WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A jury consisting of 11 women and one man from Wichita County reached a verdict in the capital murder trial of the first of four defendants accused of the fatal shooting of a local dance teacher in January 2020.

On Tuesday, August 15, 2023, Zaeveion Denson, 21, of Wichita Falls, was found guilty of capital murder by the jury for his role in the robbery-turned-fatal-shooting of Carolyn High, 65, whose body was discovered dead in her driveway by her daughter on January 26, 2020.

Denson, who was 17 at the time of High’s murder, was automatically sentenced to life in prison. Due to his age when the capital offense was committed, he will be eligible for parole after serving 40 years of his life sentence.

The jury deliberated for just over an hour following closing arguments from Dobie Kosub, First Assistant District Attorney in Wichita County and lead prosecutor for the state, and Gary Smart, Denson’s defense attorney, before reaching a unanimous verdict on Tuesday afternoon.

The verdict comes after two days of testimony in the 78th District Court, with Judge Meredith Kennedy presiding.

The capital murder trial was plagued by delays from the onset. After a member of the jury panel failed to appear during voir dire proceedings, the selection process was halted. Police later sent out a missing persons advisory. 

The missing juror was later determined to have been arrested and in jail in Lawton, Oklahoma, on charges of engaging in lewdness or prostitution. Whether he will face sanctions from the judge is undetermined.

After three days of jury selection, testimony finally got underway on Thursday, August 10, only to see another delay after a severe thunderstorm on Thursday night caused power outages throughout Wichita Falls, including at the Wichita County Courthouse.

All proceedings scheduled for Friday, August 11, were delayed due to the power outage.

The second day of testimony on Monday, August 14, 2023, marked the beginning of the second week of Denson’s capital murder trial.

However, after the prosecution called their last witness and rested their case, Denson’s defense team also rested their case without calling a single witness.

This is a developing story. Stick with Texoma’s Homepage for updates as more information becomes available.