Witnesses told a 35th District Court jury Wednesday about the contact they had with Denise Banks and Jessie McCord on Aug. 20, 2008 — the day McCord stabbed Banks, his ex-wife, to death.
McCord, 46, pleaded guilty Monday to murdering Banks, 59, at the home they sometimes shared on Kyle Street in Bangs. A jury is hearing punishment testimony and will determine his sentence.
McCord and Banks were divorced in 2004, but sometimes lived together to split bills, according to testimony.
Brownwood resident Janifer Roberson Barton testified that she and Banks were “spiritual sisters” who attended church together. On Aug. 20, Barton testified, Banks came to her home around 3 in the afternoon and the two ate a meal and talked.
“She looked worried, like she was scared,” Barton said. When Barton asked Banks what was wrong, Banks replied that McCord had been calling her, pressuring her to come to the Kyle Street home to feed her dog.
Banks also said McCord had told her “if he couldn’t have her, nobody else would,” Barton testified.
Banks drove to the Food Plaza in Bangs, where she bought candy and a soft drink around 4 p.m., a cash register receipt and surveillance video showed. Store manager Lisa Berryhill said Banks was a regular customer who was always in a good mood. Based on Banks’ appearance in the surveillance video, Berryhill testified, Banks appeared to have been in a good mood in the store and did not seem frightened.
McCord, meantime, went to work at his construction job that day, McCord’s then-boss, Lyndon Leach, testified.
McCord was “emotional” at lunch time and nearly in tears when he spoke with someone during the construction crew’s lunch break, Leach testified. McCord called in sick later, on Wednesday night or Thursday morning, Lynch said.
“He sounded real emotional,” Lynch said.
Banks’ body was found that Thursday — Aug. 21 — in the Brownwood landfill.
Bangs resident Donald Roberson — Janifer Roberson Barton’s brother — testified that he and Banks were “prayer partners” who studied the Bible together.
“He accused me of having sexual affairs with Miss Banks, I said, ‘Man, it’s nothing like that,’” Roberson testified.
Banks told people she was afraid of McCord, and McCord sometimes bragged about being involved with other women, according to testimony.
The defense is arguing that McCord killed Banks in a moment of “sudden passion” after she belittled him and said she was having sex with another man. The prosecution contends that McCord planned Banks’ murder and carried it out after years of controlling and abusing her.
If jurors accept the “sudden passion” argument, McCord would face sentencing under a second degree felony — two to 20 years in prison.
Otherwise, he faces a sentencing range of five to 99 years or life in prison.