WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — After an emotional final day of testimony in the 78th District Court Friday, the fate of a former Hirschi quarterback now rests in the hands of a jury of his peers.

Six men and six women will begin deliberating Monday, June 13, 2022, on the verdict and punishment for 22-year-old Martez Travon Vrana, one of four men charged with the murder of Jason Baum in June 2020.

Attorney John Stickles allowed the defense’s case to rest after Vrana elected not to testify in his own trial.

Following more testimony from WFPD detectives discussing evidence collected from Vrana’s phone, the state called his wife to the stand.

Stickles objected, citing the longstanding Texas rule of spousal immunity in criminal cases. However, lead prosecutor Dobie Kosub argued they were not married until months after Baum’s murder, referencing Vrana’s initial statement to police from June 2020 in which he called her his girlfriend. Presiding Judge Meredith Kennedy overruled the defense’s objection, stating spousal privilege did not apply.

Kosub played a recorded phone call Vrana made to his wife from jail after police initially arrested him in July 2020 in which Vrana asked his wife, “Did you do what I told you?” The prosecution alleged this was in reference to a pair of shoes and an orange ski mask, two key pieces of evidence in the case.

In his original statement to police, Vrana mentioned an orange ski mask to police, and that one of his codefendants, Dimonique McKinney, his cousin, had returned to the car with it on. In this version of Vrana’s statement, he said he’d never left the car.

However, while on the stand Thursday, June 9, another codefendant, Sammy Worthy, was questioned about his statement given to police after the fatal shooting. In that statement, he said it was in fact Vrana who was wearing the orange ski mask, and that he’d gotten out of the car. Worthy testified McKinney asked Vrana, “Why are you wearing that mask, all standing out and s***?”

At the crime scene, detectives were able to obtain a shoe print that was discovered about 10 feet from where the car Baum arrived at the scene in was found. Prior to Vrana’s initial arrest, police were looking to identify the source of the shoeprint.

On Friday, Kosub suggested Vrana had instructed his wife to hide the evidence at his parent’s home and alleged she had done so. A later search warrant executed at Vrana’s parent’s home uncovered the shoes and ski mask inside a pillow case under his parent’s bed.

After police obtained the shoes, they sent them and the shoeprint to a forensics lab located in Garland, which found the shoes hidden in the pillowcase to be an exact match to the shoeprint found at the scene of the fatal shooting.

The prosecution alleged Vrana’s wife knew the shoes and ski mask were damning evidence against her husband, so at Vrana’s instruction, she attempted to conceal them from police.

In fact, Vrana’s wife was arrested Wednesday on a warrant for tampering with evidence, which Kosub said he would not prosecute if she testified truthfully.

With tears in her eyes, Vrana’s wife claimed she didn’t recall who owned the shoes, claimed she’d never seen the ski mask before, and did not know who put the items inside of a pillowcase before she “put them away” at Vrana’s parent’s home.

The defense countered, saying Vrana’s wife moved everything to her now in-laws’ home out of fear of a perceived threat of violence against her. Stickles said Vrana’s wife had felt threatened by people she alleged were circling her apartment intending to harm her. Vrana’s wife testified she moved everything in their apartment to Vrana’s parent’s house, which would have included the pillowcase and the items inside.

The defense insisted if she were indeed instructed to hide those things, she would’ve disposed of them, not just stuck them under a bed, to which she agreed.

The state then called Vrana’s sister to the stand and had her read text message exchanges between her and Vrana. The witness appeared somewhat agitated, often cutting off the prosecution, giving short or unclear responses, and exhibiting hostility.

The prosecution asked Vrana’s sister to read through a series of text messages sent between herself and Vrana, and when asked what certain words or phrases mean, she told the prosecution “it means what you think it means.”

One of the text messages stated Vrana expressed he was “going to go away for a while”, to which Vrana’s sister told the prosecution she didn’t know what that meant, and thought could’ve meant a number of things.

During her uncooperative responses, murmurs began to emerge among the standing-room-only crowd in 78th District court, leading Wichita County Sheriff’s deputies to escort one person out of the courtroom.

Kosub then led Vrana’s sister to read a series of text messages exchanged between Vrana and his cousin, during which time Judge Kennedy instructed the jury this evidence could only be used to establish motive or intent, and could not be used to determine the character of the defendant.

Vrana’s sister insisted multiple times that those text messages had nothing to do with her, and was reluctant to answer any questions about the messages. During one particular outburst, Judge Kennedy was attempting to explain to the witness she needed to respond to the prosecution’s line of inquiry, at which time the witness began talking at the same time. Judge Kennedy told the witness not to interrupt her when she was speaking and to “just answer the questions.”

Later in that exchange, which the prosecution believed was Vrana and his cousin attempting a robbery of a poker game, Vrana told his cousin the alleged targets were “gonna see Jesus”. The prosecution asked Vrana’s sister if that meant they intended to kill the apparent targets, to which Vrana’s sister responded there were a lot of people with the name “Jesus”.

Vrana’s sister asked if she could plead the fifth and invoke her Fifth Amendment right to protect her from self-incrimination, but Judge Kennedy said the text doesn’t have anything to do with her, so the Fifth Amendment would not be applicable.

After a lengthy afternoon recess, the state decided to send the case to the jury without closing arguments.

Vrana is the first of four men to be tried for the 2020 fatal shooting of Jason Baum. Dimonique McKinney, Sammy Worthy, and Antwan Williams are all currently being held in the Wichita County Jail on capital murder charges. Their trial dates have not yet been set.