that struck Mr. Dinwiddie came from a 9 mm. He has even suggested police planted 9 mm rounds in his home.
Michael F. White, one of the defense attorneys Mr. Guy dismissed prior to the trial, told The New York Times he found no backing for his former client’s friendly-fire theory.
Mr. Guy, who is black, has also suggested racial animus played a role in his prosecution.
In a similar December 2013 no-knock raid in nearby Burleson County, a white defendant named Henry Magee fatally shot a Burleson County sheriff’s deputy. Prosecutors initially charged Mr. Magee with capital murder but Mr. Magee’s legal team argued self-defense, and the murder charges were dropped. Mr. Magee was ultimately convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison on a felony marijuana possession charge stemming from the raid, KBTX reported.
“This Henry Magee shot and killed a police to protect his lady and himself, but he is free because people found that the no-knock was the problem,” Mr. Guy told The New York Times in 2017. “This was a lynch mob. That’s what no-knock is.”