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Smith County jury gives Fulton 6 months jail time, probation

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Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 10:48 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 5, 2022 at 11:11 PM CDT
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Editor’s note: The original version of this story stated that Fulton was to serve seven years. That has been corrected.

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A Smith County jury has handed down a new sentence for a man who was previously sentenced to 10 years in prison in the death of a young Tyler woman in a wreck.

James Fulton’s new sentence is 10 years probation. He must not violate the terms of his probation, or he could go to prison for seven years.

He is also required to spend six months in the Smith County Jail as a term of the deferred adjudication.

Fulton, 46, was convicted of criminally negligent homicide on Dec. 1, 2017, in the death of Haile Beasley in May 2016. The jury sentenced him to 10 years in prison but a criminal appeals court ordered a new sentencing trial after ruling Fulton had ineffective counsel.

The resentencing trial lasted for six days, including Tuesday, as the jury deliberated from 10:30 a.m. until about 5:40 p.m.

With both the prosecution and defense resting their cases, closing arguments began in the resentencing trial of James Arthur Fulton.

Fulton, 46, was convicted of criminally negligent homicide on Dec. 1, 2017, in the death of Haile Beasley in May 2016. The jury sentenced him to 10 years in prison but a criminal appeals court ordered a new sentencing trial after ruling Fulton had ineffective counsel.

One of Fulton’s key points of defense was his claim that he was distracted by a deer he saw on the side of the road moments before he crashed his truck into the vehicle of Haile Beasley, killing her. In his initial closing argument, Smith County Assistant District Attorney Heath Chamness called the claim a “fallacy” and said that defense’s pleas to give Fulton probation are only “feeding (his) narcissistic behavior.” Chamness claimed that Fulton was not remorseful for his actions and pointed out that Fulton’s wife could not initially answer during testimony Monday whether it was dangerous for her husband to drive after having consumed alcohol.

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