FORT WORTH — A 31-year-old woman was convicted of murder Friday in the shooting death of her husband three years ago after he broke into her second-floor apartment.
A Tarrant County jury deliberated for about 15 hours over two days before finding Jennifer Brinkman guilty.
She admitted shooting Brian Brinkman, 32, on Dec. 30, 2006, but said she acted in self-defense. The guilty verdict means that the jury believed that she killed him intentionally.
The eight men and four women deliberated for about nine hours Thursday, then were sequestered overnight at a Fort Worth hotel.
After deliberations resumed Friday morning, jurors sent a message to state District Judge Louis Sturns that they were at an impasse, prosecutor Sean Colston said.
After asking for and reviewing the evidence, the jury came to a decision about 4 p.m.
"We’re pleased with the verdict," said Colston, who tried the case with Michelle Dobson.
When the verdict was read, Brinkman’s attorney, Mark Daniel, comforted her as she slumped in her chair with her head bowed.
Throughout the two-week trial, Daniel portrayed his client as the victim of a violent, sadistic drug addict
Many of Brinkman’s 30 relatives and friends cried. One supporter ran from the courtroom.
Brinkman’s father, Mike Penninger, declined to comment as he and other family members left the courthouse. Penninger testified during that trial that his son-in-law beat him twice, once so severely that he was hospitalized with 80 stitches.
Jennifer Brinkman hugged her 7-year-old twins, Lexie and Lance, for about five minutes before she was taken to the Tarrant County Jail. She had been free on bail.
The punishment phase of the trial is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday in the 213th District Court.
"We are certainly disappointed," Daniel said. "The jury obviously worked hard. We intend to be fully prepared for the second phase of the trial."
The maximum sentence for a murder conviction is life in prison. But Brinkman is eligible for probation. Judges are required to follow the jury’s sentencing recommendation. But they are allowed to order the defendant to serve up to 180 days in jail as a condition of probation.
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