A Travis County jury found a man guilty of murder Monday in a 2014 home invasion in East Austin over money and drugs.
It took the jury about an hour of discussion before concluding that Allen Townsend, 28, was one of two men who burst into an apartment on Springdale Road and robbed and shot LeQuince Tomlin on Nov. 25, 2014.
Though the suspect’s faces were covered by masks, a witness in the apartment at the time of the shooting testified that he recognized their voices as belonging to Townsend and Terry Stowers. Townsend often stayed in the unit directly above where Tomlin stayed at the Walnut Creek Apartment.
In Monday’s closing arguments, prosecutor Guillermo Gonzalez said the eyewitness testimony alone was enough to convict Townsend. But additional evidence included Townsend using a fake PIN number to place a phone call from jail to discourage a second witness from appearing at trial to testify.
That witness, Deandra Thompson, who is Townsend’s cousin and was Tomlin’s romantic partner, testified on the opening day of trial that prior to the shooting she had seen Townsend in all black and wearing a ski mask — clothing that matched a suspect with Townsend’s short body frame. Townsend also had been asking around for a gun earlier in the day, she said.
The shooting may have been over drugs, Thompson testified. She told the court that Townsend believed Tomlin may have taken some of his cocaine. The defense and the prosecution both agreed that Townsend and Tomlin dealt drugs — and Tomlin may have even bought marijuana from Townsend that day.
The men who entered the apartment demanded money from Tomlin and tried to steal a computer. But they had trouble leaving — perhaps because the knob to the front door was loose — and the gun one of them was holding went off. Gonzalez acknowledged the discharge may have been by mistake, but advised the jury to not “trouble yourself over the issue of whether it was accidental or on purpose — it doesn’t matter.”
Townsend will be sentenced at a later hearing by Judge Karen Sage.
Stowers is scheduled to go to trial in September.