A trial began Wednesday in a Tarrant County courtroom for Dorian Woodard, who is charged with capital murder in the 2021 shooting death of Arlington E-Z Mart employee Jordan Hightower.
Woodard is accused of shooting Hightower multiple times around 3:30 a.m. Jan. 17, 2021, at the convenience store on East Bardin Road where Hightower worked. Surveillance cameras at the store showed a person who was later identified to be Woodard shoot the clerk and take items from the E-Z Mart, police have said.
According to the footage, Hightower did not put up any resistance before being shot.
Woodard, then 18, was arrested on Jan. 21, 2021, thanks to tips from citizens, according to Arlington police. He has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecuting attorney Kyle Russo told jurors Wednesday afternoon during opening statements for the trial that the defendant performed a “senseless act of violence” and that the case wasn’t going to be hard.
The defense attorneys, Gary Smart and Steve Gebhardt, said Woodard had gone to the E-Z Mart to buy food for himself and his two siblings. They referenced “intellectual disabilities,” saying he wasn’t “the sharpest knife in the drawer.” They asked the jury to carefully consider intent in the case.
Jordan Hightower was 31 when he was killed. In a 2021 interview, his father, Walter Hightower, described Jordan as a “good-hearted kid with a lot of compassion” for the people in his life.
The trial will continue Thursday in 371st District Court. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, according to court records.