Wednesday, November 28, 2012
FORT WORTH -- A man who knocked down his estranged wife's door with a sledgehammer and then shot her to death in the back yard of her home pleaded guilty to murder Monday and received a 40-year prison sentence.
Patrick Edward Arnold, 69, was in the process of a divorce with his wife, Linda Kay Arnold, 59, which many characterized as bitter. Arnold asked prosecutors to seek the death penalty in his case, according to Terri Moore, his attorney.
"The way the divorce proceeded made him jump off a cliff emotionally," Moore said. "He was extremely remorseful. If he could have taken it back, he would have."
Kay Arnold, a music teacher in the Arlington school district, was shot on June 10, 2010, in front of her neighbor outside her Arlington home, authorities said. The day before the shooting, Patrick Arnold had been ordered to pay spousal support and his wife's attorney's fees, and faced jail time if he refused.
At the time, Arnold was forbidden by court order from calling, texting or getting within 200 feet of Kay Arnold's home in the 4100 block of Green Acres Circle, or the schools where she worked.
Lloyd Whelchel, the prosecutor, said the plea agreement was reached after speaking to Kay Arnold's daughter.
"He will die in prison," Whelchel said.
State records show that Patrick Arnold received a 30-year prison sentence in 1982 after he was convicted in Dallas County of theft, burglary of a home, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated kidnapping with a deadly weapon.
Arnold was released in October 1992, but returned about a year later on a parole violation and served until August 2000, when he was released again on mandatory supervision, records show. His supervision on that case would have ended in April 2013.
After fatally shooting his wife, Arnold drove to the police station, confessed and showed authorities the location of the murder weapon, Moore said.
"He does well in confinement," Moore said. "He does well with order and structure. He's fragile and obviously does not make good decisions."