Man Gets 60 Years In Sister's Slaying
By PHILLIP WILLIAMS
GILMER -- A jury in the 115th District Court sentenced Glenn Wade Myers Jr. to 60 years in prison Tuesday after convicting him of murder in last summer's shooting death of his sister near Big Sandy.
Myers, 55, of Big Sandy, testified Tuesday morning that he did not kill 52-year-old Cindy Espinoza, who was shot outside her rural Nutmeg Road home July 2. Testimony established she was shot in the mouth from close range with a .410-gauge shotgun.
Defense attorney Tim Cone said the conviction would be appealed, probably to the Sixth Court of Appeals in Texarkana. Trial Judge Lauren Parish appointed him to handle the appeal.
The six-man, six-woman jury deliberated more than four hours Tuesday before finding Myers guilty, and less than 40 minutes in determining the sentence. Myers would have to serve half the 60-year term before becoming eligible for parole.
The emotion-filled case boiled down largely to the prosecution's scientific and purported eyewitness evidence, as opposed to Cone's assertion that the Upshur County Sheriff's Office had done "flat lazy, sloppy work" in investigating the shooting.
Key prosecution testimony came Monday from Espinoza's daughter-in-law, Nochell White, who said she saw Myers running with a gun after the shooting. In addition, Espinoza's daughter, Dawn Tigue, testified Monday she discovered her mother lying in the yard after hearing a "boom," and that when she repeatedly shouted for help, music from a radio in Myers' nearby house "would just get louder and louder."
Another prime part of the prosecution case was testimony Tuesday from Texas Department of Public Safety forensic scientist Trisha Kacer, who said a blood sample from Espinoza was consistent with the DNA profile of a bloodstain found on the back of the shirt Myers wore July 2.
Mrs. White, Mrs. Espinoza and Myers lived in separate dwellings on the family property where the shooting occurred. On the day of the shooting, Mrs. White testified, she was talking on the phone in her home when she heard a gunshot.
She said she looked through a window and "I saw Glenn running across the clearing" between his trailer and Espinoza's house. "He had a gun in his hand ... He was moving at a fast pace, but he was hobbling because he had a limp," Mrs. White said.
Myers testified he had attempted to kill a snake with "a piece of long, skinny wood," but the reptile had gotten away.
He also said he was hard of hearing to some degree, and that he heard neither the gunshot nor Ms. Tigue crying for help. Myers said he had his radio and air conditioner on, as well as a Western movie that contained "a lot of gunfire."
Myers said he had never seen a .410-gauge shotgun, which a sheriff's investigator found under a toolbox on the property four days after the shooting, and which is believed to be the murder weapon.
When Cone asked, "Glenn, did you kill her?," Myers replied, "No, sir, I did not."
Ms. Tigue testified her mother had just showered and was going to collect rent from Myers when the shooting occurred. In its opening and closing arguments, however, the state never gave any motive for the shooting.
Sheriff's detective David Cruce, who headed the investigation, testified Monday that when he interviewed Myers, the defendant said "somebody had told him a lady had been hurt.
He wanted to know who it was."
"Did he show any remorse that his sister had been killed?" asked the lead prosecutor in the case, Assistant District Attorney Edward Choy.
"I saw none," replied Cruce, who said this was the first homicide investigation he has ever done. According to testimony, Myers exited his trailer peacefully when sheriff's deputies went to it.
Cone zeroed in on what he claimed were deficiencies in the investigation, including never looking at anyone except Myers as a suspect; failing to take fingerprints; failing to secure the crime scene after a time; and not doing a hand swab of Myers for gunshot residue.
But Choy, joining District Attorney Billy Byrd in making final arguments to the jury, argued "all the evidence pointed to Glenn Myers," and the trial was "not about the Upshur County Sheriff's Office."
Myers showed no emotion when the guilty verdict was announced.
Choy told the
Tyler Morning Telegraph
he believed the determining factor in obtaining the conviction was Ms. White's eyewitness testimony. Cone meantime said the "blood evidence hurt us pretty bad," but that he thought there was a "lot of room for reasonable doubt" of Myers' guilt.