Woman sentenced to 99 years for murdering her father

GRANBURY -- Deborah Ann Wilson's attorneys argued Wednesday that she didn't help kill her elderly father, who was kicked and beaten to death by her brother last year on the southeast Hood County property where the family lived.

Hood County jurors disagreed.

It took them 15 minutes Wednesday to convict Wilson of murder in the death of her 82-year-old father, George Malone, in September 2009.

The sentencing phase of the trial began immediately. Defense attorney Terence Russell told jurors again that Wilson, 60, was less responsible for the death than her brother, David Malone, 59, who kicked his father's head like a football.

Russell asked the jury to consider the full range of punishment -- five to 99 years in prison -- and to stay on the low end.

He lost that argument as well. After deliberating for an hour and 35 minutes, the jury recommended 99 years in prison, the same sentence David Malone received Sept. 17.

Wilson, who had cried when prosecutors showed photos of her brutally beaten father, showed no emotion when the verdict was returned or when she was sentenced by 355th District Judge Ralph Walton.

But her attorneys said they were disappointed by the swift guilty verdict and the long sentence for a woman they said was minimally involved in the death.

Paul Hyde, who assisted in Wilson's defense, said he had hoped that telling jurors about David Malone's 99-year sentence would help them realize that they didn't need to punish Wilson because her brother was already paying for the murder.

"Whether that backfired, I don't know, " he said.

Hyde said one juror told him that they quickly decided that Wilson was responsible even though her brother inflicted the fatal blows. It took longer to decide how her culpability compared with her brother's, he said.

DA pleased with trial outcome

District Attorney Rob Christian, who tried the case with Assistant District Attorney Patrick Berry, said he was pleased that jurors saw what he saw: that Wilson was an active participant in one of the most brutal murders he has ever seen.

Witnesses testified that Wilson repeatedly bit her father, nearly severing his ear, and then held him down while her brother kicked his head.

Christian said he believes that Wilson, who told another brother that she wanted her father to die, was more responsible for the fatal attack than her brother.

"I think Deborah was meaner, angrier and escalated this whole situation," he said. "Did they intend to kill him or did they have such callous disregard for him that they didn't care? To me, that's worse."

In closing arguments Wednesday, Russell argued that Wilson was defending herself after her father threw her to the ground and began beating her. He said George Malone's ear was bitten when he wrapped around Wilson. He said she told law officers that she "beat the hell out of my father" because she wanted to believe that she had stood up to George Malone, who had raped her when she was a child.

But prosecutors said Wilson was drunk and instigated the attack by breaking down the fence around her father's garden and confronting him. Even if George Malone threw his daughter to the ground as one witness testified, she, not her father, had the legal duty to retreat from the fight, Berry said.

Prosecutors argued that brother and sister hatched the murder plot after they learned three days before the attack that their father was seeking a protective order against them.

"None of this would have happened except for this woman," Berry said. "She wanted him dead and she made it happen."

Martha Deller,