Fort Worth woman says neighbor who killed her fiance is public danger

A woman whose fiance was killed by his neighbor says she fears for her life now that the man who shot him is out of jail.

Mark Jabben, 46, was booked into the Tarrant County Jail on May 10, charged in a separate shooting in which he’s accused of injuring his girlfriend.

Jabben is charged with aggravated assault in that shooting. Court documents say the victim is Jabben’s girlfriend, Theresa Ryan, 56.

Jabben was released from jail Thursday after posting a $4,000 bond, according to court records.

On March 25, Jabben was questioned by police after he shot and killed Kevin Battle, a neighbor he had been feuding with for weeks, said Talydia Adams, Battle’s fiancée. Police have said Jabben claimed self-defense, and the case will be presented to a grand jury.

Adams said Jabben is a threat to the community.

“I want him charged on murder, even child endangerment, but I want him back in jail,” Adams said. “Not out on bond, no bond period.”

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Mark Jabben Tarrant County Jail Courtesy photo

Kim Cole, the attorney representing the Battle family, emailed a statement saying the community is not safe as long as Jabben is free.

“We hope this brings new light to our dad’s case,” the statement attributed to Battle’s family said. “We are disappointed in the decision of the Police Department to allow him stay on the streets after my dad’s murder, and hate that this had to happen to another person for him to be arrested. Based on this new information it’s a true reflection of Mark Jabben’s character and he needs held fully accountable for his actions.”

Police responded to a duplex in the 7600 block of John T. White Road and found Battle lying on the ground in front of Jabben’s door with a gunshot wound to the head. The medical examiner ruled Battle, 57, was shot twice.

“The detectives found that the victim and the suspect had been arguing for over a week, and that on the date of the shooting, Jabben made a comment to the victim’s grandson,” Officer Jimmy Pollozani said in an email to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Battle went to Jabben’s front door to confront Jabben about speaking to his grandson, and a very brief argument ensued. Battle is believed to have attempted to enter into Jabben’s residence during the argument, when Jabben fired three shots, striking Battle in the head.”

Police have said Battle wasn’t armed.

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Kevin Battle

“Jabben was interviewed in reference to the shooting, but was released due to the self-defense claim and the physical evidence located at the scene which corroborated that claim,” Pollozani said.

An official with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office said that they cannot comment on a pending matter, as did Judge Mark Thielman, who set Jabben’s bond. Jabben could not be reached for comment.

‘It’s scary’

Adams says she lives across the street from Battle and feels as though she may be in danger. This is a man who should not be in possession of a weapon, said Donnell Ballard, a Fort Worth community activist.

“It’s scary because it’s like a joke to him,” Adams said. “He’s shooting people and he feels like he can just get away with it.”

When officers got to his girlfriend’s home in the 1000 block of Sycamore Drive, an arrest warrant says, Jabben opened the door and was immediately asked where the gun was. Jabben gave officers the weapon and then said the shooting was an accident. Ryan was found in the bedroom of the apartment lying on the bed, bleeding from her left shoulder.

There were also two knots and blood on her head, police said.

An officer asked Ryan what happened and she responded, “He pointed a gun to my back,” the affidavit says. “(Ryan) did not want to elaborate after that,” the affidavit says.

However, after being taken to the hospital by MedStar, Ryan said Jabben hit her with the gun twice before she was shot. The affidavit also says there were inconsistencies in Jabben’s story about what happened.

“I believe that (Jabben) intentionally shot her,” an officer said in the affidavit.

Battle’s son, Kevin Battle II, said his father was holding the hand of his 5-year-old grandson when he was shot. He said he was able to see his father and son during the confrontation, but because of the duplex’s layout, could not see Jabben.

Jabben and Battle’s front doors are on the same wall about a foot apart, Battle II said. After he saw his father fall to the ground, Battle II said, he grabbed his young son and ran to a neighbor’s house, where he called 911.

Battle II said that a week before the shooting, Jabben called his father by a racial slur.

Battle II said a police report was made about the incident. The Star-Telegram requested records from that call and found that there wasn’t a written report made by the officer who responded. However, according to the 911 call obtained by the newspaper, Jabben reported that he had been assaulted by Battle.

When police got to the duplex, they downgraded the call from an assault to a disturbance. No body camera footage or narrative of what happened that day is available, according to the police department’s records unit. Kevin Battle II said his father’s relationship with the neighbor was up-and-down.

On April 3, homicide detectives met with the district attorney’s office. The DA agreed to present the case to a grand jury.

“The DA’s office agreed with detectives that Grand Jury review is the appropriate path moving forward with the case,” Pollozani said. “This is the same process and standards the Homicide Unit has followed in similar cases where self-defense claims can be corroborated by physical evidence.”

In the weeks following the shooting, Battle’s family and activists in the community protested in downtown Fort Worth at least twice. They demanded the district attorney bring charges against Battle.

This story includes information from Star-Telegram archives
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