A Texas man who was seen on video shooting his girlfriend’s ex-husband to death during a custody fight will not be criminally charged.
The office of Ken Paxton (R), the Texas attorney general, announced Wednesday that a special grand jury voted not to indict Kyle Carruth, who shot and killed Chad Read in November.
The presentation of the case to a special grand jury “included several eyewitnesses, family of Chad Read, and additional evidence that was not previously released to the public,” a statement on the Attorney General’s website said. “After several days of thorough inspection of the evidence, the Special Grand Jury concluded their investigation into the matter and deliberated on whether the evidence supported the filing of criminal charges against Kyle Carruth.”
On Wednesday, the special grand jury voted “not to indict for any criminal charges against Kyle Carruth,” the statement said.
Paxton’s office had been investigating the matter because the Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office recused because of the fact that Carruth’s ex-wife, Ann-Marie Carruth, is an elected judge. She lost her re-election bid earlier this month and will end her term in December.
Carruth and Chad Read got into a heated argument at Carruth’s home, which is also his office, on Nov. 5, 2021. They were fighting over the custody arrangement between Carruth’s girlfriend, Christina Read, and Chad, who is Christina’s ex-husband.
Chad and his wife Jennifer Read had gone to Carruth’s home that day to pick up Chad and Christina’s son. The son apparently wasn’t at the home at the pre-arranged time, sparking an argument between the former spouses.
During the argument, Carruth is seen going into the home and returning with a gun. He fires a single shot into the porch near Chad’s feet; Chad then grabs the gun and, using it as leverage, pushes Carruth away from him. Carruth then turns and fires two shots at Chad.
Chad Read’s wife, Jennifer Read, recorded the encounter on her cell phone.
H. Grady Terrill, an attorney for Carruth, has said that his client had no choice but to use deadly force to “defend himself, his property and others, which caused the death of Chad Read.”
The announcement from the AG’s office is another legal defeat for Jennifer, whose petition for custody of Chad and Christina’s children was dismissed in January.
After Chad’s death, Jennifer had moved to intervene in the divorce and custody case between Christina and Chad. When a judge dismissed that case in January, Jennifer’s petition was dismissed along with it.
Matthew L. Harris, Jennifer’s attorney in the custody matter, told Law&Crime at the time that the dismissal meant the end of Jennifer’s custody efforts.
“Under Texas law, one of the blood-relatives of the children would need to file suit in order to obtain custody of the children, and it pains Mrs. Read that no family member has yet stepped up to protect these children,” Harris said.
In December, Jennifer filed a $50 million wrongful death claim against Carruth. That case has been on hold pending the outcome of Paxton’s investigation.
“The criminal justice utterly failed Jennifer Read, the widow of Chad Read,” Jennifer’s attorney Tony Buzbee said in a statement emailed to Law&Crime. “Chad Read was involved in a heated discussion with his ex-wife concerning custody of his son. The video shows that Kyle Carruth injected himself into that discussion. We believe there was no legitimate reason for Kyle Carruth to bring a deadly weapon to an argument that he wasn’t even a part of. Chad Read died unarmed, shot and killed while simply trying to determine the whereabouts of his son. The civil matter has been on hold awaiting the outcome of the criminal proceedings. We will now aggressively pursue Jennifer Read’s claims in civil court.”
Carruth has asked that Jennifer’s lawsuit, along with a lawsuit brought by Chad’s mother, Jinx Read, be moved and consolidated and transferred out of Lubbock.
Attorneys for Kyle Carruth did not immediately reply to Law&Crime’s request for comment.
[Images from video screengrab via Matthew L. Harris.]
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