Prince Guilty of Capital Murder, Gets Life in Prison

     Benjamin Prince will spend life in prison without the possibility for parole after a Wichita County jury finds him guilty of capital murder for fatally beating his 23-month-old son.
    Jim Rasmussen, chief public defender for Wichita County, says, "We were prepared for the verdict.  It was a very, very horrible case.  We were ready for it.  We hoped that the jury would understand that Mr. Prince did not commit these acts in his right mind, but that was not their choice."
    Wichita County District Attorney Maureen Shelton says, "The jury did an outstanding job.  It's very difficult to find 12 individuals that are willing to sit on a jury and listen and to view the horrific actions of that day."
    The incident happened at Prince's home on Rene Circle in Wichita Falls on August 30, 2009.
    Police say Prince first shot his common-law wife, who survived with a shoulder wound, then fatally shot his cousin, and fatally beat his 23-month-old son in the head with a gun and a claw hammer.
    Prince is indicted for the murder of his cousin and for aggravated assault for shooting his common-law wife.
    "What we'll do is we'll wait and see what happens on appeal with this case before we try those," Shelton says.
    Police say an eight-year-old girl and nine-year-old boy were also found inside the home and that both were unharmed and hiding in a closet in the home, and the young boy was protecting his sister with a plastic gun.
    Those children did not testify during the trial.
    "I felt that we could prove our case without putting them on the stand so it didn't traumatize them.  That's what I was attempting to do is not harm them further than they were already harmed," Shelton says.
    "This case was truly a tragedy.  We tried to give the jury some insight into a man not acting in his right mind.  At the bottom, it was just a tragic set of circumstances up to and including the trial," Rasmussen says.
    Defense attorneys say Prince was not in command of his actions due to his mental state at the time.
    They say he lost control after hearing his cousin tell his common-law wife she should leave him because he was seeing another woman.
    Rasmussen says at this time he thinks defense attorneys will move forward with an appeal within the next 30 days or so.
    Though the death penalty can be sought in a capital murder case, prosecutors did not seek the death penalty in this case.
    District Attorney Maureen Shelton says she can't say why the death penalty wasn't sought because it could have an affect on the case if it's appealed.

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