BELTON — A Killeen man who was shot by officers at the scene of a deadly shooting was sentenced to life in prison Thursday.
Karl Lee Wiggins, 62, was indicted on a murder charge June 25 after police responded to a home in Belton on June 5 to find Edward Charles Hermann with a gunshot wound to his head.
Wiggins pleaded guilty to the murder charge March 30, the day his trial was set to begin.
Nelson Barnes, the Bell County assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, said Wiggins was Hermann’s brother-in-law who had no violent criminal history, but did have numerous DWIs.
“They had been drinking and the defendant got a gun, came back and literally shot him in the face,” Barnes said. “What came out during the hearing was for a number of years he had talked about that he was going to kill him. They had kind of a love-hate relationship. They were drinking buddies, but then when they would get ‘drunked-up’ — they were both really drunk — they would argue. We had a witness who came and said at least 10 times he had threatened to kill him. He had pulled a knife on him in the past, but it had all been written up as drunk talk.”
Witnesses testified the two men had been drinking June 5.
“The testimony was they started that day with three or four 40s (40-ounce beers), and then went and got more beer,” Barnes said.
Barnes said after Wiggins was kicked out of Hermann’s home for the night, Wiggins’ pride was hurt and he made good on his threat to kill Hermann.
“(Hermann’s) famous last words were, ‘What are you going to do? Shoot me? Well, shoot me.’”
When police responded to the shooting June 5, they found an intoxicated Wiggins waving his .25-caliber pistol at them.
“Originally, Belton responded to the shots fired,” Barnes said. “The defendant wouldn’t put his pistol down and one of the officers ended up having to shoot him twice. He was shot in the shoulder and in the arm.”
In Belton on Thursday, 27th District Judge John Gauntt ordered Wiggins to serve at least 30 years in prison before he’s eligible for parole.
“The mother of the victim just wanted to make sure he spent the rest of his life in prison,” Barnes said, adding Wiggins will be an old man before he gets out.
“He will be eligible for parole in 30 years,” Barnes said. “So, he’ll be between 91 and 92, if he makes it there.”