, Port Arthur, Texas

April 30, 2014

Prosecutors to seek life term for PA man who stabbed aunt to death

The Port Arthur News

— BEAUMONT — Prosecutors intend to seek a life sentence for Lawrence James Jr. 44, of Port Arthur who pleaded guilty Tuesday to stabbing his aunt multiple times then leaving her to die on her kitchen floor.

James went to the home of Bettye Loretta Davis in the 2200 block of Shirley Street in Port Arthur on March 27, 2012, to do yard work. He felt she owed him more than he was paid. An argument began and James admitted to stabbing her multiple times and leaving her to die, even though he knew she was still breathing when he left, according to the probable cause statement and other evidence gathered in the course of the investigation.

He also admitted to being high on cocaine and then fleeing to Houston in the victim’s vehicle. 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.

The guilty plea was entered after a jury had already been selected for trial, and there was no plea bargain agreement. The offense as charged carries a possible punishment range of a minimum of 15 years and up to 99 years or life in prison. Assistant Criminal District Attorney Eric Houghton is prosecuting the case and said “we will be asking for life, because he doesn’t deserve anything less.”