Friday, January 16, 2015

Divorced dad gets 40 years in prison for shooting and killing 14-year-old daughter (Whitney, Texas)

One of those crimes that make you go "huh". Looked into this some more, and it appears that dad EDWIN ODELL COLLINS was divorced, and the mom lived elsewhere (Waco). I figured as much given that there was no mention of the mother in this crazy account--but was mention of a girlfriend that he filmed in the bathroom against her knowledge. Sounds like one crazy f***.

I haven't been able to determine for sure what the custodial arrangements, but at minimum, the father had access. At least one internet commentator says he had full custody, though I can't verify that.

Still, why did this meth-addled nutcase have any access at all?

Whitney father who killed daughter sentenced to 40 years in prison

Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 9:11 am | Updated: 8:02 pm, Fri Jan 16, 2015.

A Whitney man who shot his daughter in the back two years ago at point-blank range and left her body lying in a field for four hours before calling authorities was sentenced to 40 years in prison Friday.

Hill County jurors in 66th State District Court deliberated about an hour Friday before determining punishment for Edwin Odell Collins Jr. in the July 2012 shooting death of his 14-year-old daughter, Judith.

Collins, 43, a truck driver, showed no emotion as the verdict was read. He must serve at least 20 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.

The jury, which deliberated five hours Thursday before convicting Collins’ of murder, also assessed a $7,500 fine.

Judith Collins’ mother, Terri Millerd, dabbed at tears after the trial was over and declined comment before leaving the courthouse.

Trial testimony revealed that Collins had been using methamphetamine for at least two days before he thought someone was coming to get him and his three children at their home off Farm-to-Market Road 933 in Whitney.

As he fled with his kids, Collins said he thought he saw people with flashlights and fired several shots with his 12-gauge shotgun. As Collins lay in wait for the unknown assailants, he fired again when one of his daughters screamed, striking Judith in the back from 4 feet away.

Collins, a former Marine, did not testify during the five-day trial. But authorities said he told them he and his son and daughter hid in the woods for four hours before they went to Collins’ family store, The Hitchin’ Post. Collins told his kids not to tell his father that Judith was dead. He later drove to the sheriff’s office to report the incident.

Collins’ attorneys, Kirk Lechtenberger and Chris Woodward, argued that Judith’s death was a tragic accident and that Collins was not guilty of murder.

However, special prosecutors David Deaconson and David Dumas, convinced the jury that Collins had the intent to kill someone that night, saying if the intent was there, if doesn’t matter who he shot, it still meets the definition of murder.

At sentencing, Judge Lee Harris said the case caused him to have “one of the more disturbing days I’ve had in over 20 years of legal practice,” adding that he knows the Collins family.

“I hate that you went down this road,” the judge said.

Donald Barnes, 68, of Hubbard, one of seven men who served on the jury, became emotional as he discussed the case after the trial.

“I’m going to have to live with this for a long time,” he said. “It’s kept me up at night.”

He said he and three other men wanted to give Collins life in prison and one juror started at 25 years. They kept working before agreeing on 40 years.

“There were several factors in this trial that some of us just could not get beyond,” Barnes said, his voice breaking. “I don’t think any of us felt he intentionally shot his daughter, but he was certainly trying to kill somebody. But he left that baby laying out there in that field for hours and didn’t even check for a pulse and didn’t call 911 and told his son to throw his cellphone away.

“It was all of our general opinion that we wouldn’t treat an animal like that, much less a child.”

Dumas and Deaconson said a life sentence would be appropriate and asked the jury for a minimum of 50 years. Dumas said they are satisfied with the jury’s verdict.

Punishment phase testimony showed Collins used methamphetamine and videotaped his girlfriend in the bathroom and during their lovemaking sessions without her knowledge or approval. He also beat Judith with a belt in 2010, leaving bruising, swelling and marks. Before the trial resumed Friday morning, Harris and the attorneys in the case discussed a situation where one of the women on the jury was approached by someone Thursday night while shopping at Wal-Mart in Hillsboro.

The judge said the woman reported someone in the store saying, “Yep, that’s her. What was she thinking, ruining a man’s life like this.”

The judge said after trial that the Hillsboro Police Department is investigating the incident to determine if it meets the elements for a retaliation or obstruction of justice charge.