breaking news

Appeals court halts, for now, abortion for immigrant teen in Texas

Strong words, and a ‘Big Lebowski’ quote, in Austin murder trial


10:40 a.m. Prosecutors in Steven Johns’ murder trial argued surveillance video shows he did not act in self defense when he killed Joseph Lapaso.

The video, taken from a smoke shop on Montopolis Drive, shows Johns stabbing Lapaso in the chest and then chasing him across the street and stabbing him two more times — once more in the chest, and in the back.

“That, ladies and gentlemen, is cold blooded murder,” prosecutor Rob Drummond said.

Drummond mocked the defense’s assertion that Johns had to defend himself against the taller and tattooed Lapaso. He said if that’s grounds for killing, “I’m going to be the only person alive in Travis County because I’m short and I don’t have tattoos.”

Johns’ attorney, Joe Sawyer, called Lapaso a “thug” who was “his own damn victim.” He also said there is not evidence supporting testimony from Johns’ girlfriend who said he was high on K2 at the time of the attack.

The jury has been deliberating since about 10:30 a.m.

Earlier: Closing arguments in Steven Johns’ murder trial will take place Thursday morning.

Johns, 19, is accused of stabbing Joseph Lapaso during a roadside argument in East Austin on July 1, 2016. On Wednesday, jurors saw surveillance video from a smoke shop that shows Johns taking a knife from his pocket and stabbing Lapaso in the chest.

Johns then chased Lapaso across the street and continued the attack. Lapaso collapsed in the smoke shop parking lot.

Johns’ attorneys admit the attacker is Johns, but say he acted in self defense.

On Thursday, state District Judge Clifford Brown sided against Johns’ attorneys who had requested jurors be able to consider lesser charges.

Johns chose to not testify at the trial.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Killeen police searching for man accused of sexually assaulting 7-year-old
Killeen police searching for man accused of sexually assaulting 7-year-old

Authorities in Bell County are asking for the public’s help in searching for a man suspected of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old. According to Killeen police, authorities obtained an arrest warrant for Antoine Latrell Williams on Wednesday. He is accused of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Police believe he may be driving a black Nissan...
Appeals court halts, for now, abortion for immigrant teen in Texas
Appeals court halts, for now, abortion for immigrant teen in Texas

One day after a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to allow an undocumented teenage immigrant to have an abortion in Texas, an appeals court temporarily blocked the order and set oral arguments for Friday morning on whether to allow the procedure to occur. The order by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia still...
AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL: Here’s what we’re watching today
AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL: Here’s what we’re watching today

The Austin City Council is back today with a busy agenda. The council could move forward on an anti-lobbying ordinance update that has been months in the making that revises the city’s rules on contractor interactions with the city. The rules have revolved around waste contracts; the updated ordinance would shorten the period in which bidders...
AUSTIN POLICE CONTRACT: Thursday is last day for deal before impasse
AUSTIN POLICE CONTRACT: Thursday is last day for deal before impasse

Austin police and city officials are concluding negotiations today for a new employment contract that could either result in a new agreement or a possible impasse that could have serious impacts on officers and the city. The talks have spanned several months for a new contract and have ranged from friendly to contentious at times. Issues that remain...
Texas congresswoman on Weinstein: Sexual assault prevention ‘as much the woman's responsibility’
Texas congresswoman on Weinstein: Sexual assault prevention ‘as much the woman's responsibility’

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, whose district covers part of the Dallas area, has weighed in on the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal. According to reports, Johnson puts some of the onus for preventing sexual assault on female assault victims. According to Fort Worth NBC affiliate KXAS, Johnson said: The TV station reports that Johnson...
More Stories