Litchfield conviction affirmed by appeals court
By LYNETTE SOWELL
A little more than one year after Margaret Litchfield was sentenced to 60 years in prison by Coryell County’s 52nd District court Judge Trent Farrell, her conviction was affirmed by the 6th Court of Appeals of the State of Texas on November 30.
Josh R. Morriss III, 6th Court of Appeals judge in Texarkana, rendered that decision of the court.
Coryell County District Attorney Dusty Boyd said that normally the 52nd court’s appeals are heard by the 10th Court of Appeals in Waco, but due to that court’s high volume of cases, it is not uncommon for them to ask another appellate court to review the case based on their volume.
“I’m very proud of the work and effort that went into that trial,” Boyd stated. “My appellate attorney, Charles ‘Chuck’ Karakashian, did an excellent job of representing the State on the appeal.”
Litchfield was found guilty for the Jan. 29, 1999 murder of her husband, Raymond “Red” Litchfield, after a two-week trial in October 2016, after the testimony of 33 witnesses with more than 140 exhibits presented to the jury, which deliberated for four hours before announcing a guilty verdict.
The case had remained a cold case until January 2014, after which Litchfield was arrested in April 2015.
Raymond Litchfield was found dead in his Lawson Lane home just outside Copperas Cove after suffering gunshot wounds from a .22-caliber weapon. Witnesses at the trial included a crime scene reconstructionist and a medical examiner, as well as individuals with banking and financial information related to the financial condition of the couple. Those witnesses testified that Margaret was concerned that Raymond was going to learn of outstanding debt on a credit card that she had not advised him of, that he would learn about when applying for a loan for a new boat he was set to purchase on the day of his death, Jan. 29, 1999.
Morriss gave an extensive summary of the events and trial proceedings in his multiple-pages’ ruling.
“Witnesses testified that Margaret gave conflicting statements as to where she last saw her husband alive. One version placed Raymond at the kitchen bar, whereas another version placed him in the bed in which he was shot. In some accounts, Margaret represented that she and Raymond drank coffee that morning, but she later told the grand jury that they did not make coffee at home. While there were conflicting reports about Margaret’s demeanor after the murder, family members, who testified that Margaret visited with Opal regularly before the murder, found it odd that she had cut off contact with Raymond’s family completely. The jury also heard about other inconsistent statements by Margaret in her 1999 oral statement to Helms, her February 4 written statement, and her 2014 and 2015 grand jury testimony,” he wrote.
“When we view this evidence in a light most favorable to the verdict of guilt, we must conclude that the jury’s verdict was supported by the cumulative force of all of the incriminating circumstances. Because we find the evidence legally sufficient to establish Margaret’s identity as the perpetrator, we overrule her sole point of error.”