Friday, March 2, 2012

Houston, TX: Houston woman convicted in husband's shooting death

A Houston woman received a seven-year prison sentence on Thursday after a jury found her guilty of manslaughter in the 2009 shooting death of her husband as he lay in their bed.

Sandra Martinez, 28, must spend at least 3½ years behind bars before she is eligible for parole after her conviction for killing her husband, Cesar Barrera, 28.

Defense attorney Eric Clay was hoping for a probation but said he was satisfied with the conviction on the lesser charge and the sentence.

The jury was also considering a murder conviction and a possible life sentence.

"They (the jurors) went through all the evidence and they did not believe that she intended to kill her husband," Clay said.

Martinez said she had been regularly abused by her husband, including the night she shot him.

"She said, 'I'm tired of this,' and pulled out his gun to scare him," Clay said.

Assistant Harris County District Attorney Ed McClees told jurors that Martinez placed the pistol within 2 inches of Barrera's head and pulled the trigger.

"There were allegations about him abusing her, which Mr. Barrera was unable to refute because he was killed," McClees said.

He said the evidence clearly indicated the relationship between Martinez and Barrera was rocky.

"But, it was an unjustified killing. This man did not in any way shape or form deserve to die," McClees said.

Prosecutors sought a murder conviction for Martinez. McClees declined to offer an opinion about the jurors' decision that manslaughter was more appropriate in the case.

"They rendered a verdict that they felt was just. That's how the system works," McClees said.

Clay said his client was holding up surprisingly well after her conviction.

"She realized that she had done something wrong," Clay said.

"She just wanted people to believe that she didn't do this on purpose."

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