Bobby Ray Nichols, 76, received a 20-year sentence for shooting and killing Rosiland Nichols in June after the two argued for hours about his frequent absences from home on Fridays, spending time drinking with friends.
Nichols, who also was assessed a $10,000 fine, will be eligible for parole after serving 10 years.
The same jury in the 7th District Court convicted him on Wednesday.
Jurors gave him the sentence, finding Nichols acted with sudden passion when he shot and killed his wife because she began a four-hour argument after he returned home on June 29 from socializing at a country club and at a restaurant.
Defense attorney Bradley Lollar had asked for the sudden passion charge to be included, which carries a sentencing range of two to 20 years, and Judge Kerry Russell agreed. Lollar argued before the judge that the killing had been provoked because of the argument and was unplanned.
The jury also could have found Nichols guilty of murder without the inclusion of sudden passion, which carried up to a life sentence as punishment.
Prosecutors Richard Vance and Jason Parrish had argued against including the sudden passion charge.
“Instead of killing her, he could have picked these up and driven off,” Vance said, picking up a set of car keys. He added that most people with Parkinson’s disease “do not use it as an excuse to be a cold-blooded killer.”
Lollar told jurors in his closing statement that his client was an “abused spouse.” He said the crime was one of passion and not planned.
“She lit into him that night — he thought she would be pleased because he came home earlier than usual,” he said.
Nichols was a peaceful person, and the character witnesses who testified “had never known him to be angry or violent,” Lollar said.
In earlier testimony, Saundra Liveris, Nichols’ daughter, described her dad as “loving and patient and always there for her.”
Ms. Liveris said she often did not feel comfortable in the home her father shared with Mrs. Nichols. She testified that once after she stayed there to recover from hip surgery, Mrs. Nichols began packing her bags after several days and wanted her to leave.
“Rosiland was a very private person,” Ms. Liveris testified. After the verdict was read, Ms. Liveris said she was pleased that the jury had found that the murder was committed out of sudden passion. She declined further comment.
Vance finished his arguments saying it was the verdict that made the sentence stick.
“Give him (Nichols) what he took from Rosiland,” he told jurors when asking them to sentence Nichols to life.