SAN ANTONIO -- Frances Hall was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison in the road rage death of her husband after the jury unanimously decided Hall committed the crime with 'sudden passion.'
The jury voted unanimously to give Hall a 2-year-sentence for two counts of murder and aggravated assault to serve concurrently. Along with the sentence, the jury handed down a $10,000 fine for each count.
Frances Hall was accused of using her SUV to hit and kill her husband the evening of Oct. 10, 2013.
Jurors found Hall guilty of murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The verdict came in just before 8:45 p.m. Thursday after nearly eight hours of deliberations.
During the punishment phase of the trial, Frances Hall's defense attorneys tried to prove to jurors the 53-year-old acted out of "sudden passion," meaning the alleged road rage chase happened because emotions rang high.
As KENS 5 reported, Frances Hall's sister Connie Bidalez found Bill Hall the night of the deadly crash. He was ejected from his Harley Davidson and thrown into a grassy area along a rural stretch of Loop 1604 near Macdona-Lacoste.
Prosecutors argued Frances Hall hit him with her Escalade during the chase. When Bidalez found her brother-in-law, she said he used his last breath to defend his wife.
"He loved his wife. He did, he didn't want anybody to hurt her or hurt his family," said Bidalez during her testimony. "When we were talking [at the crash scene], that's what he had told me, that it was an accident. He couldn't breathe."
Also in the mix was Bill Hall's mistress, Bonnie Contreras, driving a Range Rover in front of the couple. Frances and Bill's daughter, Nikki, said her father's affair was one thing, but the way his mistress treated Frances was a different story.
"She taunted her. She sent her pictures. She threatened to tell me and my brother of the things her and my dad did," said Nikki. "My mom is the most loving, caring individual you'll ever meet."
The defense was successful in proving the crime happened out of "sudden passion", after multiple testimonies from Hall's family members.
Hall told the court Bonnie Contreras would send texts of her and Bill having sex, and would call the couple's cell phones nonstop. She said she and Bill were trying to work out their marriage, but she kicked him out twice before the deadly accident due to heartbreak.
"I could not believe the man I had known for 34 years, I didn't actually know him," said Hall. "For him to be living this kind of life. So I did. I told him to get his stuff and leave."
This wasn't the first time her husband cheated, said Hall. She first found out he was fooling around years ago when he admitted to fathering a child with his cousin's wife.
Nikki Hall said it's hard losing her mother for even a split second, but she and her entire family are relieved the trial is over.
"It's devastating," said Nikki. "I still don't have my mom but the lesser sentence is the best that we could expect."
Contreras was also present in Tuesday morning's court proceedings, escorted by four members of law enforcement for protection. She left before court adjourned.
"For the sake of the family today, I just want to get them out and get them to a better place. We're grateful that the jury did find sudden passion. If there was ever an event made for sudden passion, this one was it," said Defense Attorney, Jean Brown.
Hall will be eligible for parole pending good behavior in prison.
"I'm thankful that this jury took it seriously, that they thought that was the right thing to do. You know what Frances told me right before we read the verdict? She said, 'If nothing else, I brought my family together on both sides because we were broken," said Defense Attorney, Leigh Cutter. "I think you might have seen the jury walk out, [Frances] said, 'God bless you.'"
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