In opening arguments of Chacey Poynter's capital murder trial Tuesday, prosecutors told jurors that the Royse City woman only married Robert Poynter for his money, then carried on multiple affairs behind his back -- and became desperate when he planned to divorce her.
"This is why she killed him when she killed him," Assistant Hunt County District Attorney Jeff Kovach said. "This is a case of sex, lies, money and murder."
Following opening arguments, testimony began as prosecutors seek a capital murder conviction for Chacey Poynter, who pleaded not guilty in connection with the September 2016 shooting death of her husband Robert Louis Poynter III, a University Park Fire Department captain.
The trial in the 354th District Court is scheduled to continue this morning and may last up to two weeks.
Chacey Poynter was originally indicted on a count of murder until a Hunt County grand jury upped the charge and issued the capital murder indictment April 26, alleging she and Michael Glen Garza killed Robert Poynter for the victim's money.
Chacey Poynter will not receive death by lethal injection if convicted of capital murder, as Hunt County District Attorney Noble D. Walker Jr. has waived the death penalty option in the case. If convicted, she faces a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Walker has said the higher-level charge was sought after his office learned of additional evidence not previously submitted by law enforcement.
The capital murder indictment alleges that Chacey Poynter and Garza shot and killed Robert Poynter with a shotgun "for remuneration, namely: money and financial assets and benefits owned or controlled by the victim."
Among the items of evidence subpoenaed by prosecutors are records from the University Park Fireman's Relief Fund.
Garza, of Quinlan, was convicted of murder following a two-week jury trial in July 2018; he was sentenced to 99 years in prison. An appeal of his conviction is currently pending before the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas.
Prosecutors say he and Chacey Poynter were involved in an affair and jointly planned the shooting death of Robert Poynter on Sept. 9, 2016, in Royse City.
In his opening argument Tuesday, Kovach told jurors they would soon see more than 1,100 text messages Chacey Poynter sent to her alleged lovers between June and the date of the murder -- many of which detailed her desire to end her marriage.
"That works out to about 140 a day," Kovach said. "She hoped he would die in an accident."
When that did not happen, he told the court, "she took matters into her own hands."
Robert Poynter had named his wife as primary beneficiary of his life insurance policy, which would pay a $680,000 death benefit. But Robert, Kovach said, was becoming increasingly aware of Chacey's cheating.
"On Sept. 8, he's contacted his divorce attorney," Kovach told the court, prompting Chacey Poynter to call Garza. Together, the two planned out Robert's death. "You'll see that this was a premeditated murder."
On the day of Robert's death, the prosecutor said, Chacey Poynter contacted her husband, asking for one more chance to work things out. He agreed to meet her at the Jack In The Box in Royse City. Then he received a call from Chacey: Her Jeep was stuck, she said, and she needed help. Robert drove to her location.
"And what's there was Michael Garza with a shotgun," Kovach said.
Royse City Police Department officers were dispatched at 10:45 p.m. that night to an area on FM 35 near Hunt County Road 2595 after receiving a 911 call about a woman in the road attempting to stop vehicles.
Officers spoke with Chacey Poynter, who allegedly told officers that her husband had been shot and was in a vehicle parked nearby along the county road. Officers placed her into their vehicle, went to investigate and found Robert Poynter in his vehicle, deceased, from a single shotgun blast to the head.
The next day, officers interviewed Chacey Poynter for some nine hours, later finding on her cell phone a link to a photo on Garza's Facebook profile. That and the ensuing investigation of their connection resulted in Garza's arrest two days later.
The homicide was the first reported in the city in several years, the prosecutor told the court. "These things just don't happen in Royse City."
Poynter's defense team declined to issue an opening statement Tuesday.
Poynter, 32, remains in custody at the Hunt County Detention Center on $500,000 bond.
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