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Beaumont man gets 65 years for 2020 death of another Beaumont man

Zachary Kapel was found guilty of murder in connection with the April 2020 fatal shooting of Shane Russell Jones, 41, of Beaumont.

BEAUMONT, Texas — A Beaumont man has been sentenced to 65 years in prison by a Jefferson County jury for the fatal 2020 shooting of another Beaumont man.

Zachary Kapel was found guilty, on Monday, of murder in connection with the deadly April 2020 shooting of Shane Russell Jones, 41, of Beaumont.

Kapel will spend 65 years in a Texas prison and must pay a $10,000 fine.

The jury came back with the guilty verdict shortly before 4 p.m. Closing arguments in the trial began after lunchtime on Friday.  

Kapel's trial began on Tuesday, January 31, 2023 in Jefferson County's Criminal District Court before Judge John Stevens.

Jones died on April 26, 2020. Police were sent to the 7700 block of Stonetown Road in Beaumont just after 5 p.m. that day in response to a reported fight according to file stories.

On the way to the scene, police were told shots had been fired.

When police arrived, Jones had already died from a gunshot wound to his chest. 

Kapel was arrested and charged with shooting Jones. Investigators said both men knew each other. 

Related: 'This is not a murder mystery': Opening statements begin in trial of suspect charged in 2020 murder of Beaumont man

Prosecutor Christopher Cadena told jurors at the start of the trial that evidence would show the shooting was possibly the result of a drug deal that went bad. However, Cadena said the jury will hear evidence about another possible motive.

Cadena said the jury would hear video of the defendant admitting to being the one who pulled the trigger.

"This is not a murder mystery," Cadena said during his opening statement. "We know the man accused of this offense pulled the trigger."

Kapel's defense attorney, Bruce Smith, argued that the shooting was justified under the law.

"Here in this case we believe the evidence will clearly show that the law of self-defense justified the shooting of Shane Jones," Smith said during opening statements.

Smith told the jury Kapel believed deadly force was immediately necessary to protect himself and was reasonable. Smith claims Jones was unlawfully trying to
enter Kapel's truck and that Jones had the ability to harm his client.

Smith told the jury it was Kapel who called 911 and told them he had just shot someone.

Related: Beaumont man indicted for first-degree murder in late April shooting

The first witness Cadena called to the stand during the second day of trial was Beaumont Police Department Sgt. Shawn Tolley. He is in charge of 911 operations for the department. 

The prosecution played audio of the 911 call made after the shooting. 

The second witness Cadena called to the stand that day was Beaumont Police Department Officer John Woods, who is a field training officer. 

Officer Woods said he saw a lot of blood and a wound on Jones' chest. He alo testified that no weapons were found on Jones' body.

The jury viewed the body camera video while Officer Woods was on the stand. 

Defense Attorney Smith cross-examined Officer Woods. He pointed to a picture of the window of the truck that Kapel was inside when he fired the shot. 

The picture showed the bullet going through the window. 

Smith asked if since the bullet went through the bottom of the window if this indicated that Jones had to be bending down when he was shot. Officer Woods said that is possible. 

The officer said he could not say how close to the truck Jones was when the shot was fired.

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