A Houston man was sentenced to death Tuesday in the fatal shooting of a 79-year-old woman outside a Southeast Texas courthouse.
Bartholomew Granger, 42, was convicted last week of capital murder in the slaying of Minnie Ray Sebolt. The same jurors who found him guilty deliberated for a little less than two hours before deciding on the death penalty.
"He is a non human. [He's] unforgiving. No remorse whatsoever," said Deborah Holst, Sebolt's daughter. “I can't talk to my mother. I can't hold, hug her. My grandkids and her great-grandkids cannot hug her and see her anymore. I have to go to her gravesite to be able to talk to her.”
Granger entered the courtroom blowing a kiss to the camera. He was gagged and handcuffed to his chair, but seven deputies still needed to hold him down as he screamed through his gag, calling his daughter a coward and thanking the jury for sentencing him to death.
Granger testified that he opened fire on his daughter outside the courthouse in downtown Beaumont in March 2012 but insisted he did not kill Sebolt. She was a bystander walking outside the courthouse, where Granger's daughter had testified against him in a sexual assault case. The daughter and her mother were among three women wounded in the attack.
Holst said she would attend his execution while holding a photo of her mother.
"This is going to be right here in front of my chest," she said. "I want that to be the last thing that he sees and know why he's here and know why he's getting that needle."
"Quite frankly, I have never seen a criminal defendant quite like this guy. He -- he was an evil person," said Ed Shaettle, the Assistant District Attorney of Jefferson County.
During the sentencing phase of his trial, Granger burst out in profanity-filled rants denouncing the verdict, his daughter, prosecutors and the judge. On Monday, as he testified — and against the advice of attorneys in the punishment phase — Granger called his case a "mockery of justice" and a "lynching." He was then restrained and temporarily removed from court.
Granger testified during the trial that he emptied the 10-bullet magazine of his illegally purchased semi-automatic carbine, saying he fired toward his daughter. Then, when he saw his daughter was still moving while lying in the street, he ran over her with his pickup truck. The daughter spent three months in a coma.
The trial was moved 75 miles to Galveston, so jurors didn't have to walk past the crime scene each day.
Granger's daughter, now 22, was among the witnesses who testified against him.
Prosecutors said Granger parked outside the courthouse for hours, then ambushed the women when they appeared at the courthouse in the late morning. Sebolt also was outside at the time, accompanying Holst to the courthouse. She was shot twice and died in the revolving door at the courthouse entrance.
Granger subsequently came under fire from police, abandoned his bullet-riddled truck about three blocks away, walked inside a construction business and took several people hostage. At some point he was wounded, eventually was overpowered by his captives and police moved in to take him into custody.