By Michelle Guffey

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON A 27-year-old Kil-leen man was sentenced Monday to life in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of a Killeen convenience store owner last November.

Rodney Donnell Portis was sentenced by Judge Martha Trudo of the 264th District Court on a Nov. 13, 2004, charge of murder.

Portis was scheduled for a jury trial trial next week on a charge of capital murder and aggravated robbery. How-ever, in a last-minute plea deal with the prosecution, Portis agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of murder in return for the prosecution not pursuing the aggravated robbery charge. A capital murder charge made Portis eligible for the death penalty.

According to the arrest affidavit, a surveillance video in Martins Convenience Store at 2409 E. Rancier Ave. showed Portis enter the store wearing a distinctive black jacket and purchase a single cigar. The video showed the defendant place the cigar on the counter and pay for it. When the 54-year-old woman turned to open the cash register, Portis pulled out a gun and pointed it at the victim.

When the victim did not open the cash register, Portis pulled the trigger three times. The third shot was discharged directly at the woman, striking her in the neck.

Portis grabbed the cigar off the counter and ran. The wounded woman ran out of the store after him, collapsing in the road, where she died.

According to the affidavit, two individuals came forward with information concerning the murder and attempted robbery. Portis told Tamara Black and Tyrone Black that he shot someone while doing a lick. The arrest affidavit explains that a lick is a robbery.

Portis further told the brother and sister that he ditched the jacket he had been wearing and the gun he used, the affidavit states.

Tamara and Tyrone identified Portis in the surveillance video.

Portis must serve at least 40 years of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.

Contact Michelle Guffey at

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