CENTRAL HEIGHTS, TX (KTRE) - During an ongoing first-degree murder trial, the wife of a former Shelby County deputy pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of injury to the elderly for the 2009 beating death of her disabled brother-in-law.
With her guilty plea, Lana Calhoun accepted a 30-year prison sentence in the Texas Department of Corrections. The plea was made after the prosecuting attorney and Lana Calhoun's attorney reached an agreement during the jury trial.
The Texas Attorney General's Office prosecuted the case because the Shelby County District Attorney's Office recused itself from the matter.
Lana Calhoun and her husband, Rex Calhoun, were originally arrested on April 29, 2010, following an investigation into the death of Rex Calhoun's brother, Allen Calhoun, on Sept. 22, 2009, in his home on the 700 block of Rosehill Road in Timpson.
On November 8, Rex Calhoun pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of injury to the elderly, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in a state jail. Because Rex Calhoun had already served more than two years, he was released from jail on the same day he pleaded guilty.
According to a spokesman with the Texas Attorney General's Office, prosecutors decided Rex Calhoun's lesser charge was more appropriate, based on the evidence.
A seven-month investigation by the Texas Rangers and other Shelby County law enforcement agencies resulted in the couple's arrest. During the investigation, law enforcement officials learned that Allen Calhoun had been abused over an extended period of time.
Allen Calhoun became mentally disabled after a car accident in 1971. He lived with his brother, Rex Calhoun, and his sister-in-law, Lana Sue Calhoun.
Windham said the couple had obtained power of attorney over Allen Calhoun in the summer of 2008.
According to Windham, witnesses told authorities they had watched Allen Calhoun rummage through garbage cans searching for food during his brief employment at Wal Mart.
Former Shelby County District Attorney Lynda K. Russell recused herself from the case, citing a conflict-of-interest. The AG's office did not receive the case until more than a year after it had been charged.