Stellar Detective Work Helps Prosecutors in Texas Murder Trial

Nicole Mann is currently on trial in Lubbock for the murder of Robert Silva who was shot to death on June 10, 2014. The fact that Mann shot Silva is not in dispute, but the prosecution and the defense offered different narratives about why she did so. The prosecutor suggested that she shot Silva because he did not pay for her labor, while her lawyer argued that she shot the man accidentally while trying to protect her brother during a fight with Silva.

Testimony on day two of this trial featured the lead detective in the case. Sergeant Mike Counts testified that he detected injuries on Mann that were consistent with an assault on the day of the murder. The woman had injuries on her stomach, shoulder, eye, and neck. Upon questioning by the DA, Counts admitted that these injuries could have been sustained by fighting with another person and could be due to more than just an assault.

This detective played a key role in Mann’s arrest, since he stopped the car in which she was a passenger on the day of the murder. Upon questioning, Mann volunteered that there was a gun in the glove compartment. She did not have a permit to have a concealed handgun.

Testimony from Texas Ranger forensic scientist Philip Vandygriff described his recreation of the crime scene that indicated that the victim was in one of three positions on the floor when the bullet struck. He suggested that Silva was not a threat to the suspect if he was in any of those positions.

The toxicology screen of Silva complicates the trial, since he tested positive for meth. That could have caused him to become violent, and the prosecution argued that he could have been a threat to Mann’s brother.

Mann is on trial for a first-degree felony and faces a sentence that could range from 5 years to life if she is convicted. Clearly, the testimony from the lead detective will be pivotal to the trial’s outcome.