FORT WORTH -- A 54-year-old Fort Worth man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for the fatal stabbing of another man over a dispute about drugs.Clifton Wesley was sentenced Monday by state District Judge Sharen Wilson, two days after a jury found him guilty of murder in the death of Preston Lorenzo Hunt.He has appealed, court records show.Hunt, 48, was found dead inside his apartment on Sept 10, 2011, by his girlfriend.Evidence presented in the trial showed Wesley and Hunt had been using drugs in Hunt's apartment for a couple of days when Wesley stabbed Hunt in the back because he believed Hunt had cheated him out of some drugs, according to a press release by the Tarrant County District Attorney's office.The release states that after his arrest, Wesley confessed to another jail inmate, who testified during the trial.Wes Ball, Wesley's defense attorney, attacked the investigation by Fort Worth police and said the lead investigator in the case only learned during the trial that a cellphone he believed had been stolen in the slaying was actually in the victim's back pocket.Ball said Hunt was alive when his client left the apartment that September day and that someone else murdered the man."There was basically zero physical evidence to connect Mr. Wesley to this crime," Ball said.Ball called Wilson's sentence of his client, who had faced up to 99 years or life, reasonable.Wesley was on parole at the time of his arrest.During the punishment phase of the trial Monday, prosecutors Michele Hartmann and Andrea Townsend presented evidence of his three prior felony convictions in Tarrant County -- two for aggravated robbery and one for theft from a person. A conviction for burglary of a habitation was also presented, the release states."We hope this 45-year sentence will finally put an end to Mr. Wesley's pattern of violence," Hartmann stated in the release.
Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655; Twitter: @deannaboyd