A Tarrant County jury took 90 minutes Thursday to find John St. Angelo guilty of killing his ex-wife, rejecting his claims of self-defense.
St. Angelo, 50, was convicted of slitting the throat of and fatally stabbing Suzanne Parsons, 49, of Haslet on Dec. 30, 2013, in her north Fort Worth real estate office.
The jury began deliberating shortly before 11 a.m. Testimony in the sentencing phase of the trial began at about 2 p.m. St. Angelo faces up to 99 years in prison.
St. Angelo testified Wednesday that he first tried to prevent Parsons from committing suicide but ended up killing her to save his own life.
Tarrant County prosecutor Jim Hudson told the jury not to buy it during his closing arguments Thursday.
“That pack of lies that he got up and told you yesterday does not fit the facts at all,” Hudson said.
The reality is that St. Angelo confronted a scared woman who did not want to see him that day, repeatedly stabbed her until he knew she was dead and then laughed about what he had done when he talked to a police officer, according to prosecutors.
“He took the knife, ran down the hallway and fled out of an open window without leaving a drop of his blood at the scene,” Hudson said.
St. Angelo and Parsons had known each other for years but after three years of marriage Parsons was ready to get out, said Allenna Bangs, the Tarrant County assistant district attorney working with Hudson on the case.
But as much as she wanted to, St. Angelo would not let Parsons get away from him.
“Suzanne was trapped,” Bangs said. “Did she make mistakes by going back around him? She did. But she paid for her mistakes.”
Following a vacation in Mexico that ended with St. Angelo punching his ex-wife and then choking her unconscious, Parsons filed for a protective order and received a divorce in December 2013, according to testimony.
But they were still intimate, both sets of attorneys acknowledged. On Christmas Day, Parsons was walking out of St. Angelo’s house when he slapped her face and dragged her back into the house by her hair, according to court documents. Parsons had to promise to return and leave her jewelry as collateral before St. Angelo would allow her to leave, Bangs said.
On Dec. 28, 2013, Parsons identified St. Angelo as a suspect in an arson at her residence in the 600 block of Irish Glen Court in Fort Worth. Parsons told authorities she was awakened by a loud banging and discovered her window screen had been tampered with and her pool equipment set on fire, according to witness testimony.
A bailiff with the Tarrant County sheriff’s department testified during the punishment phase of the trial on Thursday that it appeared as though St. Angelo was flipping off Parsons’ friends and relatives who have been watching the trial from the courtroom gallery.
After the guilty verdict had been read and the jury had vacated the courtroom, St. Angelo positioned his hand on his left cheek in a manner that resembled an obscene gesture, according to the witness.
The bailiff said she walked over to St. Angelo and asked him to either re-position his hand or put his hand by his side, and he stopped the seemingly offensive gesture.
The punishment phase is expected to continue Friday in state District Judge George Gallagher’s court.
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752