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Friday, September 1, 2023

Who Murdered Jon Garner?

     In 2018, Jon Garner and his wife Sandra Louise Garner resided in the small Ellis County town of Maypearl, Texas. They were managers at the DHL Express and We Pack companies in nearby Paris, Texas. The couple had met in 2000 and two years later were married. Sandra, 13 years older than Jon, was twice-divorced with two children, Andrea and Wesley Miller.

     In 2014 Sandra Garner was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Two years after the diagnosis the couple moved from Paris, Texas to the house in Maypearl. Jon Garner, described by people who knew him as a bit "wild and crazy," also drank heavily and suffered bouts of depression.

     In the early morning hours of January 2, 2018, 58-year-old Sandra Garner called 911 and rather calmly said, "There was a man here and he shot him. Please help me."

     Responding deputies with the Ellis County Sheriff's Office found the 911 caller's 45-year-old husband in bed with two gunshot wounds to his head. He was pronounced dead at the scene. At the sheriff's office Sandra Garner told her questioners that when awaken by the sound of two gunshots she was confronted by the shooter, a naked man wearing a face-mask. All she could see were his eyes. When she screamed the intruder said, "Shut up!" Sandra pleaded with the masked intruder not to kill her. In response he said, "What I came to do is done. I didn't come here to shoot you."

     The gunman who had just shot her husband to death took the time to explain why he had murdered him. According to the killer, after Mr. Garner had fired him some years ago he lost his house, his wife and his children. He had lost everything.

     Sandra Garner informed the sheriff's deputy that the shooter knew that the couple kept cash in the house and he wanted it. She directed him to the closet where they had $18,000 in a lockbox. Before the killer left the house with the money he told Sandra to count to 100 before calling the police. If he heard sirens he'd come back and shoot her.
   
     A search of the Garner house revealed that Mr. Garner owned 49 pistols and twelve rifles. Sandra Garner's .38-caliber Taurus revolver was not in the dwelling and she said she had no idea where it was. A police search of Sandra Garner's iPad immediately made her a suspect in her husband's death. Four days before the murder, someone on her iPad had Googled: "How to kill somebody in their sleep" then clicked a link to: "16 ways to kill somebody and not get caught."

     When asked about the incriminating iPad Google search the suspect replied that her husband often thought about killing himself and must have made the Internet inquiry.

     On January 5, 2018 sheriff's deputies returned to the Garner house for a more thorough search for the .38-caliber Taurus revolver. The officers went to the attached garage to search Sandra Garner's Ford Mustang but the garage was locked. When asked for the key the angered suspect reluctantly complied with the request.

     Under the front seat of the Mustang deputies found the suspect's .38-caliber revolver. It was wrapped in wet towels inside a plastic bag.

     At the crime lab forensic scientists were unable to find latent fingerprints or DNA evidence on the gun. A forensic firearms identification expert, however, determined that the fatal bullets had been fired from this revolver. 

     On January 10, 2018 sheriff's deputies took Sandra Garner into custody on the charge of murder. The magistrate set her bail at $2 million. An Ellis County grand jury two months later brought a murder indictment against her.

     The Sandra Garner case went to trial on September 10, 2019 in the Ellis County Court House in Waxahachie, Texas. The defendant's attorney, Tom Pappas offered a three-pronged defense: His client had been framed--by her son Wesley Miller; the Ellis County Sheriff's Office had horribly bungled the investigation; and the prosecution had not established a motive for Sandra Garner to kill the man who loved her and had taken care of her.

     The defendant, looking older and unwell, took the stand on her own behalf and came off as a sympathetic witness who had been framed by her son who had made the Google searches on her iPad and planted the murder weapon in her car. According to the defense, Wesley Miller had murdered his stepfather because he was desperate for money. The defense attorney pointed out that Mr. Miller was in the Garner house the night of the incriminating Google searches. Moreover, contrary to what detectives believed, Wesley Miller did not have a solid alibi for the early morning hours of January 2, 2018.

     Regarding the bungled investigation, the defense attorney highlighted the fact deputies, immediately following the discovery of Mr. Garner, did not bag his wife's hands to preserve possible gunshot residue. If they had they might have found that she had not fired the murder weapon. Had investigators processed the Mustang's door handles for latent fingerprints they may have discovered that Wesley Miller had planted the murder weapon. Also, the sheriff's office lost the crime scene photographs and had done nothing to protect the murder scene from evidence contamination and removal.

     Throughout the trial defense attorney Pappas repeatedly referred to his client as the "60-year-old nana with MS."

     On October 10, 2019, after 25 witnesses and 400 exhibits, the jury, after deliberating three hours, returned to the courtroom with its verdict: Not guilty. The jurors did not think the prosecution had made its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

15 comments:

  1. The jury blew it
    She killed him and it couldn't be more obvious

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    1. No way...the son is guy as sin. He set her up good.

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    2. Ok I've been a police dispatcher for 14 years and handled man crimes in progress and filed reports. First off she was scared for her life so she wasn't thinking clearly. What they don't explain is when a crime like this first occurs you fight or flight system kicks in your heart is racing and there is this loud pounding in your ears along with shortness of breath at that point your subconscious kicks in and what you should be able to recognize doesn't always register if it ever does. Being that she had a disease affecting her spine her central nervous system is already not working properly. . The calmness she had afterwards was the crash most victims experience after a high stress situation like that. So she was basically having trouble keeping her limbs from pulling her down. Your arms get extremely heaving and you feel like giving up on everything. Now they searched her car and the gun wasn't there. It wasn't until the son told them that tte gun was in her car did they go back and check it again. By this time she is upset cause they are accusing her of being the killer so ofcourse she didn't want to cooperate. Why would the son act the way he did. Most children want to protect their mother and wouldn't speed over to detectives and start building a case with them against their own mom . He was feeding them information that would frame her. If a child is cold enough yo murder their mothers husband and obvious care taker, then he would obviously be cold enough to pin the murder on his mom. Why not he would get everything they owned if they were both out of the way. The prosecutor said he wasn't smart enough to pull off this crime. So that shows you he had learning disabilities possibly disassociation issues that caused him to be so unloving towards his mom. Also why would she use the gun he gave her to kill him? That is a stupid move something someone with a not to smart mind what think was going to help convict her. A real investigator would have seen this. And why did he know that the gun was now in the car after police searched it and found no gun. He never said how he knew this and they didn't ask. That wax a real stupid move on the prosecutors end. The year she was in jail she aged due to poor care worry and grief. A woman who wanted her husband dead would not have aged like this because they would be relieved that the husband was ni longer an issue. One could say the threat of being in prison did that. But no it wouldn't because if shd did fo it shf would have known there was a good chance she would be caught and had already decided that his death was more important than being caught and imprisoned.that is how cold hearted people think. Not only that but it is a scientific fact that people who feel true sorrow the tears come from deep within and fall from the center of the eyes all other tears come from the inner or outer corners. Her tears were from the center her entire face was wet. And there's all the pictures of her after this. Unless she is mad she has a perpetual sad face. Her mouth is small her lips down turned. She also sits with her shoulders slumped you can say its her disease well that contributes to it they are more pronounced. One last thing her son has never tried to speak with her why is that? Its the shame he feels for what he has done. Oh sorry i forgot this point. The prosecutor was young around the same age as her son. When she talked about him it seemed to me that she was attracted to him always putting him in a good light coming to his defense. Shd never considered the possibility that he could have done it. That is not good police work. An investigator has to consider all aspects search every possibility and every potential suspect. And she was unwilling to do this. her lack of action in this area speaks volumes. I truly believe she was wrongfully accused and will never be at peace as her husbands killer is still out there.

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  2. I had a feeling about the son as soon as he said where's my mom and the way he said it... I said she's been set up with the perfect crime by her son! He got away with it too! Geez! I wish they'd find something to prove it! I'm so glad he wasn't in the will! ha ha!

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  3. There was so much missing info in this story. The story said they had just celebrated their wedding anniversary. When? That night?? Was there alcohol or drugs in either of their systems? Was there a history of domestic violence? Were either of them having an affair? Were there money issues? Why was the towel still wet - doesn't that indicate it had been placed there recently? I think they had a fight that night and she shot him.

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    1. I just saw this story on 48 hours. The wife looks good for this crime. Why would the son kill the stepdad on his own not knowing if he was in the will?

      It doesn't make sense. Not sure of the motive, but it is likely the usual of money or affairs. The gun being all rusty didn't make sense either. Anyone I know who has firearms keeps them in perfect condition so to see the Taurus .38 revolver covered in rust was puzzling.

      If it was her son then she was in on it with him and was the mastermind, otherwise how could she not recognize his walk, mannerisms and voice. This verdicts stinks to high heaven.

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    2. Think Wesley the son did it

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    3. He knew he wasn’t in the will before Jon died .. Wesley clearly Murdered him and tried to frame his mom.. He saw the will 3 was before the death and saw that he wasn’t in it he said that his self.. Aint no way people can’t see that Wesley was lying and that he was framing his mom .. Police searched her car then 3 days later the gun was in the exact spot Wesley said and u can just look at him and tell he was lying

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  4. Did they ever find out about the man who was fired? If it was the son she should know his voice and if your son is faking a voice you can obviously hear him if that was the case.

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    1. I mean h never know things could be happening so fast but the son did it

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    2. He had no motive...She did it obviously. Then moved to Paris and remarried

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  5. I think the son did it. He is definitely shady.

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  6. She did it. It’s painfully obvious. Her story was complete nonsense…and quite comical. I don’t have a clue what her motive was, but she did it and got away with it. The prosecutors need to be fired for lising that case.
    At the end of the 48 hours episode, ahe is asked if she did it. Her body language alone gives away her guilt. Watch her eye movements when she responds to that question. It’s deception detection 101.

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