WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A first step in the process of a possible appeal of a capital murder conviction was held today, January 26, in 78th District Court.
Martez Vrana was found guilty and sentenced to life without parole last June, the first of four defendants to go to trial for the 2020 shooting death of Jason Baum in an alley on Meadowlake during an alleged marijuana robbery attempt.
He was brought back here from prison for his hearing. The appeal if heard would be in the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston.
The jury took less than 30 minutes to find the former Hirschi star quarterback guilty.
It was an emotional trial, with many friends and relatives in the courtroom, and one outburst prompted a call for a mistrial from Vrana’s attorney.
He also objected on grounds of spousal immunity when Vrana’s wife was called to the stand, but was overruled after it was determined they had been married about a year before the trial and though the wife considered them common law husband and wife before that, there were no legal grounds for marriage at the time of the murder.
In an apparent last minute decision, Vrana took the stand in his own defense, and some of his testimony prompted allegations he had been coached by his defense attorney on exactly what and what not to say. The prosecutor also got Vrana to admit he had lied about the events when police questioned him.
The hearing today was to cover matters before the appeal is heard, including who will be Vrana’s appellate attorney.