Testimony shows defendant sought advice on his case from fellow inmate
Nov. 3, 2011 at 6:03 a.m.
Updated Nov. 4, 2011 at 6:04 a.m.
Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. Friday.
Presiding Judge: District Judge Skipper Koetter
Defense attorney: Jerry Clark
Prosecutor: Victoria County Assistant District Attorney Eli Garza
Daulton Jakob Buffum sought another inmate's advice in the Victoria County jail on whether to claim self-defense or innocence in a fatal stabbing last year, according to testimony given in day three of Buffum's trial.
Buffum, 21, is charged with murder in the stabbing death of 20-year-old William Lance Ponton at a house party in the 1500 block of West Beck in August 2010.
From the stand, Joe Cavazos told jurors the defendant, whose cell was next to his, initiated a conversation with him about a month ago regarding the murder case.
During the early morning conversation between the two men, Cavazos said Buffum shared the details of what happened the night of Aug. 3, 2010.
According to Cavazos, Buffum said that Ponton, who had brass knuckles in his possession, had been talking trash to him that night and that he did not want to take any chances, so he hit Ponton first.
The witness said Buffum told him that Ethan Ender, Buffum's cousin, grabbed Ponton by the throat and forced him to the ground where Buffum proceeded to stab Ponton.
"He said (he stabbed Ponton) eight to 11 times in the heart, but he wasn't sure," Cavazos said.
Cavazos said after retelling the events of the night, Buffum asked him for advice on whether he should deny the stabbing or if he should just claim it was self-defense.
Cavazos said the defendant told him Ponton had a history of hitting people with brass knuckles, so he was going to say Ponton hit him in the face first.
During parts of Cavazos' testimony, Buffum glanced over at his family members, grinning slyly.
Cavazos' testimony wasn't the first time in a trial.
A former member of the Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos street gang, Cavazos previously provided law enforcement with the names of those involved in the 2003 shooting death of 6-year-old Robert "Polo" Conchola.
Cavazos, who is in jail on multiple first-degree felony charges, told jurors that although he hoped to receive probation or have his pending cases dismissed, the Victoria County District Attorney's Office made it clear he would not receive any deals for his testimony in the Buffum case.
"I really don't think a man should take another man's life," said the witness when questioned about why he chose to testify without receiving anything in exchange.
Additional witnesses testified throughout the day's proceedings, mainly about the events that took place the night of the stabbing.
Among those witnesses was Kenna Rohan, the girl who was supposedly at the center of the controversy that started the fight.
According to previous testimony given in the trial, party-goer Jacob Reynolds had asked Buffum to stop Ponton with flirting with Rohan, who had previously dated Ponton and who was romantically involved with Reynolds.
Buffum proceeded to confront Ponton about the flirting, and Rohan said she witnessed Buffum throw the first punch.
Kyle Ender, Buffum's cousin and one of the owners of the trailer home, told jurors that he asked Ponton to leave after the first fight, even bringing out an unloaded gun to persuade him to leave the premises.
Ender said Ponton, who had openly admitted to being a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, soon began shouting death threats toward all the party attendees.
After the first fight ended, more fights broke out with the last ending in Ponton being stabbed.
During the altercations, a couple of other party-goers were injured by stray jabs, said party-goer Kacey Spence.
"I was trying to stop different people from bleeding at different times," Spence said.
The other injured people who testified said it felt like they had been hit with a bare fist and not the brass knuckles Buffum claims Ponton was wearing.
Chandler Wallace, who was in the yard during the stabbing, said Buffum showed no signs of remorse following the stabbing.
"He said he stabbed him four times," she said. "He was almost bragging, I guess."