WOODVILLE, TX (KTRE) - The families of Nathan and Krystal Maddox received some closure today as Paul Westfall pleaded guilty in the murder of their loved ones.
Paul Westfall accepted a plea bargain agreement of life in prison Thursday morning. As part of the agreement, Paul Westfall pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for the death of Krystal Maddox. He also pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in connection to Nathan Maddox's death.
As part of the agreement, Paul Westfall also signed a waiver that says there will be no appeal in the case.
Paul Westfall admitted guilt inside of the Tyler County Courthouse Thursday morning. He was then sentenced to life for two counts of murder. Westfall was accused shooting of killing his ex-son-in-law, Nathan Maddox, and his new wife, Krystal Maddox, on January 18, 2014 outside of a Tyler County church following a supervised visit between Nathan and his daughter, whom Paul Westfall's daughter Kristen had custody of.
Paul Westfall's sentence comes nine months to the day after his daughter Kristen was sentenced by a jury in Brazos County after her trial was granted a change of venue. In May of 2016, Paul Westfall's wife Letha accepted a plea deal and will serve life in prison with the chance of parole for her role. Letha Westfall's plea came 12 days after Cameron Westfall pleaded guilty to his role in the crime. Cameron Westfall was accused of disposing of the murder weapons, two guns, in a nearby lake.
"You got a life sentence today, but so many in this courtroom got a life sentence because of what you did," said Rhonda Humphus, Krystall Maddox's mother, during her victim impact statement.
"I don't have anything to say about mercy," said Kelly Haggard, Nathan Maddox's mother. "That is between you, God, and the devil and I feel like you are already with one of them."
"If I was sitting here with a gun in my hand today, I would not kill you," Humphus said. "That is because I have a light in me that comes from a higher place.
"I pray for your soul," said Jim Maddox, Nathan Maddox's father. "I've learned true forgiveness through this. It didn't come easy. It came at a great price."
In Kristen Westfall's trial, the Texas Attorney General's Office showed evidence that proved Letha Westfall knew about the plan for the murders and was inside the church during the visit between Nathan and his daughter. Evidence was presented that showed Letha Westfall sent text messages that alerted Paul and Kristen that Nathan and Krystal were about to leave, and they needed to be ready to shoot them.
Paul Westfall's plea came after a long drawn out court process for the man that claimed to have suffered from various issues. In May of 2014, just months after the murders, Paul Westfall was declared incompetent to stand trial. Four months later, that decision was reversed and Paul Westfall was sent back to Tyler County to await trial.
Paul Westfall's trial was set to take place later this summer, but according to Nathan's father, Jim Maddox, family members received word over the weekend that a plea deal was offered to Westfall, and he was willing to accept it. Krystal's mother, Rhonda Humphus, told the East Texas News earlier this week that the sentence ends this chapter in the saga, but the story is far from over.
"You failed them miserably, and there are a lot of people suffering because of you and your lack of leadership and your actions," Judge Delinda Gibbs-Walker said in the courtroom. "May God have mercy on your soul."
Despite being given a life sentence. Kristen Westfall is still in custody of Tyler County and being housed in the Jasper County Jail. Kristen Westfall filed an appeal immediately after the trial and state rules are that once the appeal is filed she has to stay where she is.
Sheriff Bryan Weatherford said the case happened early into his term as sheriff and has since changed the way the department handles cases.
"This was the initial shock that really woke me up and woke the community up to what's out there and what these officers deal with on a day-to-day basis," Weatherford said.