The attorney for the Texas woman who recorded her husband being shot to death by his ex-wife’s boyfriend has made a public plea for information in support of the civil lawsuit against the gunman.
“We’re calling on anyone who has knowledge of this situation to come forward,” said Tony Buzbee, an attorney for Jennifer Read, at a press conference Thursday. “If you have evidence, no matter how small, we want it. If you have texts, we want them.”
Law&Crime previously reported on Buzbee in the context of his representation of women accusing Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct.
Jennifer recorded the death of her husband, Chad Read, who was shot by Kyle Carruth on Nov. 5 during a custody dispute between Chad and his ex-wife, Christina Read. Chad and Jennifer had gone to Carruth’s home, which is also his home office, to pick up Chad and Christina’s son. Chad and Christina started to argue over the time Chad was supposed to take custody of their son.
During the argument, Kyle is seen going into the home and emerging with a gun. As the conflict escalated, Kyle shot into the porch near Chad’s feet. Chad then used the gun as leverage to push Kyle away from him, at which point Kyle fired two shots at Chad.
Carruth’s lawyer, David Guinn, has said that his client was acting in self defense. Jennifer has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Carruth, claiming negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
At Thursday’s press conference, Buzbee said that he has spoken to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), who reassured him that the matter would be “thoroughly investigated,” and that charges would be brought, if warranted.
“I’m going to hold him to that,” Buzbee said. “Jennifer’s going to hold him to that.”
Buzbee indicated, however, that action should already have been taken.
“When there’s a shooting and a death, an arrest is made, period,” Buzbee said. “No arrest was made here. Very few people were even questioned. The man who pulled the trigger and killed Chad Read is still walking around this community.”
‘Provoking the Difficulty’
Buzbee said Kyle never should have gotten involved in the custody dispute, and that he created the very situation that he now claims put him in danger.
“There are certain legal principles in criminal law, something called ‘provoking the difficulty,'” Buzbee said. “You cannot interject violence into a situation and then claim self defense. You cannot provoke violence and then claim self defense. You cannot assault someone and then, when they react, claim self defense. Shooting a weapon in the direction of an individual is an assault. You cannot assault someone and then turn around and then claim self defense.”
This is an argument that recently got a lot of play in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial: You cannot claim self-defense against a danger you create. But in the Rittenhouse case, jurors ultimately acquitted the defendant on all charges.
Buzbee said that Carruth didn’t abide by the general legal obligation to act reasonably or responsibly.
“It is unreasonable and irresponsible to interject yourself into a conversation that you have no business being a part of,” Buzbee said. “It’s irresponsible and negligent for you to leave, go into a structure, and return with a weapon and interject yourself into an argument that you have no part of. It’s irresponsible for you to shoot the weapon in the direction of someone else who is unarmed, who is not moving toward you.”
Buzbee said this isn’t a case of limiting access to firearms, but to ensure that they are used responsibly.
“Let me say a word to the people that own weapons, that own guns, across the state of Texas,” Buzbee said. “If you’re like me and you lawfully own a weapon and you’re responsible for that weapon, and you watch that video, you’ll probably have the same reaction that I have, that [Carruth] was not acting responsibly.”
“We support the right to bear arms,” Buzbee added. “We support the right to use those weapons. [But] no one can support what happened on that day. Chad Read died unnecessarily.”
Buzbee also said that he believes that Kyle Carruth had “animosity” toward Chad Read well before the shooting, and was seeking “evidence that pertains to actions [or] anything he said about Chad Read, or Chad Read’s marriage. Specifically we want the texts, because we know they exist.”
‘I’m Blessed to be a Read Now.’
Jennifer stood by Buzbee for the duration of the press conference, holding a sign that featured a picture of her and Chad.
“My name is Jennifer Read—I’m blessed to be a Read now,” she said. “Chad Read is my husband. He was a good husband and I loved him more than anything in this world.”
Jennifer said that she and Chad did not expect a confrontation when they went to Carruth’s house on Nov. 5.
“We only went there to try and find his son who we thought would be there,” Jennifer said. “Chad was not a violent man. He didn’t have a gun.”
Jennifer begged authorities to take action against Carruth.
“I saw Kyle Carruth shoot and kill my husband,” she said. “Kyle Carruth has not been arrested. Please, please, I ask the police to take action, I ask the AG’s office to take action. I want justice for my husband, Chad Read.”
Buzbee echoed this sentiment.
“I think it’s pretty clear that this family is grieving, they are suffering. They deserve justice,” Buzbee said. “So far they’ve gotten nothing.”
“Jennifer Read watched her unarmed husband get gunned down and killed right in front of her eyes,” Buzbee added. “We want action.”
Matthew Harris, the attorney representing Jennifer in her effort to take custody of Chad and Christina’s children, was also at the press conference, but he did not speak.
When asked whether he believed Christina Read should be prosecuted as a co-conspirator or accomplice in Chad’s death, Buzbee deferred to authorities, although Jennifer could be seen nodding her head vigorously.
“I’ll let the attorney general’s office decide that,” Buzbee said.
Buzbee dismissed the idea that increased publicity around the shooting could jeopardize the investigation.
“I think the more light you shine on a situation, the more likely it is you’re going to get action,” he said.
Buzbee’s press conference comes days after the Texas attorney general confirmed that it is investigating the shooting. Carruth’s estranged wife, Ann–Marie Carruth, is a district judge in Lubbock; the Lubbock County District Attorney’s office recused itself from the case.
Chad Read’s mother, Jinx Read, has filed wrongful death lawsuit against Carruth on behalf of herself and Chad’s children. A lawyer for Jinx told Law&Crime that they do not intend to issue any statement or response regarding their lawsuit against Carruth or Thursday’s press conference.
Law&Crime has reached out repeatedly to Guinn, the lawyer for Carruth. He has not responded.
[Images via Matthew Harris.]
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