Texas Monthly on Westfall Case Where Son Murdered Father

When Lance took the stand, he testified so powerfully about his father’s violence that some jurors blinked back tears. But prosecutor Mitch Poe interrogated him for mercilessly shooting his father a second time even after Bill asked his son to call 911. The jury split down the middle—six for probation and six for a prison term. One angry juror demanded a life sentence. After days of deliberations, the foreman passed the judge a note that read “We are close to coming to punches.”

After a mistrial was called, the lawyers on both sides, realizing that the chance of another hung jury was high, got together to negotiate. The district attorney’s office settled for a deal: a guilty plea to manslaughter in exchange for a three-year sentence. Lance’s attorneys declared it a victory. In the courtroom, Lance hugged his mother good-bye, asked a few friends to check on her daily, and was led away in handcuffs.