Jury rejects ‘sudden passion’ argument; sentences Leandre Hill to 40 years in prison
Prosecutors: Racial slurs not ‘adequate cause’ for sudden passion finding
SAN ANTONIO – It took a jury just over two hours to decide that Leandre Hill, 29, should go to prison for 40 years for fatally shooting Randall Perkins, a 20-year-old University of Texas-San Antonio student.
During Hill’s trial in Judge Ron Rangel’s 379th District Court witnesses testified that Hill and several other men crashed an off-campus UTSA fraternity party on the night of May 24, 2012.
A fist fight broke out followed by a single shot.
During closing arguments Thursday in the punishment phase of Hill’s trial, his lawyer Ernest Acevedo raised the issue of sudden passion, noting that several witnesses testified that racial slurs were used during the confrontation.
He told the jury “We have heard from Mr. Rodriguez, Paul Benavides and Detective Carreon that there were racial epitaphs being tossed around in this case, and that word becomes relevant to consider these issues.”
Acevedo said that in Hill’s mind those slurs could have been adequate cause to shoot.
Prosecutors urged the jury to reject that claim.
“I’m sure every one of you has been called a name that has hurt your feelings, that upset you,” Prosecutor Gretchen Flader countered. “That’s not adequate cause.”
Flader asked the jury to stick with the facts of the case focusing on choices and consequences.
“The defendant chose to kill him,” she said. “And now you get to give him the consequences.”
Hill must serve half of his 40-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.
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