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North Richland Hills man gets 30 years for killing wife

FORT WORTH -- A retired ironworker who told a 911 dispatcher last year that he had shot his wife because she had ridiculed him all of his life was sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday morning for murder.

Freddie Willhite, 69, must serve 15 years before he is eligible for parole.

State District Judge Mike Thomas sentenced Willhite despite his request to withdraw his guilty plea and replace his attorney, Scott Brown. Willhite was sentenced Monday morning in Criminal District Court No. 4 where the North Richland Hills man pleaded guilty to murder on July 16.

The shooting happened about 7:30 p.m. on March 19, 2007 in the 8400 block of Gifford Lane near the Keller-North Richland Hills line.

Neighbors and police gave this account of the shooting:

By 6 p.m. that night, Freddie Willhite was drunk again.

On several occasions when he was drunk, Donna Willhite, 66, would sit him down in their mobile home, calm him and then go next door to a second mobile home the couple owned, neighbors have said.

It didn’t happen that way that night.

Freddie Willhite called the dispatcher and said he had shot his wife.

In the 911 call, after the dispatcher asked him whether his wife was still alive, Freddie Willhite can be heard yelling “Are you alive or are you dead?”

He told the dispatcher that he would surrender peacefully when officers arrived.

When police arrived, he walked out of his mobile home with his hands in the air.

After he was taken into custody, officers found Donna Willhite in the mobile home.