"Then Curtis hit the man with the jack. The man said, 'What do you want?'
"And I told Curtis, "Don't his him no more,' and Curtis his him again. Curtis kept hitting him... about eight time," Valerie Denise Rencher testified late this morning in the capital murder trial in 85th District Court of Curtis Paul Harris.
Harris, 17, one of three young men charged with the killing of Tim Merka, 27, of Mumford, last Dec. 11 along Sandy Point Road.
Others held in the Brazos County jail without bond are the defendant's brother, Danny Ray Harris, and James Charles Manuel, 19, all of Bryan.
As Miss Rencher was testifying, District Attorney Travis Bryan III took an automobile jack shaft previously introduced into evidence -- held it above his head and rammed the jack to the floor of the courtroom, asking the witness if that was how Curtis Harris hit Merka.
She replied it was.
District Judge W. T. McDonald Jr. overruled defense attorney Tyler Moore's motion for a mistrial because of the prosecutor's actions.
Miss Rencher said the four of them went riding earlier in the evening. Their car hit a sign and fence along Sandy Point Road, then the car stopped near some houses further down the road.
The car would not start when they got ready to leave, she went on. Shortly thereafter, Danny Harris flagged down a truck, asking for help.
She said the white man in the truck -- who was alone -- got his jumper cables and worked unsuccessfully for 20-30 minutes trying to get the car started.
Houston lawyer Richard Mayhan, Miss Rencher's attorney, testified the district attorney has offered, as part of a plea bargain, to recommend a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment in exchange for her testimony as a state witness.
Miss Rencher has not been charged with any crime, but is being held in custody under orders of the Brazos County Court-of-Law.
Mayhan refused to tell Moore how much he is being paid and who has paid him his fee. As far as he knows, Mayhan declared, his fee has not come from his reward money posted after Merka was slain.
Mayhan also said he has not agreed to plead his client guilty to any charge. He also said agreement with Bryan does not imply Miss Rencher is guilty of any crime.
A petition has been filed to certify Miss Rencher as an adult, Mayhan told the jury.
Department of Public Safety chemist Joe Hermanowski told the jury Wednesday afternoon he found type B human blood and light brown hair on an automobile jack shaft, jack ratchet and hammer submitted to the laboratory for examination.
The blood, the chemist testified, matched a specimen from the victim's body.
Hermanowski admitted under cross examination it was impossible to say the blood on the items came from Merka. Persons with type B blood formulate about 10 percent of the population, he declared.
Bryan Police Department juvenile officer Ted Tumlinson said he found an abandoned pick-up truck about 9 a.m. Dec. 12 on Old Mumford Road. The rear wheels had been spinning in the dirt, he testified, and the truck was in gear, but not running.
Pathologist Lee told the jury Merka was killed with a bumper jack shift and ratchet and a hammer, according to his autopsy on the body.
"I found cut wounds on the right and left sides of his head, forehead, face, and body," the doctor told the jury, "and from the shapes of the wounds and my experience and judgement, Tim Merka was kill by these instruments," said Lee, pointing to the items area introduced into evidence by the prosecution.
Lee also testified that he determined Merka died about 10:30 p.m. Dec. 11.
The pathologist was qualified as an expert by McDonald over objections by Moore as to the doctor's qualifications. Lee said he has performed about 600 autopsies and holds three degrees from U.S. and international universities.
Sheriff Bobby Yeager concluded his testimony late Wednesday morning, saying he learned over Rencher's alleged involvement from a "confidential source." That source is a candidate for reward money posted by friends and family of Merka.
Texas Ranger Bob Connell testified he sent seven or eight sets of fingerprints to DPS laboratories. The prints were taken from the car found next to Merka's dead body.