A northeast Texas jury found a 22-year-old man guilty of capital murder Friday in the deaths of his parents and sentenced him to life in prison.
The panel, which deliberated for five hours, found that 22-year-old Brandon Woodruff killed Dennis and Norma Woodruff in their Royse City home in October 2005. Since prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, Woodruff received an automatic life sentence.
His sister, Charla Woodruff, read a statement in which she said she still is dealing with the horror and pain of the slayings.
"Brandon, you made me plan a funeral. That thought still disgusts me," said the woman, now a detective with the sheriff's office in Miller County, Ark.,
Adrienne McFarland, a special prosecutor from the Texas attorney general's office, told the Greenville Herald-Banner she was pleased with the verdict and declined further comment.
Woodruff told supporters he is innocent and will appeal.
McFarland said the defendant had reached limits on all his credit cards and that his parents were struggling with heavy debt. Woodruff was also about to drop out of freshman classes at Abilene Christian University, McFarland said, and was planning to tell his parents he was gay.
She argued Woodruff killed his parents to gain an insurance settlement.
"I'm not sure we sat through the same trial," defense attorney Katherine Ferguson said.
Ferguson said cell phone and toll road records showed that Woodruff did not have time to commit the slayings. Ferguson also cited a dispute among forensics experts over whether a dagger found more than two years after the deaths could have been the murder weapon.