Beaumont man found guilty of 2015 capital murder of store clerk

A Jefferson County jury found Chandler Ventress guilty of the 2015 capital murder of convenience store owner Mettha Kuruppu.

BEAUMONT - A Jefferson County jury found Chandler Ventress guilty of the 2015 capital murder of convenience store owner Mettha Kuruppu.

Ventress will face life in prison without the eligibility for parole.

21-year-old Ventress killed 52-year-old Kurrupu during an armed robbery at the Pick-N-Shop on South Major Dr. 

Police said another man named John David Johnson also known as "Sean" was with Ventress during the robbery and was also charged with Capital murder.

When the verdict was read before the court, Ventress’ mother fell on the ground of the courtroom and almost passed out.

The mother of Ventress’ children also left the courthouse in tears screaming “My kids! My kids!”

She was escorted out of the courthouse with bailiffs along with other family members.

Kuruppu’s family members were also emotional and hugged Prosecutor Ashley Molfino.


“Very emotional, big day for them…I feel saddened for the Kuruppu family because nothing we do can bring their dad back and getting to know them better, they are a wonderful family,” said Molfino.

“I also feel for the Ventress family because I know some kids have lost their dad, I know they lost members of their family with Vetnress being sentenced to life without Parole but it was given to a jury of his community, a jury of Mr. Ventress’ piers and I’m very pleased with their decision.”

Earlier in testimony, Kuruppu’s daughter was shown pictures from her father’s autopsy. She became emotional on the stand as she explained how difficult it has been for her family ever since her father passed away.

Molfino also showed a video interview between investigators and Ventress to the jury.

After about 30 minutes of questioning, Ventress broke down in tears and started screaming he was sorry.

He hugged the investigators who were questioning him and told them he loved them then said he he wished he could take everything back and was sorry for the victim's family.

During closing arguments, the defense attorney James Makin emphasized that Ventress did not intend to kill Kirrupu but simply reacted instead. He argued Ventress should not be convicted of Capital Murder because the prosecutor did not prove Vintress had the intent to kill.

When Molfino addressed the jury, she emphasized Ventress went into the convenience store with a gun and shot at Kirrupu twice which proves he intended to kill him. 

"I believe that the jury sided with our argument that based on the evidence showing that Mr. Ventress fired two shots at Mr. Kiruppu after going into his convenience store after midnight in disguise with a loaded revolver and shooting at him twice that he intended the outcome of what happened," said Molfino.

Previous story

Day one of the capital murder trial of a Beaumont man accused in the shooting death of a convenience store clerk in a 2015 wrapped up Tuesday after testimony from several witnesses.

Prosecutors say Chandler Ventress is one of two men responsible for killing Mettha Kuruppu during a robbery.

Police say Ventress fired twice at Kurrupu when the clerk tried to defend himself with a BB gun.

The jury watched graphic surveillance video that captured the moment Kurrupu was shot to death in his store and showed the clerk staggering around before he collapsed to the ground.

In a statement to police Ventress admitted he planned to rob the store and admitted he shot Kuruppu.

During the statement he apologized and told police he felt felt like he had a weight on his heart ever since the shooting.

Police say Ventress and another man, Sean Johnson, are both responsible for killing Kuruppu during the robbery at the Pick n Shop on South Major Dr.

On cross examination defense attorney James Makin seemed to imply that Ventress may have been drugs during his questioning.

Beaumont Police Sergeant Ron Dischler later testified that he did not believe Ventress was on drugs at the time.

The state is seeking life in prison without parole but are not seeking the death penalty in the case.

Testimony will resume Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. in 252nd District Court before Judge Raquel West.

© 2017 KBMT-TV

 

 

 

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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