FANNIN CO., TX - Day 2 of Thomas Taunton's capital murder trial is over. He's on trial for the shooting deaths of three family members. News 12 reporter Daniella Rivera was in court today as the jury listened to a phone call recording in which Taunton allegedly admits to killing someone.
Thomas Taunton appeared in Fannin County court for the second day of his jury trial Tuesday morning.
"This is probably the biggest trial that we've had, and I've been in office since January of 2005," said Fannin County District Attorney Richard Glaser.
Authorities say three people were murdered, their bodies stuffed into 55 gallon drums, and then dumped off Highway 11 in January of 2012.
"We might have multiple defendants, but multiple victims in one trial is unusual for Fannin County," said Glaser.
Prosecutors say Taunton planned to kill his 73-year-old step-father Harold Harpst.
Harpst was reportedly a double amputee, and had two prosthetic legs.
The state claims Harpst and his wife -- Taunton's mother -- Sue harpst -- came home from church early one sunday in January of 2012. They say Taunton came up behind them while Sue was helping Harold in the bathroom, shot his mother in the back of the head execution style, then fired multiple shots into Harold, then shot His younger sister, Regina Taunton.
"Three individuals were murdered and that's why we're pursuing this case," said Glaser.
But Taunton's defense attorney Steven Miears, argues Harold Harpst killed his wife Sue Harpst, and Regina Taunton, and Thomas Taunton then had to shoot Harold in self defense.
Tuesday, the prosecution introduced as evidence a recording of a phone call. In the recording, Taunton allegedly called a friend in West Virginia, and admitted to him that he planned Harold's murder, shot Harold and his mother, and cleaned up the crime scene.
That witness testified he recorded the call because he knew he needed to turn it over to authorities.
The defense is withholding comments at this time. Testimony resumes Wednesday morning.