Fort Worth garage owner gets 25 years for killing ex-employee

Posted Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH -- An auto repair shop owner was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Tuesday for killing an unarmed 25-year-old man last year.

Arthur Foley Jr., 44, of Fort Worth, faced a maximum sentence of life in prison for killing Brandon Sibley, a former employee of Foley.

"Brandon Sibley has been gone now for about a year and a half," prosecutor Joshua Ross said in his closing argument Tuesday. "This moment today is his last chance to have a voice. And that voice is going to come through you, the jury."

As the jury walked out of the courtroom for an afternoon recess, Foley's son, Arthur Foley III, rose from the gallery to tell his father that he loved him.

Foley was convicted on a murder charge on Monday.

Earlier Tuesday, friends and relatives testified on Foley's behalf in the punishment phase.

"He bought me some brand new tires," said Tilwen Green, a former employee and friend of Foley. "He knew I suffered with my back and I needed them."

But insurance investigators testified that they believed Foley submitted more than $33,000 in fraudulent claims after a burglary in December 2009 at Alf's Auto Repair, Foley's garage in the 5200 block of Mosson Road in southeast Fort Worth.

"I don't believe this is just a case of sloppy record-keeping," said Sgt. Kevin Lemon, an investigator with the Texas State Board of Insurance. "Some of the people Foley submitted claims on don't exist."

Defense attorney Abe Factor said during his closing that prosecutors spent the entire week trying to destroy his client's reputation in front of the people who loved and trusted him, but they continued to love and trust him.

"There isn't any question that Arthur Foley has to go to prison in this case and there is no question that it is a tragedy that Brandon Sibley is dead," Factor said. "It is true that some people commit murder because they have a history of violence. But it's not true in this case."

During the trial, witnesses testified that Sibley had been fired by Foley. They said Sibley had left stereo speakers at the shop as collateral on a $300 to $400 loan.

Employee Willie Davis testified that when Sibley showed up at the garage on May 23, 2011, Davis told Sibley that the speakers had been stolen when the business was burglarized two days earlier.

Davis said he would replace the speakers or give Sibley cash after the insurance company settled the burglary claim and after Sibley repaid the loan.

Sibley left the shop but returned later that afternoon and got into a fight with Foley's sister, Miracle Foley, Davis testified. During the altercation, a gun dropped to the ground from Sibley's pants and Foley picked it up.Foley testified he shot Sibley once to protect his sister.

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752

Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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