Arlington

Man sentenced to 7 years after jury finds ‘sudden passion’ led to Arlington murder

Fort Worth police release 2018 crime stats

In 2018, the number of Crimes Against Persons dipped 5.3 percent compared to 2017, according to the Fort Worth Police Department.
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In 2018, the number of Crimes Against Persons dipped 5.3 percent compared to 2017, according to the Fort Worth Police Department.

Tarrant County jurors sentenced Gary Kent Lee to seven years in prison Monday for shooting and killing another man after an argument outside a convenience store.

The jury found Lee, 59, guilty of murder on Friday. Jurors began deliberating on his sentence Friday evening and resumed their deliberations Monday morning in state District Judge Mollee Westfall’s court.

Apparently, the jurors made a finding of sudden passion, which allowed them consider a lesser penalty range for the guilty murder verdict Lee faced, according to prosecutors. A first-degree felony murder conviction carries a maximum sentence of life to 99 years.

The sudden passion finding caps that maximum punishment at 20 years, Texas statutes say.

“The complicated interaction between the two men involved in this incident was clearly a factor in the jurors’ sudden passion finding and the term of sentence,” said Marcus Hanna, lead Tarrant County prosecutor. “We are hopeful everyone involved is able to find some closure in their verdict.”

The Texas Penal Code defines sudden passion as a degree of emotion so powerful that it renders the mind incapable of cool reflection.

Shooting happened like this

The shooting call came into police dispatch about 6:30 p.m. March 21, 2018, from a store in the 2100 block of East Abram Street, where officers found the body of Michael Alvarado, 27.

Alvarado’s death was ruled a homicide caused by high-velocity gunshot wounds to his chest, abdomen and neck, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Lee, then 58, was detained by officers in a nearby parking lot, Arlington police said.

At the time, investigators said they believe the two men entered a convenience store and engaged in some type of fight or argument that may have started in the parking lot.

Alvarado left the store on foot, while Lee walked to his car. Detectives believe Lee got a gun and shot Alvarado while he was walking in the street.

This story includes information from Star-Telegram archives

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