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Prosecutor: Camera puts Fort Worth man at fatal robbery

FORT WORTH -- A store surveillance camera captured a Fort Worth man standing at a counter at a Bedford store just minutes before a clerk was fatally gunned down last year, a prosecutor said Monday morning.

Prosecutor Sean Colston pointed out that that man was Jeff Dodson, 39, of Fort Worth

That opening statement came on the first day of Dodson’s capital murder trial in Fort Worth. He is accused of fatally shooting Gaurab Rajbanshi, 28, at D&S Food Mart, 1501 E. Pipeline Road in Bedford.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

In opening statements to the Tarrant County jury, Colston told jurors Dodson had entered the store with his brother.

“When police released the surveillance video to the media for help in identifying the men in the store, there was a man with a distinguished hat,” Colston said. “Witnesses later identified that man as Jeff Dodson.”

Defense attorneys did not make any opening statements Monday morning.

Testimony is expected to last several days in Criminal District Court No. 1.

The Bedford slaying

According to arrest warrants, the Dodson brothers entered the store about 4:30 p.m. June 11, 2007 and walked around inside before approaching the counter, one of them carrying a can of beer.

Within seconds, one of the brothers was behind the counter either stomping Rajbanshi or kicking at the cash register, according to the affidavits. The other brother was tugging on a cash register cord, trying to pull it away from the counter, the affidavits say.

After the robbery, Jeff Dodson told an accomplice that the trigger slipped as he pointed the handgun, the affidavits state.

A .380-caliber shell casing was found near Rajbanshi, who died from a shot in the head.

The arrests

Several people identified the brothers in video surveillance footage released to local media; the brothers and Hughes were arrested a few days after the slaying.

Sentenced and not guilty

Dodson’s brother, Theodis Dodson, 41, of Hurst, and a cousin also were charged in the crime.

Theodis Dodson, 41, of Hurst was sentenced to life in prison for capital murder in a plea agreement reached in March.

A Tarrant County jury found Fredrick Hughes, a cousin of the Dodsons, not guilty of capital murder last month. Hughes waited in a Suburban outside of the store.