3:35 p.m. update: Video from a patrol car played in court on Tuesday showed Hutto police Officer Michael Moehring yelling commands at Colby Williamson before arresting him in 2015 on a Hutto street.
“Hit the dirt,” Moehring says on the video with his gun drawn as he approaches Williamson in the 100 block of Lucy Cove in Hutto. “I will shoot your ass if you make one move, I will shoot you — do you understand?”
Williamson — who could only be heard on the video at that point but not seen — says “Well, I don’t care. Shoot me, shoot me because I’m having a (expletive) heart attack.”
The video was shown Tuesday during Williamson’s trial in which he is accused of running over Hutto police Sgt. Chris Kelley with the officer’s patrol car in 2015. Williamson, 29, is charged with first-degree murder and faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted.
In the video, other officers tell Moehring where Williamson was running to. The video later shows Moehring and Sgt. Conor Mitchell — who arrived a few moments later — escorting a handcuffed Williamson to a patrol car. While they were sitting in the patrol car, Williamson asks how Kelley is doing. “Please tell me he’s alright,” Williamson says. “Is he OK?”
The video also caught the sound of Moehring crying after the arrest about what had happened to Sgt. Chris Kelley.
Moehring had initially seen Williamson speeding on FM 1660 and had chased him before losing him in a Hutto neighborhood, he testified Tuesday. He then saw a car crash into a fire hydrant and Williamson running away from it, he said.
Other officers who arrived to help Moehring had to leave when they heard that an officer — who turned out to be Kelley — was down, Moehring said. He said he heard on the radio that Williamson was still fleeing so he headed to a street where a friend of Williamson’s lived and found Williamson there.
1 p.m. update: Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick told reporters during a lunch break in the Colby Williamson trial why Williamson was not charged with capital murder in the killing of Hutto Police Sgt. Chris Kelley in 2015. A capital murder charge in this kind of case would have required that someone intentionally meant to kill a police officer, Dick said. He said authorities don’t think that’s what happened. Williamson was in the process of committing another felony when Kelley was killed, Dick said.
A prosecutor said earlier that Williamson was trying to steal Kelley’s patrol car.
Two witnesses who knew Williamson also testified Tuesday morning.
Alex Arnold, who was a tow truck driver living in Hutto when Colby Williamson went to visit him a few hours before Kelley was killed, testified Tuesday that he knew Williamson because he had bought methamphetamine from him. He said he had invited Williamson to his house because he had some computers for Williamson to repair.
Arnold said he allowed Williamson to drive Arnold’s Mitsubishi and followed him in another car to a gas station in Hutto. Arnold said he told Williamson to try out the Mitsubishi’s engine by flooring the accelerator on the way back from the gas station. He said when he saw Williamson speed up the car on FM 1660 he also saw a Hutto police car traveling north. The patrol car turned on its lights and began pursing Williamson but Williamson didn’t stop, Arnold said.
Arnold said he couldn’t follow the chase initially but by the time he caught up to it he saw his Mitsubishi crashed into a fire hydrant in someone’s front yard. “The car was totally smoking and I had no idea where Colby was,” Arnold said. “I never saw him running away.”
Williamson’s girlfriend at the time, Alainnah Ervin, also testified Tuesday saying she was living with him at his grandmother’s house in North Austin in 2015 and they were doing methamphetamine on a daily basis. She said she and Williamson had gotten into a fight before they went to Arnold’s house together on the day the sergeant was killed.
Ervin said she stayed behind at Arnold’s house while Williamson drove away in the Mitsubishi. After she found out from Arnold that Colby had crashed the Mitsubishi she called Colby and he talked to her briefly, she said. “He sounded winded and said ‘I can’t talk right now’ and told me to come outside to the stop sign,” she said. She said she went outside and saw Williamson running toward her but he turned down a side street and she wasn’t able to reach him again on the phone.
Earlier: The trial of a man accused of running over a Hutto police sergeant with the officer’s patrol car in 2015 began Tuesday with a prosecutor and a defense attorney disagreeing about what caused the sergeant’s death.
Colby Williamson, 29, is charged with first-degree murder and faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted in the death of Hutto police Sgt. Chris Kelley on June 24, 2015. He will be the first person tried in the county for the killing of a law enforcement officer in more than 80 years, according to the district attorney’s office.
Williamson County Assistant District Attorney Dee McWilliams said in his opening statement that Williamson ran over Kelley’s head and crushed his skull.
“The evidence that Colby Williamson committed felony murder is overwhelming,”said McWilliams.
Defense lawyer Joe James Sawyer said the 11 fractures to Kelley’s skull were caused when the officer hit the ground during a struggle with Williamson. Sawyer said Kelley had a tire tread mark on one of his legs.
Sawyer said Williamson was not “seeking to avoid responsibility” but was asking the jury to calmly listen to the evidence and “then reach a conclusion.”
McWilliams also painted a picture during his opening statements about what happened in the hours before the sergeant was killed. He said Williamson and his girlfriend had been using methamphetamine early in the morning at Williamson’s grandmother’s house in North Austin where Williamson lived.
Williamson then went to a tow truck driver’s house in Hutto around 8 a.m. to pick up some computers. Williamson knew the driver because he had sold methamphetamine to him, McWilliams said. Williamson saw a Mitsubishi Eclipse in the tow truck driver’s driveway that he wanted to drive, the prosecutor said.
Williamson ended up driving the Mitsubishi to a gas station and decided on the way back he wanted to test it by gunning the engine on FM 1660, McWilliams said.
When Williamson floored the accelerator, a Hutto police officer — not Kelley — was driving by and began to chase him, the prosecutor said. Williamson would not stop and drove away, ultimately crashing the car into a fire hydrant before he ran away.
Kelley, who had been called to the scene, confronted Williamson on Decker Drive and managed to put one handcuff on him before Williamson flipped the sergeant on his back and ran to Kelley’s patrol car, McWilliams said.
Kelley also ran to the patrol car and tried to get control of it, but Williamson put the car in reverse and the sergeant was struck by the car’s door and fell down, McWilliams said. Williamson then turned the car around and ran over Kelley’s head, the prosecutor said.
Prosecutors filed a notice in July that if Williamson is found guilty, they intend to introduce evidence in the sentencing phase that he took methamphetamine three times in the 17 hours before Kelley was killed.