Man gets 35 years in drowning of Lufkin woman

Winfred Kilgore. (Source: Angelina County Jail.)
Winfred Kilgore. (Source: Angelina County Jail.)
Joy Bybee. (Source: Angelina County Jail.)
Joy Bybee. (Source: Angelina County Jail.)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A homeless man will live in prison for 35 years after pleading guilty to drowning a Lufkin woman in August 2011.

Court records show Winfred Kilgore, 56, pleaded guilty in District Judge Barry Bryan's court to a plea of murder last week.

Kilgore drowned Joy Yvette Bybee, in a creek near a bridge on the 300 block of South Timberland Drive on Aug. 11.

"The decision was made because we had to weigh and balance all the evidence favorably for the state as well as any potential defenses Mr. Kilgore had," said Kilgore's attorney, Al Charanza. "He had given several statements. Some were in favor of him and some were in favor of the state."

Charanza said a state psychiatrist had determined Kilgore was competent to stand trial.

According to the affidavit, Kilgore said he and Bybee were in the creek and talking about their past military backgrounds, which included their training on holding their breath under water for long periods of time.

Kilgore said he held his breath under water as Bybee held her hand on top of his head for about five minutes, according to the affidavit. Kilgore said once he needed air, he stood up and caught his breath.

Bybee then insisted he hold her head under water so she could hold her breath. Kilgore said he refused, but she ordered him to. Kilgore said "that he was in the military and when someone orders you to do something, you do it," according to the affidavit.

Kilgore then said he grabbed Bybee by the back of the neck and held her head under water, then "blanked out" and started thinking of Vietnam and being in the army, according to the affidavit.

When Kilgore "came to," he looked down and saw bubbles and realized he had held her there too long, according to the affidavit. Kilgore said he estimated he held Bybee under water for at least three minutes, according to the affidavit and that she was struggling against him as he held her under water.

Kilgore said he knew she was dead after checking her pulse and seeing she was not breathing, according to the affidavit. He said he then dragged her body out of the creek and placed her on mattresses underneath the bridge, drank the remaining beer out of a 30-pack, smoked a few cigarettes and went to sleep next to her body, according to the affidavit.

Kilgore said he woke up the next morning and told Bybee he was sorry and kissed her, according to the affidavit. Kilgore said he noticed drag marks from the creek to the mattress, so he covered up the marks and left Lufkin, according to the affidavit.

Bybee's body was discovered on Aug. 12.

Charanza said Kilgore was very remorseful about what happend, he stated Kilgore told him he was "ready to get this case behind him."

Prosecuting attorney Layne Thompson was not available for comment Monday.

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