The trial of Reagan Todd Horton began Monday morning.
Horton, 49, of Diboll, faces four charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon along with charges of burglary of a habitation with a deadly weapon and deadly conduct following a May 24, 2019, incident in which he is accused of shooting out the glass door at Lufkin’s Big Lots and walking inside while looking for his ex-girlfriend.
Visiting Judge John Delaney is presiding over the trial, with District Attorney Joe Martin prosecuting and attorney Al Charanza representing Horton in his defense.
Martin’s opening statements went over the events of the day and Horton’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend. That morning, Martin said the former couple were in a rough spot in their relationship, which had been on and off for five years. Horton wasn’t happy with the state of their relationship according to Martin, and went to Big Lots, where she worked, to confront her.
There, Martin said Horton encountered his ex-girlfriend and one of her former co-workers in the parking lot and drove toward them to the point they had to move out of the way. The police were called and Horton left.
The 911 call the former Big Lots employee made during the incident was played during the trial. In it, he described Horton’s clothing, and Horton’s ex-girlfriend can be heard in the background arguing with Horton. Later, the former employee would hold the door closed in the backroom that he, Horton’s ex-girlfriend and one of their co-workers hid in during the second incident.
LPD officers Hunter Smith and David McMullen responded to the first call. McMullen said Horton was not arrested after the first incident because Horton hadn’t committed an offense for which they could arrest him in their presence. The officers issued a criminal trespass warning to Horton.
McMullen later spoke with Horton’s ex-girlfriend about intimate images he had sent to her family. Afterwards, Martin said she canceled his phone plan, which she paid for him.
“About 7:02 a.m., there’s a gunshot,” Martin said. “The glass window of the Big Lots store shatters. The employees hear it, not sure what to do about it. Before anything else can happen, Todd Horton walks in, a shotgun in one hand and a very unhappy look on his face.”
One employee at the store tried calling 911 but dropped her phone as Horton approached. She later said in testimony that she feared for her life and kept her mind on her three children as she hid in a backroom with Horton’s ex-girlfriend and the employee that was with her during the earlier incident. While they were hiding, she said she could hear Horton call for his ex-girlfriend.
A fourth Big Lots employee also was at the store during the second incident. During his testimony, he said Horton walked in and asked where his ex-girlfriend was. Afterwards, he said Horton walked further in the store in search of her. After Horton walked off, the employee made his way outside and called the police while attempting to remain calm. His 911 call also was played for the court.
One of the managers at the Lufkin Big Lots also testified. He arrived on the scene after it was cleared by police, and pulled surveillance footage for LPD to review. In the footage, Horton, enters with a shotgun. Charanza noted his client never appears to raise or aim the firearm at anyone in the surveillance footage.
Bodycam footage of the officers who responded to the scene also was played, and LPD Sgt. Stephen Abbott testified on the police’s response plan to the shooting.
Following the second incident, Martin said Horton went home, where the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office took him into custody, and later transferred him into LPD’s custody before he was booked into jail.
Charanza chose to reserve his opening statements until after the state rests its case.