Man found guilty of killing veteran in Tyler motel sentenced to prison

Man found guilty of killing veteran in Tyler motel sentenced to prison
Victim Tommy Wilson (Source: Wilson family)
Victim Tommy Wilson (Source: Wilson family)

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A Smith County Jury has sentenced a Houston man to prison after finding him guilty of shooting and killing a Lindale man at a Tyler motel in July of 2016.

Jared Wilson, 31, was found guilty of first-degree murder on Wednesday. Today he was sentenced to life in prison and was given a $10,000 fine.

Jared Wilson was arrested in July of 2016 after a shooting at the Royal Inn and Suites in Tyler. The man he shot, Tommy Wilson, died a short time later at a Tyler hospital. Wilson claimed to have shot Tommy in self-defense.

The men are not related to each other.

During closing arguments, the state explained to the jury that Jared Wilson was a pimp who had taken the car from his prostitute. The prostitute then went to Lindale and came back with her brother-in-law, Tommy Wilson.

"All the defendant was thinking was, 'I'm about to get whipped and lose my stuff again,'" the prosecuting attorney, Jeff Bullock, said.

"He said he couldn't leave the scene because his car was blocked in, but the Nissan was there," Bullock said, referring to the getaway car Jared Wilson used. "Instead he runs like a coward and jumps the fence and gets in the car and leaves."

The prosecutor explained how Jared Wilson went to Walmart and got new clothes and a burner phone.

"This man went and fought for the right for this man to defend himself for killing him," Bullock said. "Ridiculous."

Bullock said Tommy Wilson served in the military in Afghanistan.

In opening arguments of the sentencing phase, the prosecutor told the jury that Tommy Wilson was a 20-year veteran of the Army.

Det. Chris Miller of Tyler Police then testified that Jared Wilson was a member of a blood gang.

During cross-examination, Miller confirmed Jared Wilson was not listed in any gang database. He did say that in a 2014 interview, Wilson said he "ran with the bloods."

After Miller said that, Wilson shrugged and raised his hands in confusion.

Another police detective testified about Wilson's criminal record, including an incident in which he pointed a gun at a woman.

Tommy Wilson's wife of 22 years took the stand.

"Tommy was a very, very good man," she said. "He would give you the shirt off his back."

She said while he worked as a recruiter in Tyler, Tommy Wilson was injured in a motorcycle wreck.

She said her husband suffered from PTSD after serving in Afghanistan. She said they separated while he was working as a jailer with the Smith County Sheriff's Office.

She said their daughter was pregnant with Tommy Wilson's grandchild on the day he died.

Tommy Wilson's daughter testified she was going to go to her father's home to invite him to their upcoming sonogram.

"He was the best dad," she said. "Halloweens were the best and they're hard now. Birthdays are hard. I lost the most important person in my life."

During his daughter's testimony, several people in the courtroom could be heard crying.

The defense will present their witnesses starting at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.