On the day he became a suspect in the slaying of his pregnant girlfriend, Amos Joseph Wells III told the mother of his 7-year-old daughter in a phone call that he had one bullet left and enough gas to drive 97 miles, according to testimony Wednesday in his capital murder trial.
Valrecia Brooks testified that she received two phone calls from Wells on July 1, 2013, the day he became a suspect in the slayings of his pregnant girlfriend, Chanice Reed, 22; her mother, Annette Reed, 39; and Chanice Reed’s 10-year-old brother, Eddie McCuin.
Wells wanted to speak to the 7-year-old daughter whom he and Brooks parented together, she said. Initially, Brooks said, she objected, then helped the conversation take place. It sounded as though Wells was saying goodbye, Brooks said.
“I tried to get off the phone to see if I could help,” Brooks said. “But [Wells] said it was too late. They had already gone.”
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Another woman who overhead the conversation between them testified Tuesday that when Brooks asked if those Wells had shot had died, he replied yes, that he could see their deaths in their eyes.
“He said he was going to drive away and shoot himself,” Brooks said. “I told him to turn himself in. I ended the call feeling as though he would.”
Tarrant County state District Judge Ruben Gonzalez stopped the trial for 10 minutes Wednesday while members of the victims’ family and the defendant’s former girlfriend cried in the courtroom.
“Help me, Lord, ” one woman kept repeating as she wept aloud and was led out to the hallway. “Help me through this Lord. Help me.”
As the jury left, the shoulders of Brooks, who was on the witness stand, began to shake from long, wracking sobs. Gonzalez resumed the trial when the crying ceased.
While first responders surrounded the residence in the 2900 block of Pate Drive where the shooting happened, Wells was already inside the Forest Hill Police Department lobby.
Video surveillance showed the defendant leaning on the counter top in front of a window that led to the police communication division. One officer leveled his service weapon at Wells, who begged for the police to take his life, according to testimony.
I asked him for his name and he said that ‘y’all will know soon enough. Y’all are looking for me.’
Chris Hebert, Forest Hill police
“He was saying things like, ‘Put me in jail. Kill me,’ ” said Sgt. Chris Hebert, a patrol officer at the time of the slayings. “I asked him for his name and he said that ‘y’all will know soon enough. Y’all are looking for me.’ ”
Hebert said he could not detect the odor of alcohol or marijuana on Wells, but it seemed as though he was not present in the moment. Wells was somber, sitting on a bench with his shoulders slouched, Hebert said.
Hebert said he told Wells that he could not put him in jail just because he wanted to go to jail.
“There were a couple of times he went into a trance,” Hebert said. “It was like he was on another planet.”
It was like he was on another planet,
Chris Hebert, Forest Hill police.
Forest Hill officers called Fort Worth police and discovered that they were looking for Wells, Hebert testified. A Fort Worth officer said someone would pick Wells up, which they did, Hebert said.
Investigators with the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office testified that Chanise and Annette Reed most likely died from gunshots in the head.
The cause of death for both was listed as multiple gunshot wounds, with the manner of death listed as homicide, according to testimony from officials with the medical examiner’s office.
Eddie McCuin, 10, was shot three or four times, said Tasha Greenberg, deputy medical examiner. It is difficult to tell the exact number because the wound paths joined as the bullets moved through his body, Greenberg said.
A normal but nonliving male fetus believed to be 26 to 27 weeks old was removed from the body of Chanise Reed, Greenberg said.
“With medical attention, certainly that is considered a viable age,” Greenberg testified.
Tarrant County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. A defense motion asking the court to set aside the death penalty was denied July 13.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.