Crime

Trial begins for former science teacher accused of killing 2 men at Halloween party

Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty against a former North Texas science teacher who is accused of killing two men at a 2016 Halloween party in their neighborhood.

Jury selection was scheduled for Monday afternoon in the capital murder trial of Cary Joseph Heath, 37, of Fort Worth. Opening statements are expected Tuesday morning in Criminal District Court No. 213.

If convicted of capital murder, Heath, who was a science teacher at a Cedar Hill middle school, will receive an automatic sentence of life without parole.

Heath is accused of shooting to death two of his neighbors in front of their homes on Buffalo Springs Drive in south Fort Worth.

A trial is also pending for Heath’s wife, Tiffany Heath, who is accused of helping her husband cover up the alleged crime.

Heath was arrested a day after the shootings in the parking lot of Permenter Middle School — where he taught science to eighth-graders — in Cedar Hill.

The killings immediately followed a “friendly and cordial” conversation at a neighbor’s Halloween party, according to an arrest warrant obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 2016, and immediately preceded the suspect saying he would never see his 1-year-old baby again.

Heath and his wife were at a small Halloween gathering at their next-door neighbor’s home in the 800 block of Buffalo Springs Drive. Everyone was standing in the front yard early on the morning of Oct. 23, 2016, when four neighbors came to visit for less than five minutes before walking back home, according to the warrant.

Tiffany Heath.jpg
Tiffany Heath of Fort Worth Courtesy: Fort Worth police

A neighbor said the conversation was friendly and cordial, but a few minutes later, after Heath’s wife and neighbor went into the neighbor’s house, multiple gunshots were heard. A neighbor reported the gunshots to police, opened the door and saw a man standing over one victim, striking him with the butt of a rifle, the warrant said. When the caller told the suspect to stop, the suspect pointed the weapon at the caller and asked if he or she “had a problem.”

A couple of minutes after that, Heath ran into a neighbor’s house, handed someone his 1-year-old baby and said: “This is the last time I will see the baby. I killed two people,” before running out, the warrant said.

One man was lying dead in a driveway down the street. The other victim lay dead in a different front yard. A medical examiner told police that they died of multiple gunshots and blunt-force trauma to the face and head, the affidavit said.

Officials with the medical examiner’s office identified the victims as Daniel Haros, 25, and Phillip Evans Garcia, 25.

Heath’s wife told police that her husband admitted to her that he killed the two men, and then asked her to clean the blood in the gun safe, according to the warrant.

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