New Information in murder trial as defendant is absent again

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FANNIN CO., TX - New details revealed in the fourth day of Thomas Taunton's capital murder trial. He's accused of killing his mother, step-father, and sister in January of 2012.

Thursday is the second day Thomas Taunton has been absent during his capital murder trial, and it's unclear when he'll return to the courtroom.

Texas Ranger Brad Oliver continued his testimony this morning on forensic evidence. He reports 2 bullets were recovered from Harold Harpst, one from Sue Harpst's head, and Regina Taunton was shot multiple times--he says they found 2 projectiles in her brain, fragments on the right side of her scalp, and in her left hip.

A De Soto Parish Sheriff's investigator traveled from Louisiana, where Taunton was taken into custody. He testified about evidence found in Taunton's truck and trailer, including 3 boxes of hair and beard dye for men--purchased after the shootings-- two recovered firearms believed to be the murder weapons, as well as clothing, and tools. We're told there was even a lawn mower packed into the vehicle.

We also heard from multiple witnesses who say they saw Taunton's truck and trailer at the location off Highway 11 where the bodies were found.

We also obtained a photo of 73-year-old double amputee Harold Harpst, who's involvement has been questioned.

Taunton's attorneys argue Taunton had to shoot Harold in self defense, after Harold shot his wife, Sue Harpst, and Regina Taunton.

Thursday in court, they also pointed out evidence specifically at the crime scene doesn't indicate an order in which the three individuals were shot.

But earlier this week, we listened to a recorded phone call. In the call, Taunton admits to a friend that he planned Harold's death, shot Harold and his mother, Sue, cleaned up the crime scene, and dumped their bodies.

Court is now in recess. Trial will resume Monday morning.