An Aledo woman sentenced to probation in 2009 after killing her husband is now headed to prison for using stolen credit card information to go on a shopping spree.
Jennifer Brinkman, 36, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of credit card abuse in state District Judge Louis Sturns’ court, records show.
Sturns revoked her probation on the murder conviction and sentenced her to six years in prison.
“Back in 2009, a jury saw fit to give her a second chance and put her on probation, and we are glad that the judge held her accountable when she did not live up to the conditions of her probation,” prosecutor Michelle Dobson said.
No one disputed that Brinkman fired the gun that killed her husband, Brian Brinkman, on Dec. 30, 2006. At trial, her attorney, Mark Daniel, argued for an acquittal, saying she was an abused wife who acted in self-defense against a violent man who attacked her in a drug-fueled rage and raped her.
The jury, rejecting a self-defense claim, convicted Jennifer Brinkman of murder and sentenced her to 10 years’ probation. The maximum sentence on a murder conviction is life in prison.
In September 2013, Brinkman went to court to ask Sturns to take her off probation. Daniel argued that she had complied with the conditions of her probation and had beaten her methamphetamine habit. Daniel presented evidence that Brinkman was engaged and planning a wedding while taking care of her two children and her fiance’s two children and holding down a job.
“It was a travesty that Jennifer Brinkman was ever arrested,” Daniel said at the time. “What she’s done is actually a success story. She was smothered in drugs by her husband. She did her community service and everything she was supposed to do. We’re asking you to close a really dark chapter in her life.”
According to records filed with the Tarrant County district clerk’s office in the credit card abuse case, Brinkman made unauthorized purchases in June and July 2013 of more than $720 for tickets to NRH2O Family Water Park in North Richland Hills and of nearly $400 for clothing.
Brinkman later made restitution for those purchases, the records show.
In her guilty plea, Brinkman admitted gaining access to customer credit card numbers while working as a clerk at a south Fort Worth florist shop and using the information to buy products online.
Less than a year after Brian Brinkman was killed, Texas lawmakers removed the possibility of probation for a murder conviction, said Sean Colston, who prosecuted Jennifer Brinkman in 2009. The new law was not retroactive.
During Brinkman’s trial, the sentencing phase was crammed into one day after two weeks of testimony on her guilt or innocence. Daniel called about 30 witnesses who portrayed Brinkman as a caring mom who kept her 7-year-old twins, Lexie and Lance, active in swimming and gymnastics competitions.
Daniel’s last witnesses were the twins, who begged the jury not to send their mother to prison.
Each turned to the jury and said, “I want my mommy. I need my mommy. Please don’t take her away from me.”
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752