Bell County, Tx (FOX 44) – A 27th District Court Jury has returned a verdict of guilty in the murder trial of 35-year-old Jason Ricardo Baez who had been accused in the February 2018 shooting death of Lamar Marcell Roberson in Killeen.
The jury deliberated late Thursday afternoon, then returned Friday morning for the punishment phase, assessing him fifty years in prison after Baez elected to have the jury determine his fate rather than the judge.
The jury also issued a finding of “sudden passion” in the commission of the murder.
The trial came after multiple delays, with Baez remaining in the Bell County Jail since his arrest following a short high-speed chase.
He had also been charged with evading arrest with a motor vehicle.
Killeen Police were dispatched to the intersection of Franz Drive and Culp Avenue on February 28, 2018 in reference to a 9-1-1 call about shots fired. When officers arrived, they found a man lying in the roadway suffering from a gunshot wound.
Officers immediately started to perform life-saving measures until paramedics arrived. The victim was transported to the Carl R. Darnall Medical Center in critical condition. The preliminary investigation revealed the victim and suspect were involved in an argument which escalated to the shooting.
Witnesses told officers the suspect fled the area in a gray two-door sedan at a high rate of speed. Officers found the suspect vehicle traveling eastbound on Rancier Avenue, and attempted to conduct a traffic stop – but the driver refused and a pursuit ensued.
An arrest affidavit stated that the suspect vehicle went through the intersection of 38th Street and Rancier Drive traveling at a speed in excess of 90 miles per hour in a 40-mile zone.
During the pursuit the suspect vehicle reached speeds in excess of 140 miles-per-hour.
An officer finally performed a maneuver whereby he struck the rear of the fleeing vehicle, causing it to go out of control and coming to a stop near the intersection of Rancier Avenue and Shims Boulevard, where officers were able to take the suspect into custody.
The 32-year-old male victim was identified as Lamar Marcell Roberson, of Killeen. He later died of his injuries about and hour and a half after the shooting, and was pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown.