Two sentenced to 30 years for 2006 death of mother of three
Polk County Enterprise - February 2008
LIVINGSTON — Carla Franklin had a long-awaited chance to express the pain of losing her daughter directly to the two people responsible during a sentencing hearing in the 258th District Court Tuesday.
James Walter Thompson, 26, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 30 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
In a stipulation as to evidence, Thompson admitted firing the shots that killed Kashundra Wright after an argument.
Franklin primarily directed her remarks during the victim impact statement at Wyatt.
“Why did you do this?” Franklin said. “You showed no mercy. I loved you like one of my own. You didn’t just mess up my life and my grandchildren’s lives, you messed up your child’s life.”
Wyatt and Franklin’s son Antwain are the parents of Franklin’s fourth grandchild.
Comforting the tears of Kashundra’s children are the most difficult for Franklin, though.
“My grandbaby cries to me — he was less than a year old when his mother died and the only mama he knows is me,” Franklin said.
“(Kashundra’s daughter) wants to see her mama and I can’t comfort her because I’m hurting so much too. They all remind me of Kashundra every day.”
District Attorney Lee Hon said he agreed to a request from Wyatt’s attorney to plead guilty to aggravated kidnapping and drop the murder charges because there wasn’t clear evidence that Wyatt knew of any plan to cause Wright’s death.
Thompson and Dorothy Mae Wyatt, 40, forcibly took Wright from the Big Man’s Club in Leggett on July 10, 2006.
In an affidavit by arresting officer Lt. Craig Finegan, Wright had asked Thompson why he was at the club with Wyatt because she was responsible for her brother being “locked up.”
Thompson relayed the conversation to Wyatt after leaving the club and the two decided to go get Wright away from the club.
Thompson lured her into the car while Wyatt hid in the back seat, Finegan’s affidavit said.
They drove to Wyatt’s house and were seen by a man sitting on the couch in Wyatt’s living room.
They took Wright into the bedroom and continued to argue and then returned to the car with Thompson holding a gun to Wright’s head, witness statements said.
Thompson and Wright got into the back seat with Wyatt driving.
When they reached Seven Oaks, Thompson told Wyatt to turn on a road off Highway 59. When they stopped, Thompson forced Wright out of the car and behind the vehicle out of Wyatt’s view.
While they were out of the car, Wyatt heard severeal gunshots.
Then Thompson told Wyatt to get out of the car. He removed Wright’s personal items from the car and smashed her cell phone.
He ordered Wyatt to throw the gun into the creek, prompting an argument between the two because she said she didn’t think she could throw the gun over the guard rail.
Witnesses said a couple of hours after Wyatt and Thompson returned to Wyatt’s house they asked one of the witnesses to watch the TV news to see if Wright’s body had been found.
They also reported an argument a couple of days after the shooting when Wyatt threw a shoe at Thompson, striking him in the back of the head.
Thompson yelled at Wyatt saying he had killed someone for her, with witnesses hearing the exchange the affidavit said.
Four days after the shooting, one of the witnesses and her boyfriend went to Wyatt’s house. The boyfriend and Thompson went to the gas station.
He later told the woman Thompson has asked him to help him move the body to the Indian Reservation and burn it to cover up the crime.
A few days later Wyatt called saying the body had been found.
Finegan took a statement from a man at Wyatt’s house the night of Wright’s disappearance. He told Finegan he had been laying on the couch and saw a girl he thought was Wright enter the house with Wyatt and Thompson.
The man described her clothing, which matched what Wright was wearing when her body was found.
The three people left the residence a short time later, with Wyatt and Thompson returning about 15 to 20 minutes later.
Subpeonaed cell phone records also show numerous calls between the victim and Thompson that are consistent with witness statements.
Both Wyatt and Thompson will have to serve at least 15 years of the sentence handed down Monday before becoming eligible for parole.
Both are currently serving sentences for previous convictions. Wyatt was convicted of delivery of a controlled substance and Thompson was sentenced for aggravated robbery in Harris County.