The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

June 8, 2013

Palestine man gets 60 years for 2012 murder

PALESTINE — An Anderson County jury found a Palestine man guilty of murder for the May 2012 stabbing death of his partner on Thursday, also issuing a sentence of 60 years in prison just two hours after the 3 p.m. verdict.

Alvin Eugene Hines, 50, stabbed his roommate Warren George Smith during a domestic dispute between the two that occurred on the evening of May 28, 2012, (Memorial Day) at their apartment on the 500 block of North Sycamore Street in Palestine.

Palestine police arrived on the scene at about 10:30 p.m. that evening and located a black male, later identified as Smith, lying face down in the driveway of the location.

Smith was transported to Palestine Regional Medical Center by ambulance and later died as a result of his injuries, according to reports.

Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe, who tried the case for the state along with Assistant District Attorney Stanley Sokolowski, reported that the most compelling evidence presented by the state was the initial 911 recording.

“Hines had called the police department dispatcher and told them to come to his house and get (Smith) or he was going to kill him,” Lowe said. “You can hear him saying on the tape, ‘I am going to kill you...,’”

Hines also told the dispatcher that he stabbed Smith because he claimed Smith had been attacking him.

The victim’s sister, Julia Smith, reported a history of violence between the two men and stated that her brother was “fearful at times,” of Hines.

“There have been several other incidences of violence between the two,” Lowe said, “including a reported stabbing of Smith in November of 2009 and an incident in which Smith was shot in January of 2009.”

Testimony from medical examiner, Dr. John Stash, revealed that the victim was stabbed one time in the upper right shoulder, leaving a 5 1/2 inch long, 3-inch deep cut.

The victim’s axillary artery — a main blood vessel located in the thorax, armpit and upper arm — was cut in the stabbing, leading to a massive loss of blood and the eventual death of the victim.

A second, smaller stab wound also was located on the victim’s back, likely obtained in a separate attempt to stab the victim, Lowe reported from testimony.

“He lost blood quickly,” Lowe told the Herald-Press. “Doug St. Clair, the paramedic that arrived on the scene reported a ‘vast amount of blood’ and said that the victim was ‘lying in a pool of blood.’”

Palestine Police Department detective Tommy Thacker testified for the state as well, having taken a lot of pictures at the scene — some of those showing a path of blood from the top of the stairs of the couple’s garage apartment to the driveway where Smith was found by officers.

A neighbor, Christi Hilton, testified about hearing an argument between the two men just prior to the stabbing, Lowe said.

“She testified hearing voices saying, ‘I didn’t take it, but this is how we do it,’” Lowe said. “Before she could get to Smith, the stabbing had already occurred.”

While Hines’ defense attorneys Bill House of Palestine and Dick Banner of Houston, argued self defense, the state maintained that was not the cause of Smith’s death.

“We feel that this was a just and appropriate verdict,” Lowe said. “We feel like the signs that the couple had serious problems was obvious and that Mr. Smith deserved justice for his death.

“We are happy with the sentencing as well, and think 60 years was appropriate in this case,” he added. “Hines will not be eligible for parole for 30 years.”

The trial took place this week in the court of 349th State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher.

According to reports, Hines and Smith were classmates at Westwood High School and had been living together for four years prior to Smith’s death. The last six months of that time was spent living in the North Sycamore Street apartment.

Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at mrainwater@palestineherald.com

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