A 20-year-old Bryan man was convicted Thursday for his role in the murder of Billy Menard Jr., a 21-year-old who was killed in October 2011 over about $160 worth of marijuana.
Travis Alan Carroll was convicted of the first-degree felony by a Brazos County jury, which spent about two-and-a-half hours deliberating on day three of the murder trial.
Carroll was found guilty of supplying the shotgun used to kill Menard, who was shot in the head through the front door of his Bryan apartment in the early morning hours of Oct. 16, 2011.
According to testimony, a .22 revolver used in the incident also came from Carroll's house, and his purpose for accompanying the two men who shot at Menard was to provide directions to the apartment where the murder took place.
Carroll had been to the apartment with his girlfriend about five hours before to sell Menard about three-ounces of low-quality marijuana.
Menard said he was keeping the weed and not paying for it, at which point, Carroll testified, he dragged his girlfriend out of the apartment, fearing one of the two men at Menard's had a gun on him.
On the way home, Carroll called one of his co-defendants, Clayton Thompson, to help him retrieve the weed and later went back to Menard's apartment with Thompson and a third man, Christopher Hernandez.
Thompson, 25, was convicted in November of firing the shotgun round that caused Menard's death and is serving a 45-year sentence.
Hernandez, 22, was convicted of murder by a jury for using the .22 handgun to shoot at Menard's door and sentenced to 37 years in prison.
Carroll faces five to 99 years in prison, although the jury could choose to probate his sentence based on his lack of previous felony convictions.
The punishment phase of Carroll's trial began immediately following the verdict, at which point prosecutors Kara Comte and Danny Smith called on three witnesses, including Menard's mother.
Leticia Menard, of Brownsville, said she was at her other son's football game when she got a call that Billy Menard had been killed.
"Billy was my first child," she said with tears in her eyes. "I have a void in my life. I just feel like my life's not complete anymore."
She described her son as someone with a "good heart" who was always doing things for other people.
Leticia Menard acknowledged her son had faults but said "she was very hopeful he was getting himself together" and would become a successful adult.
On cross-examination, the victim's mother was asked about a 2007 felony drug conviction for which she's on probation until 2014. Leticia Menard told jurors she was ordered to prison rehabilitation and has been sober since. She's also earned her paralegal degree in the meantime, she testified.
In addition to the victim's mother, state attorneys also presented evidence that Carroll's murder bond was revoked in September 2012 when he tested positive for marijuana.
Defense attorney David Barron called on six family members or close friends of Carroll's to testify as character witnesses.
Carroll's grandmother, Della Carroll, cried throughout her testimony about the defendant, whom she said she has always been very close to.
She insisted her grandson was harmless and had gotten mixed in with the wrong people. Since going to jail, he had earned his GED and had "given his life to the Lord," she said.
Della Carroll pleaded with jurors to opt for probation instead of prison time.
"I don't want my grandson to go to prison and be raped or killed because he squealed on the other two," she said.
Travis Carroll, who testified that Thompson is a member of a white supremacist gang, has been getting death threats from "skinheads," Della Carroll said, although jurors were instructed to disregard the comment based on an objection from Smith.
The defendant's father, aunt, a family friend for whom Travis Carroll worked and two of his grandmother's close friends also took the stand in his defense.
Jeffery Duncan, a former corrections officer, said the defendant used to do labor work for him.
When asked about his reaction to the news that Travis Carroll had been charged with murder, Duncan said he thought the defendant's father was trying to pull a prank on him at first.
"I said, 'Yeah right, there ain't no way,'" Duncan said, adding shortly afterward, "it's not in him."
The trial will continue Friday morning in the 361st District Court.