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Port Arthur man sentenced to 40 years for murdering girlfriend

“This is a horrible ending to what was a domestic dispute. This is why we treat domestic crimes so serious."

BEAUMONT, Texas — A Port Arthur man has been sentenced to 40 years behind bars after pleading guilty to murdering his girlfriend, according to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

On Feb. 24, 2019, Port Arthur Police officers responded to a call from Daniel Dewayne Shackleford, 36, about his unconscious girlfriend found on the bedroom floor in a house located in the 2100 block of Birch Street.

The woman was identified as Aletha Gonzalez, 34. She was found on her birthday with injuries to her head and neck.

Officers questioned her then-boyfriend, Shackleford. He initially told police he came home and found her on the floor with a television on her head after he had been fishing all day, according to a news release.

However, according to a 12News file story, investigators found bruises on her face, neck and arms as well as the rest of her body, which was more consistent with being beaten. 

RELATED: Police: Murder suspect arrested in connection with February death of woman

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The autopsy revealed her death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head, and she died because of a hemorrhage on the right side of her head, according to a probable cause affidavit.

After further investigation, Shackleford’s story began to unravel. Detectives also found witnesses that described Shackleford as being abusive toward Gonzalez, the release says.

Shackleford later admitted that he “struck” Gonzalez over an argument earlier in the evening. He also admitted to lying about going fishing that day.

The case was investigated by the Port Arthur Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Mike Laird.

“This is a horrible ending to what was a domestic dispute. This is why we treat domestic crimes so serious,” Laird said.

24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides essential tools and support to help survivors of domestic violence so they can live their lives free of abuse.

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