BEAUMONT — Testimony began today in the sentencing phase of the Tyrece Harris murder trial. A Jefferson County jury on Thursday convicted 18-year-old Harris of murder in the April 2016 shooting death of 52-year-old Jimmy Bertrand. Prosecutors say Harris shot Bertrand during a botched burglary at his home on Sunmeadow in west Beaumont.

Today, the prosecution called several witnesses to the stand including three correctional officers employed at the Jefferson County Jail and a former Lamar University student. The correctional officers said Harris threaten staff members at the Jefferson County jail in November of 2016 during his incarceration.

The former Lamar student said Harris and several others robbed him and his roommate just two days before Bertrand's killing. The witness said he recognized Harris as one who robbed him when he saw his photo on the news shortly after the murder.

Harris faces up to life in prison after a rejecting a plea deal for a 40-year sentence. Deliberation of the sentencing is expected to start on July 5th at the Jefferson County Courthouse.