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Man guilty of murdering stepfather sentenced to 40 years in prison

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- The man found guilty of murdering his stepfather was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

The punishment phase for Roger Garrett began Tuesday morning. There was a lot of teary-eyed testimony.

First, prosecutors called their witnesses. One witness was Gretchen Garrett Smith, victim Maj. Chester Garrett's younger sister.

Chester Garrett was murdered 36 years ago. Monday, jurors held Roger Garrett responsible for the death by finding him guilty of murder. Throughout his trial, witnesses said Roger Garrett beat his stepfather with a baseball bat and then watched his mother stab him.

Gretchen Smith told the jury her family hasn't been the same since.

"It's just devastating. I still can't get over it. It tears me up every time I see someone who looks like him," said Smith.

While some of Chester Garrett's family members told the jury they don't remember much of him, Smith described Chester Garrett as "so big and strong. He was always so physical."

Smith was 26 years old when her brother died.

"I can't believe he had to go that way," said Smith.

The defense also called their own witnesses, who told jurors despite his past, Roger Garrett is a great man.

"Roger is the greatest dad in the world to me," said Kristen Meyerson.

Meyerson is Roger Garrett's stepdaughter, but calls herself his daughter.

"I was so, so broken before he came along," said Meyerson.

She told jurors how much she loves Roger Garrett and wants him in her life.

"My dad has taught me so many things ... integrity and love," said Meyerson.

Roger Garrett's wife, Susan Garrett, also took the stand and told jurors it's been hard to survive without having her husband by her side. She described him as a hard worker and good provider. With numerous health problems, she said Roger Garrett didn't want her to work. Now, she said she's "basically homeless."

With numerous health problems, she said Roger Garrett didn't want her to work. Now, she said she's "basically homeless." Once jurors hear all testimony, they will begin deliberating. 

While the defense asked the jury for a short jail sentence, prosecutors were asked for a minimum of 36 years.  They say he got away with murder for 36 years.

Roger Garrett was sentenced to 40 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.  

 

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