Defense attorneys for a Texas man convicted of first-degree murder in the 2018 death of a Norman resident brought the defendant’s family members and friends in Thursday to plead for life in prison instead of the death penalty.
Joseph Fidel Alliniece, 32, of Missouri City, Texas, was found guilty Monday of the first-degree murder of Brittani Young, 27, two counts of kidnapping and one count of robbery by force or fear. Records show the crimes occurred April 24, 2018, inside an Emerald Greens Apartments residence, and that Alliniece stomped on Young multiple times.
Alliniece’s parents, Brenda and Gary, testified about their son’s childhood, describing him as happy, sweet, loving and well liked growing up.
Alliniece’s defense team showed pictures of him from his childhood and into his early adult life, smiling and posing with family and sports team members.
“He didn’t want you to have bad feelings or you to have bad feelings about him,” Brenda said, adding that he often shared with others and sometimes bought things for other people.
She also said Joseph made cards for her and wrote her poems, some of which were shown in court. She also testified that he was the youngest and favorite grandchild to his grandparents.
His parents said he was on football teams, from Little League and high school to a football scholarship to Blinn College in Brenham, Texas. He also briefly attended Houston Community College before dropping out and getting a job.
Gary testified that he was the first family member who held Joseph, and he spent a lot of time with Joseph on weekends while Brenda worked 12-hour shifts. He also coached some of his son’s teams.
Until Joseph entered high school, he said he talked to Joseph over the phone almost daily, even after the couple’s divorce when Joseph was age 12.
Gary said he spoke to Joseph less often after high school to give him space and social time with other people.
Gary, who previously worked for the Texas Department of Corrections, said he was devastated when his son went to prison twice after incidents in 2010 and 2016 involving former girlfriends.
Brenda testified that she has always tried to help her son, financially or otherwise. But she stepped back a lot after Joseph got out of prison the second time, saying she didn’t feel safe and hoped he could learn to stand on his own two feet, which caused tension.
Brenda testified for the state earlier that she suspected that Joseph threw a brick at her window after his first time out of prison. When he was out of prison the second time, she said Joseph’s sister, Shamira Alliniece Harris, and her husband were living with her.
After Joseph got out of prison the second time, Gary said he took Joseph to get some medications and to attend several psychological appointments, but was not told of any medical diagnoses.
Gary said he visited his son three or four times while he was in prison, and would visit him during a possible lifetime incarceration.
Brenda previously testified that she provided money via Joseph’s godmother, Elaina Bishop, for Joseph to travel to Norman to visit Young.
On cross examination by Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Austin, Brenda said Joseph didn’t treat her as nicely when he got older, and sometimes was disrespectful and mean.
Both parents said they loved Joseph and would have provided more for their son if they knew he needed help.
“That’s just what a parent does,” Gary said.
“I’d die for him,” Brenda said.
Bishop, who has known Joseph since he was young, said he helped her following her 2013 cancer diagnosis, and described him as loving.
She said she still loves him today, despite his crimes, and that who a person is is different than what they’ve done.
“He is here for something horrible … It’s a sad thing. It was a shock to all of us. Joseph is not that person. I don’t know what happened,” she said, adding that he never showed that side of himself to her. “He still has the capability to better himself. I really do think he could do some good with life in prison.”
Upon cross examination, Assistant District Attorney Christy Miller pointed out that Joseph often decided against bettering himself. Bishop confirmed that Joseph blamed his mother for the murder, but pointed out that he blamed her for many things in his life, including his childhood dog running away.
Gary Thomas, Joseph’s cousin, said they spent a lot of time together growing up, and they stayed close until Thomas graduated and left for school.
Thomas said when he took Joseph to another cousin’s funeral in early 2018, Joseph was worried about family acceptance following his second prison term, and didn’t want to be seen for his faults. At that point, Joseph became determined to take the test to get his commercial driver’s license again, a process that he went through after his first prison term.
Thomas said his cousin became frustrated when he didn’t see progression at the speed he expected, and found it hard to adapt to his new life.
However, Thomas said he loved his cousin, and trusted him around his daughter, who was 3 years old at the time.
Under cross examination, he said the last time he saw Joseph, he had slashed some tires and Thomas chased after him. The two of them had also worked at Texas Solar together, and Joseph was fired from that job shortly after due to absences.
Natasha Jeppers, who previously testified for the state about messages and calls Joseph made to her before and after the murder, testified that she met Joseph around 2014 or 2015 in Houston and had a platonic friendship with him for years. He also let her stay with him for four months rent free when she needed housing.
She said Alliniece never laid a hand on her and made sure she was safe and fed.
Under cross examination, Jeppers said he had an anger problem, and made her leave the apartment and his car on a few instances when he got angry.
Jeppers said that she cares for him as a friend, despite the crimes he has committed.
Timothy Chandler, who went to high school and college and played on the same football team with Joseph, described Joseph as someone who liked to make jokes and laugh.
He said he never had problems with Joseph during their times together.
“Since the first time I met him, it’s been real,” Chandler said, adding that he lost touch with him after around age 18, when he moved to play football for a college in Kansas.
The defense rested its case Thursday afternoon. Closing arguments will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, followed by the sentencing decision.