AUSTIN, Texas – A man accused of killing six people in two states called a friend the night of the first five killings and said he had "done something bad and there was no going back," the friend testified Monday as the man's murder trial began.
Bill Brinlee said that Paul Devoe was upset but calm and in control when Devoe called him repeatedly the night of Aug. 24, 2007.
"He said that he was on the run, he had done something bad and there was no going back. ... He'd done something he wished he wouldn't have done. It was hard for me to believe," said Brinlee, whose gun Devoe allegedly stole and used in the killings.
Devoe, 46, has pleaded not guilty to capital murder in the deaths of Haylie Faulkner, 15, and Danielle Hensley, 17. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Travis County prosecutor Gary Cobb told jurors during his opening statement Monday that they would have no doubt after all the evidence is presented that Devoe murdered the two girls.
Prosecutors say Devoe fatally shot 41-year-old Michael Allred at the bar he worked at in Marble Falls, then drove to the home of his ex-girlfriend, Paula Griffith, in Jonestown and shot her, her 48-year-old boyfriend, Jay Feltner, her daughter, Haylie Faulkner and Haylie's friend, Danielle Hensley.
Devoe is only on trial for the girls' killings. It's common in Texas for prosecutors to split multiple charges into separate trials. Prosecutors can still seek trials for the remaining killings.
Brinlee testified that Devoe told him he'd gone to the bar to kill another ex-girlfriend, but his gun jammed and the bartender got in his way.
Another witness, Sharon Wilson, said Devoe had been her house guest in the weeks leading up to the killings, but that he "snapped" when she asked him to leave. She said he held a gun to her and to his own head, and then began shooting up her house. She said she fled with her dog and hid in a cactus patch.
Devoe, became visibly upset in court and dabbed his eyes with a tissue as Wilson described his relationship with Haylie.
"He cared very much about her," Wilson said.
Prosecutors say after the killings, Devoe fled Texas for Long Island, N.Y., where he grew up and where his mother lived. They say he had car trouble near State Line, Pa., shot and killed 81-year-old widow Betty Jane Dehart and stole her car.
Devoe, who had worked as a handyman on painting and carpentry jobs, was arrested in Shirley, N.Y., on Aug. 27, 2007.
Defense attorneys declined to make opening statements Monday.
Cobb said he expected to offer up "several dozen witnesses," including some from New York and Pennsylvania. He said the trial would take at least two weeks.
Devoe spent several weeks in a Texas psychiatric hospital before being declared competent for trial in March.