FORT WORTH — Had she and her husband, Mike, not provided their daughter, Jennifer Brinkman, with the gun that the 31-year-old used to kill her husband, "she probably wouldn't be alive today," Becky Penniger said Monday during testimony in the punishment phase of her daughter's murder trial.
On the stand, Becky Penniger said her daughter needed protection from Brian Brinkman, who had a history of violent outbursts during the couple's stormy marriage.
Jennifer Brinkman was convicted of murder Friday by a Tarrant County jury.
During the trial, the jurors heard testimony about an incident in which Brian Brinkman attacked Mike Penniger after he confronted his son-in-law about leaving his pregnant wife outside a drug house in Arlington. Brian Brinkman tackled the older man and repeatedly beat his head against the concrete, according to Jennifer Brinkman’s testimony during the trial.
Mike Penniger purchased the gun after that attack, according to testimony.
Jurors were also told about a violent episode where Jennifer Brinkman was pushed out of moving truck while the couple’s twins were sitting in the back seat. They also were told of the day her husband Brian Brinkman raped her just weeks after she gave birth to the couple’s twins.
Asked by Jennifer Brinkman’s defense attorney, Mark Daniel, about giving her daughter the .32-caliber handgun, she replied: “I don’t know how I feel about giving her the gun.”
After a brief pause Becky Penniger said, “I don’t think she would be sitting her.”
It took a Tarrant County jury two days to convict Jennifer Brinkman of murder. She faces up to life in prison though she is eligible for probation.
Penniger said she disagreed with the jury’s decision Friday to convict her daughter.
The jury also could find the murder was an act of sudden passion, meaning, they would have to chose a prison term between two and 20 years.
On the stand, Penniger said she suspected drugs were being used in her daughter’s marriage.
Under cross examination, prosecutor Sean Colston asked Penniger if giving a gun to a person on drugs was irresponsible.
“Wouldn’t you think it would be irresponsible to give a ‘Meth’ addict a firearm?” he asked.
“Everyone has a right to protect themselves,” she replied.
Colston repeated the question again.
“Brian had one,” Penniger answered.
“You don’t think it’s irresponsible to take into account their mental capacity?” Colston asked.
Becky Penniger replied, “Yes, sir.”
Jennifer Brinkman has said she feared her husband and only shot him in self-defense. On the night of the shooting, an argument ensued between the couple after Brian Brinkman had broken into his estranged wife’s second-floor apartment.
Testimony in the punishment phase continued with more than 20 character witnesses who testified about how loving and caring Jennifer Brinkman is to her 7-year-old twins.