Accused courthouse shooter back in court

Bartholomew Granger

Bartholomew Granger, a 41-year-old Houston man accused of opening fire in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse on March 14, 2012, was back in court Friday, March 8, 2013.

Lawyers on both sides of the case hashed out at least 40 legal motions brought by Granger through his attorney, James Makin, in front of presiding Judge Bob Wortham. 

Wortham denied most of the motions, which included a request for separate juries for trial and sentencing. Granger’s somewhat bizarre motions also included requests that Wortham find the Texas death penalty and penal trial law unconstitutional. 

Wortham denied these requests. 

Granger is accused of opening fire on three women, including his daughter and ex-wife, Claudia Jackson, when it was clear they both would testify in a case accusing Granger of sexually molesting his daughter. 

In the hail of gunfire, bystander Minnie Sebolt was cut down a few feet from the courthouse doors, as Jackson — who was also struck by a bullet — attempted to run into the courthouse. Sebolt was later pronounced dead. Granger’s murder charge was eventually upgraded to capital murder along with at least nine other felony charges, including three counts of attempted capital murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. 

Police say Granger opened fire just before noon almost a year ago using a .40 caliber Beretta CX-4 Storm, a semi-automatic assault-like weapon. Three others were seriously injured by the gunfire, including Granger’s daughter, Samantha Jackson — who was shot multiple times and run over with a truck — and Sebolt, who was killed. 

Friday in court, Granger sat mostly silent, occasionally looking around the courtroom and rocking back and forth, eyes closed and head down. 

Granger’s attorney said he does not plan on an insanity defense.

Granger’s trial will continue in Galveston on April 2 when attorneys for both sides begin selecting a jury.

If convicted, Granger could face the death penalty.