Larry Joe Smith, 69, will have to serve 21 years of that sentence before he is eligible for parole. Smith shot his former girlfriend, Sandra Greenhaw, in the chest as she tried to climb through the window of his Whitehouse home.
The trial took place in the Smith County 114th District Court with Judge Christi Kennedy presiding.
Smith, who lived in the home alone, said he could not see very well because his only light came from the television set and a single light bulb over his chair. He said he thought Ms. Greenhaw was an intruder.
Karen Ream, a forensic scientist with the Department of Public Safety lab in Tyler, testified last week that Smith’s blood alcohol content was .165, which is more than twice the legal limit for driving. She said it would take someone drinking the equivalent amount of alcohol found in eight or nine drinks, or about 1 ½ ounces of alcohol per drink, for someone to have a blood alcohol content at that level.
Prosecutor Jacob Putnam asked about the effect that a high alcohol content can have on someone. “It results in exaggerated emotional states, coordination and a lot worse,” Ms. Ream said.
Smith and Ms. Greenhaw, 57 at the time of her death, had been a couple since 2000. The two had been friends for many years before they became involved romantically, prosecutor Whitney Tharpe told jurors in her opening statements. Smith had been the best friend of Ms. Greenhaw’s former husband, she said.
The couple broke up in 2005, but continued to see each other and have drinks together often. “Their relationship could be good and bad and violent. “He set her clothes on fire and busted out her windshield,” Ms. Tharpe told jurors.
The verdicts concluded nine days of testimony. Defense attorney Melvin Thompson also represented Smith.