DA to fight overturn of Tyler Clay murder for hire conviction

Local

The McLennan County District Attorney’s Office says it will fight to have the capital murder conviction of Tyler Clay affirmed, after a Tenth Court of Appeals Judge Wednesday reversed it.

Executive Assistant District Attorney Tom Needham said, “We anticipate a Petition for Discretionary Review of the 10th Court’s reversal of the Tyler Clay conviction will be filed with the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Court of Criminal Appeals has the discretion to hear, or decline to hear, the appeal.

“If the appeal is heard by the Court of Criminal Appeals, we anticipate the 10th Court’s decision will be reversed and the Tyler Clay conviction affirmed. Under whatever circumstance, should the Tyler Clay conviction be reversed by a final decision, the charge against Mr. Clay of capital murder will again be presented to a McLennan County jury and we anticipate Mr. Clay will again be convicted by a jury of his peers.”

In 2018, A jury convicted Clay of soliciting a man to kill Joshua Pittman who was shot and killed at the Pick N Pay Food Mart at 504 Faulkner Lane, December 23, 2015.

Investigators say Clay wanted Pittman dead because he set up Keith Spratt to be robbed and also robbed Clay. A jury sentenced him to life in prison.

Judge John E. Neill ruled the original trial judge made a mistake by disqualifying Clay’s co-counsel, Jessica Freud. Prosecutors moved to have her disqualified because Freud had previously represented David Mims, who was a potential witness in the case.

Clay appealed his conviction on 22 issues, including the question about his co-counsel.

The initial trial had first been delayed when a key witness, who was also in federal custody, was taken back by the feds as a result of a paperwork problem.

There was also a call for a mistrial after a piece of video evidence that was shown during final arguments was not redacted.

Earlier in the trial, the judge had ruled that part of the video was not to be shown.

The wrong version of the video was played the second time during the final arguments.

Before they began deliberating, the jury had been ordered to disregard what they had seen in the video.

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