BAY CITY, Texas – A 59-year-old mentally impaired Texas man imprisoned for more than 35 years despite his original murder conviction being overturned has received the maximum sentence of life in prison after he was found guilty a second time.
The Matagorda County jury that convicted Jerry Hartfield last week in the September 1976 slaying of 55-year-old Eunice Lowe could have given him from five to 99 years, or life.
Testimony showed Lowe was fatally beaten with a pickaxe at the Bay City bus station where she worked and that Hartfield had sex with her corpse.
Hartfield's original 1977 murder conviction was thrown out on appeal in 1980. Gov. Mark White in 1983 commuted his death sentence to life, but federal courts more recently decided the governor didn't have a sentence to commute.