, Port Arthur, Texas

June 2, 2014

PA man sentenced to life in murder of aunt

The Port Arthur News

BEAUMONT — Lawrence James, Jr., 44, last known address 5130 Minnie St., Port Arthur, Texas, was sentenced to life in prison Monday by Senior Criminal District Judge Larry Gist for the March 27, 2012, murder of his aunt Betty Loretta Davis. 

The probable cause statement and court records indicate that James went to his aunt’s home in the 2200 block of Shirley Street in Port Arthur to do yard work and she paid him for his services.  However, he felt she owed him more than what was paid. An argument began, and James admitted to stabbing his aunt multiple times and leaving her to die in her kitchen, even though he knew she was still breathing when he left. He also admitted to being high on cocaine and then fleeing to Houston in the victim’s vehicle where he purchased cocaine and procured the services of a prostitute. He was subsequently arrested for possession of a controlled substance in Harris County later that night. The victim’s body was not discovered until several days later by family members.   

Murder is a first degree felony punishable by 5-99 years or life in prison. Due to the classification of the crime and the use of a deadly weapon, the defendant must serve at least 30 calendar years before being considered for parole.  

Following the sentencing, Assistant Criminal District Attorney Eric Houghton stated, “We are very pleased with the life sentence. If ever there was a case that deserved a life sentence, it was this one.  The defendant repeatedly stabbed his aunt and then left her to die.”