An Aledo man pleaded no contest Thursday and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in the 2005 killing of a Haltom City woman, a case that went cold until his arrest in 2015.
Larry Wayne Driskill, 54, was accused of strangling Bobbie Sue Hill, 29, in Fort Worth and dumping her body in a Parker County creek bed the night of March 6, 2005.
Driskill had admitted killing Hill in interviews with Texas Rangers investigators, but he later recanted, said his attorney, Jack Strickland.
“Mr. Driskill has maintained from my very first visit with him up until my last that he was not guilty of that offense,” Strickland said Thursday. “Under that circumstance, I couldn’t allow him to plead guilty.”
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Still, Driskill was “realistic” about how a jury would view evidence of a confession if the case went to trial, Strickland said.
“That’s a hard nut to crack,” Strickland said. “It’s a pretty esoteric defense to raise.”
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Driskill had picked up Hill, who was working as a prostitute, at a convenience store near East Lancaster Avenue.
A witness referred to as Hill’s “pimp” in the affidavit said Hill got into a white van with a man and parked at a nearby apartment complex. The witness waited within 20 feet of the van.
He said that within minutes the man in the van, then naked, came up from between the seats. According to the affidavit, Driskill said he and Hill got into an altercation because Driskill believed she was trying to steal his wallet.
Driskill told investigators that his “hand went from her chest to her neck and choked her down,” the affidavit said. Driskill said he then drove down the interstate, stopped and later put “her in a bag in the van and got rid of the body.”
Hill’s body was found in a creek bed near a bridge in the 1300 block of Jenkins Road in Aledo, about eight miles from Driskill’s home.
Through the years, authorities chased numerous leads but failed to find a suspect. They reviewed the case in October 2014 and discovered that the witness was in the Tarrant County Jail.
A Texas Rangers forensic artist created composite drawings of the suspect after visiting with the witness, who was one of the last people to see Hill alive.
The artist created two drawings — one of the time of the slaying and another using age progression, authorities said.
After the drawings were released, investigators received tips identifying the suspect as Driskill, who had been working on a county road crew.
“As far as cold cases go, most get resolved through DNA,” Parker County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain said. “This was one of those cases where we went back through and re-examined everything ... We got really lucky [getting tips identifying Driskill], but in a place like Parker County, people know their neighbors. They know everybody.”
During three days of interviews with Texas Rangers investigators, Driskill made “several admissions,” Swain said.
Strickland, Driskill’s attorney, said he believed the pressure of the situation led Driskill to confess.
“He finally just said, ‘Yeah, that’s what I did,’ ” Strickland said.
It was uncertain, though, how Driskill’s interviews would have played at trial.
The investigators’ recording equipment malfunctioned during a key part of the interview, Swain said, leading to concerns by the prosecution as to how much weight a jury would have put into the rest of Driskill’s statements.
Ultimately, the district attorney’s office was satisfied with how the case played out.
“We are thankful to get closure for the family of the victim and to hold Mr. Driskill accountable,” District Attorney Don Schnebly said in a news release.
Hill’s oldest daughter, Ashley Lor, gave a victim impact statement after Driskill was sentenced, according to the news release.
“My mom’s short life enriched the lives of so many people,” Lor said. “She’ll never be forgotten. She’ll be loved and missed forever. May she now finally rest in peace.”
Driskill will be eligible for parole after serving half of his sentence.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS MATERIAL FROM THE STAR-TELEGRAM ARCHIVES.