EL PASO, Texas — A 76-year-old former school teacher has been sentenced in West Texas to 45 years in prison for the death of her estranged Green Beret husband in 1977.
An El Paso County jury deliberated for almost two hours before sentencing Lisbeth Garrett on Thursday, a day after jurors found her guilty of murdering Fort Bliss Army Maj. Chester Garrett.
Trial testimony focused on a blood stain found in the home where prosecutors say Chester Garrett was killed. Prosecutors also argued that Lisbeth Garrett stood to benefit financially from her estranged husband’s death, the El Paso Times reported.
Roger Garrett, the son of Lisbeth Garrett from another relationship, was convicted of murder in 2013 in the major’s death and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Authorities had reopened the cold case when Roger Garrett’s stepbrother, Patrick Garrett, provided new information.
Patrick Garrett testified against his mother during her trial, telling jurors that at the time of his father’s death he and his stepbrother used acid to clean a “giant red Kool-Aid stain” in their garage, the newspaper reported. Authorities have said that he previously told them that Robert Garrett confessed in 1990 to the killing.
Defense lawyer Richard Esper said it was “absurd” to believe Lisbeth Garrett would kill her husband.
“There is no evidence that this 5-foot woman beat her husband with a bat or stabbed him,” Esper said during closing arguments.
Court records show Roger Garrett told his stepbrother that on Jan. 3, 1977, he struck Chester Garrett with a bat on the back of the head and that their mother stabbed him several times. Then they took the body from the kitchen to the garage, where they loaded it inside the victim’s 1972 Volkswagen, and drove to a dump.
Investigators say Chester Garrett, who had served several tours in Vietnam, was stabbed more than 10 times but died of a skull fracture.