On October 28, 2021, a jury sentenced Andrew Jared Bass, 32, to life without the possibility of parole after finding him guilty of Capital Murder for the brutal murder of three individuals, Walter Brown, Odell Wells, and Christopher Wells, in the Old River area of Liberty County, south of Dayton that occurred on October 12, 2019. The Honorable Judge Mark Morefield, 75th Judicial District Court, presided over the four-day trial.
Prosecutors Mark Boemio and Nicole Washington presented evidence that on October 12, 2019, Bass shot all three men with a shotgun inside a detached shop at his residence. Evidence showed that Bass was friends with the victims, who regularly worked for him at his home. In return for their work, he often paid them with drugs and other gifts. Investigators testified that Bass claimed the three men were stealing from him. He texted his wife earlier on the day of the murders that he was “one step ahead of them.” No evidence supporting Bass’ story was presented at trial. Instead, the investigation revealed that Bass brought all three men to his home, bought them beer, cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana, and allowed them to party inside the shop. Video surveillance showed Bass racking a shotgun before walking inside the shop just prior to the murders. Bass stated that he was forced to shoot the victims, claiming self-defense, because all three men had “guns blazing” when he allegedly caught them stealing weapons and other items from his shop. Evidence adduced at trial, however, contradicted Bass’ story, and there was no evidence the victims ever fired a weapon. Bass used a shotgun to commit the murders, emptying a total of seven rounds into the heads and backs of the victims. Jurors also heard testimony from a ballistics expert and forensic pathologist detailing the distances from which Bass fired and injuries sustained by the victims. The crime scene was well investigated by law enforcement such that the photographs and other evidence told a clear story of what happened – that Bass brutally murdered the three unsuspecting victims. After the murders, Bass was observed removing surveillance cameras that he originally told investigators had been stolen. Ultimately, Bass chose not to testify, and after just twenty minutes of deliberation, the jury returned its shattering verdict.
Assistant District Attorney, Mark Boemio: “The Defendant lured the unsuspecting victims to his property with the promise of beer, food, cigarettes, and drugs. He placed them in a comfortable and familiar environment and brutally murdered men who thought he was their friend. There is real evil in this world and Andrew Jared Bass is proof. Because of the strength of this investigation, we were able to secure this outcome and provide justice for the families of Walter Brown, Odell Wells, and Christopher Wells. I would like to thank the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and the jurors in this case for their help in seeking justice for these men.”
Assistant District Attorney, Nicole Washington: “Walter Brown, Odell Wells, and Christopher Wells could not tell the jury they were executed in cold blood by the man they considered a friend. Thanks to a stellar investigation by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, the evidence spoke for them. The volume of photographs, video, physical evidence, and witness testimony was overwhelming and told a drastically different story than the defendant wanted everyone to believe. This jury, however, was not distracted. They were focused, attentive, and patient, and at the close of evidence, they sent exemption of $10,000. These exemptions are taken off of the assessed value thereby reducing the taxable value of the property by the amount of the exemption. The Liberty County Hospital District does not however have a tax freeze available for Over-65 or Disabled Persons Homesteads. In other words, the taxable value of your Over-65 or Disabled Person Homestead will not be frozen at any set value and may go up or down depending on market conditions,” said McCarty.
Since we were made aware of the mistake, we reached out to LCHD No. 1 and President Bruce Stratton, who acknowledged the error and apologized for any misunderstanding. He also provided a short letter to the editor clarifying the situation, which appears on the Viewpoints page of this week’s edition.