TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – A 30-year-old repeat felon was sentenced to 99 years in prison on Friday for shooting his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend 12 times during a confrontation at an Arlington apartment last year on Thanksgiving Day.
Jurors deliberated a total of 11 1/2 hours before convicting Artis Leon Polk Jr. of murder in the slaying of 23-year-old Charles Knighten. They also convicted him of a second count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
Later, the jury deliberated about two hours before sentencing him to the maximum 99 years on the murder charge and 20 years for unlawfully possessing the firearm. The sentences will run concurrently.
During the trial in state district Judge Ruben Gonzalez’s court, prosecutors Lloyd Whelchel and Kim D’Avignon presented evidence that on Nov. 22, 2012, Knighten, his mother and step-father went to pick up Knighten’s young children at 523 Ridings Place, where they were celebrating the holiday with their mother and her family.
Shortly after they arrived, an argument started outside between Knighten, his ex- girlfriend and Polk – who had recently moved in with Knighten’s ex-girlfriend and his children. At some point, Knighten displayed a BB gun during the argument, but family members convinced him to put it away and calm down.
A short time later, Polk burst outside with a semi-automatic assault rifle and opened fire on Knighten, shooting him 12 times, including three times in the back. As Knighten lay dying on the sidewalk, Polk walked over to Knighten and pulled his BB gun out of his pocket. He then fled the scene and disposed of his rifle and Knighten’s BB gun.
During the trial, Polk testified that he shot Knighten in self-defense, but the jury rejected that argument. The jury also heard about Polk’s criminal history, which included previous convictions for drug possession, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, burglary of a habitation and aggravated robbery.
Polk was released from prison just six months before he killed Knighten. Two days before Knighten’s murder, Polk bought the semi-automatic assault rifle off the streets in Dallas.
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