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Trial begins for man accused in Galveston security guard murder

By MATT DEGROOD The Daily News ​ ​ ​

GALVESTON

Retired sheriff’s office Lt. Thomas Bushek counted at least six bullet wounds in Phillip Molis Jr. as he gave the San Luis Resort security guard first aid one night in April 2017.

“I asked him where he was hit, and he said his arm,” Bushek testified Wednesday.

“But as he said it, he breathed in and blood squirted out on his right thigh.

“It was pink, bright red blood. Based on my training, I was worried it was a femoral artery bleed.”

The former Randall County sheriff’s deputy was the third person testifying Wednesday in the murder trial of Brandon Ledford, 21, of Missouri City, who is accused of pulling the trigger on a 9 mm pistol over and over again, fatally wounding Molis, 23, who was unarmed.

Molis was shot numerous times April 9, 2017, while confronting a group of people breaking into cars in the hotel parking lot, police said.

He died six days after the shooting.

Ledford’s trial began Wednesday in the 212th District Court and will continue into next week, Assistant Criminal District Attorney Bill Reed, the felony division chief, said.

It’s the final case involving three men accused of playing roles in Molis’ death. Another Missouri City man, Tyronne Rufus Davis Haynes, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in organized criminal activity in August 2018 and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

And the third man, Marcus Dewayne Moffett, 23, pleaded no contest to one count of resisting arrest in June 2018 and was sentenced to 14 days in county jail, according to court records.

Bushek, who retired from the Randall County office in 2018 and now works at Texas A&M University at Galveston, had been in town in April 2017 for law enforcement communications training at the hotel, 5222 Seawall Blvd., he said.

With the day’s events over, Bushek and a colleague were standing near the hotel’s rear entrance, he said.

Bushek was saying good night to his wife and daughter on the phone and smoking a cigarette, when he heard in quick succession between 11 and 15 gunshots coming from the parking lot, he said. He drew his pistol and badge and ran toward the sound of gunfire.

Bushek found Molis sitting upright with his legs splayed out, and began first aid, using his belt to stem the bleeding, he testified.

Police identified Ledford as a suspect after watching him pick up Haynes from the Galveston County Jail on April 16. Haynes had been arrested the night of the shooting. Police responding to the shooting had found him hiding in a lot near the hotel parking lot where Molis was gunned down, according to case documents.

Police on April 10 also found a 9 mm Beretta handgun in the 3200 block of Heron Drive, just a few blocks east of the shooting, according to an affidavit.

Haynes admitted in an interview to helping burglarize vehicles and pleaded guilty to engaging in organized criminal activity in August, according to case records.

Ledford was arrested April 16, 2017, but was not charged with murder at the time.

In October 2017, investigators received a DNA report connecting Ledford to a latex glove found at the scene of the shooting, leading a grand jury to indict Ledford on the murder charge in December 2017.

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