Texas Court Denies Appeal in Murder Case, Despite Defendant’s “Sudden Passion” Argument

In a recent murder case involving a man and his wife, the defendant’s appeal to a district court in Texas was unsuccessful. Originally, the defendant was convicted for murder after he drove up to his wife’s place of work and shot her. He appealed, arguing the crime was a crime of passion and thus that he should not have been so severely punished. The court rejected the defendant’s argument and affirmed his conviction.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant had gotten in a fight with his wife because she had been living in a separate apartment with the couple’s adult son. The defendant was unhappy that she needed space away from him, and he felt as though he was choosing their son over him. Subsequently, the defendant became depressed.

While experiencing this sense of depression, the defendant drove to the assisted living facility where his wife worked and waited for about an hour for her to arrive for her shift. He then “freaked out”, took a gun out of the back of his truck, and killed his wife. He drove home then immediately went to a local police station to turn himself in. According to the defendant’s report at the police station, the shooting was an accident and was not pre-meditated.

The Decision

On appeal, the defendant argued that he shot his wife under the influence of sudden passion. The reason the defendant tried to make this argument is that according to the Texas Penal Code if a defendant proves that his crime was a crime of passion, the murder offense is reduced from a first-degree felony to a second-degree felony. The law is clear that in order to qualify under this “sudden passion” law, the victim must provoke the individual in a way that makes them respond with immediate anger or rage – this anger or rage must be what then leads directly to the murder itself.

The court found that while the defendant might have been experiencing anger or rage, it was not the victim who immediately provoked this rage right before the shooting. The defendant had time to “cool down” after beginning to feel angry with his wife and before shooting her. Thus his crime was not a crime of “sudden passion” – he waited in the parking lot for one hour before his wife arrived at work, supposedly planning the entire time to kill her once she got there. Because of these factors, then, the crime did not result from a sudden sense of passion, and the defendant’s argument was rejected. The original verdict and sentence were both affirmed.

Are You Facing Murder Charges in Texas?

If you have been charged with murder in Texas, it is in your best interest to call our team at Guest and Gray. Our law practice is dedicated to defending Texans who have found themselves entwined in the criminal legal system and who want their rights to be well protected. We will prioritize your needs and offer you the best representation you can get. For a free and confidential consultation, call us at 972-564-4644.

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