Thomas Jason Amburn was sentenced to fifteen years in prison by visiting Judge Suzanne Stovall in the 221st Judicial District Court on Thursday, April 29, 2010. He will be eligible for parole in as little as seven years. The defendant was convicted by a Montgomery County jury yesterday. One of the jurors returned to court today to witness the sentencing by the judge.
The defendant was convicted of murder, a first degree felony, for his actions arising out of the stabbing death of Shawn Michael Porter on May 2, 2009 in Splendora. At trial, prosecutor Sylvia Yarborough, stated that the crime occurred as a result of an altercation between Porter and Amburn regarding Lindsey Porter. The victim and Porter were married at the time. Wendy Wakeman, with the Texas Rangers, testified that she assisted the Splendora Police Department in the case and that the verbal altercation escalated when the victim tried to flee in his vehicle. Amburn chased Porter down in his vehicle and forced him off the road. The defendant then stabbed the victim with a knife causing his death. Amburn’s lawyers claimed that he was acting in self-defense. The jury deliberated for approximately three hours yesterday before finding Amburn guilty as charged in the indictment.
The defense elected to have the judge sentence Amburn. During the punishment phase of the trial today, prosecutors introduced evidence of Amburn’s criminal history, including one felony conviction. Amburn testified that the case was one of sudden passion. A finding of sudden passion would have altered the punishment range from five years to life in prison to two to twenty years in prison. Yarborough argued to the judge that there was no evidence of sudden passion and that this was a cold blooded murder. She asked the judge to sentence the defendant to forty years in prison to ensure that the children involved in this case will not be exposed to Amburn during their formative years. Judge Stovall denied the sudden passion argument, but sentenced Amburn to fifteen years in prison. Stovall was the presiding judge in that court until her earlier retirement this year.