05/01/2006

Wounded Texas officer anticipated death

Copyright 2006 The Houston Chronicle Publishing Company
All Rights Reserved
 
Defense rests in capital murder case without calling witnesses
 
By DALE LEZON
The Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON, Texas — A Houston police officer told jurors Friday he thought about his wife and about dying as he lay bleeding from three gunshot wounds fired by a man he had pulled over last year.

Officer Ronald Pinkerton testified he had chased down and pulled over Robert Anthony Porteous, thinking the man had nicked his truck while speeding around him in north Harris County.

Porteous, 22, is charged with attempted capital murder in the Jan. 24, 2005, shooting that left Pinkerton with two broken arms and unable to work for months. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.

Porteous told investigators that he thought he was about to be the victim of a road-rage attack when he shot Pinkerton. He said he didn't know Pinkerton was a police officer until he heard news reports of the shooting. He said didn't report it because he panicked.

Prosecutor Luci Davidson, however, said Porteous knew he had shot an officer.

Closing arguments are scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday.

Porteous' attorney, Jim Leitner, rested his case Friday without calling any witnesses.

"We got all the evidence in with his statements to police," Leitner said.

Pinkerton, 42, of Spring, testified that he was in his police uniform and driving to work late at night in his personal vehicle, a Ford Explorer, when Porteous sped up behind him in a yellow car. The car whipped around him and the 11-year police veteran said he thought the car was nicking his SUV.

He said he followed the speeding car, which ran at least two red lights and a stop sign, to FM 1960 at North Eldridge Parkway, where it stopped. He said he walked up to the car with his gun drawn, but pointed down, and yelled at the driver to show his hands.

Porteous fired three times, hitting Pinkerton once in each arm and once in his upper side.

"My first thought was, `I'm going to die,' " Pinkerton testified Friday. "I thought about my wife, my kids. I prayed to God."

Porteous told investigators he thought he would be killed.

In a recorded interview with police that was played for jurors, Porteous said he thought Pinkerton was mad because he had passed the officer and that he would be killed when Pinkerton walked toward him with his gun drawn.

Porteous sped away after the shooting, leaving Pinkerton lying on the road.

Investigators reviewed surveillance tapes from a convenience store near the intersection where the shooting occurred and traced the yellow car to Porteous, who was arrested two days later at his home in the 13000 block of Kathy.

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