The defense attorney for John Thuesen, a convicted murderer who is trying to have his death sentence overturned in a court hearing in Brazos County this week, says she did all she could to keep her one-time client off death row.
Michele Esparza represented the 30-year old killer in his 2010 murder trial. That trial resulted in Thuesen’s conviction for murdering his one-time girlfriend Rachel Joiner and her brother Travis at the College Station residence in March of 2009. Thuesen was sentenced to death at the trial.
Now, Thuesen is appealing the death sentence with his appeal attorneys arguing that evidence of his post traumatic stress disorder from his service in Iraq was not adequately revealed to the jury during the punishment phase.
His current team says Esparza was one of four lawyers working for the Texas Office of Capital Writs, failed to emphasize the extent of Thuesen’s mental disabilities after his Marine Corps service.
Esparza, in testimony held yesterday (Thursday) in the Brazos County Courthouse, acknowledged that looking back, she and her fellow attorneys should have called on a an expert at the end of their punishment case who could tie up the PTSD issues. At the time, she said, the defense believed it was not in Thuesen’s best interest to end with a witness whom the state could use to refocus juror’s attention to the details of the murders.