Breckenridge Texan

September 22
17:36 2017

Billy Ray Minkley Jr.

Emmie Moon, girlfriend of confessed killer Billy Minkley Jr., took the witness stand when court resumed Friday afternoon, Sept. 22, in the Elton Carroll “E.C.” Blair Jr. murder trial at the Stephens County courthouse.

Minkley is one of the co-defendants in the 2015 murder of Leah Martin in Graham.

Moon testified that Minkley had insisted to her that he was not involved in Martin’s murder, right up until he pleaded guilty this week. During her testimony, Moon frequently broke down in tears when asked questions about situations in which Minkley apparently had lied to her and she had only recently learned the truth.

David Alex of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office led the prosecution’s questioning of  Moon. Alex has been appointed as a special prosecutor to assist 90th District Attorney Dee Peavy.

“Would you agree that there was quite a bit about Billy (Minkley) that you didn’t know about?” Alex asked.

“Apparently,” Moon answered.

Throughout Moon’s testimony, she contradicted several things that Minkley had testified about Thursday and earlier Friday. She also confirmed that, during her first interrogation with the police in 2015, she lied and tried to cover for Minkley. However, she said that when she was re-questioned on two later occasions, she told the truth, as she knew it at the time.

At about 3 p.m. Friday, the State called Armonique Jefferson of Wichita Falls to the stand. She testified that she is Ross Hellams’ cousin. Hellams has also been charged with Martin’s murder.

Jefferson testified that in May 2015, Hellams had asked her to call Martin and make threatening phone calls. She confirmed that she had made the calls to both Martin’s personal phone and to the phone at E.C.’s Auto Repair shop, where she worked. The shop is owned by Blair.

In the calls, Jefferson accused Martin of being a home-wrecker and made threats against her. Jefferson said that after the first call, Hellams asked her to call again and offered to pay her $20, which he sent via Western Union.

During the cross-examination, defense attorney David Wimberley asked her abou

t Hellams’ personality and reputation. “Ross (Hellams) doesn’t tell the truth, does he? He’s a drug addict, isn’t he? You’ve seen him manipulate people, haven’t you?”

Jefferson answered affirmatively to all three questions.

Hellams was arrested and later indicted for Martin’s murder and has remained in the Young County Jail since Aug. 10, 2015.

District Judge Stephen Bristow closed the court session at about 3:30 p.m. Friday due to scheduling issues with other witnesses. The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 25.

Original story from earlier today:

Defense attorney David Wimberley continued his cross-examination of Billy Minkley Jr. most of Friday morning in the E.C. Blair trial being held in the Stephens County District Court Room.

Blair is on trial for the 2015 murder of Leah Martin in Graham. Blair, who owned an auto repair shop and was having an affair with Martin, is facing allegations that he hired Minkley and Ross Hellams of Graham to kill Martin because she had become a problem in his life.

Much of this morning’s testimony focused on inconsistencies between Minkley’s 2015 statements to investigators and his 2017 confession. In 2015, he admitted to being at the shop on the night Martin was killed, but he maintained that Blair and Hellams murdered the 22-year-old. He also admitted, at that time, to being involved in the disposal of her body.

In January 2017, Minkley had been charged with capital murder in a Fort Worth case involving the killing of three people. Minkley confirmed Friday that he did not change his story and confess to being the person who killed Martin until after he was facing a possible death penalty in Tarrant County and had an opportunity to make a plea deal that would remove that punishment option.

Throughout the morning, Wimberley questioned Minkley about his various statements to police.

After Friday’s lunch break, Minkley’s girlfriend, Emmie Moon, is expected to testify.


Story by Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

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