State Appeals Court Upholds Local Woman's Murder Conviction

Joyce Sturdivant (Jail photo)
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WACO (May 15, 2013)—The 1st Court Of Appeals, based in Houston, on Tuesday upheld the murder conviction of Joyce McMillin Sturdivant, who was found guilty in December 2011 of killing her husband.

Joe Sturdivant, Jr., a long-time Waco auto shop owner and well known stock car driver, was killed in October 2008.

Joyce Sturdivant was convicted of his shooting death in December 2011 and of an earlier attempt to have him killed.

In its decision published Tuesday the Houston court said of the six issues Joyce Sturdivant’’s attorney listed as error, none of them rose to the level of requiring the verdict being overturned.

The basis of the appeal held that Waco attorneys Guy Cox and Allen Bennett, who acted as special prosecutors, failed to present sufficient evidence to support the jury’s berdicts.

The court also ordered that all other issues involved in the appeal were dismissed as moot.

Joyce Sturdivant is serving sentences of 30 and 15 years concurrently in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

She could be eligible for parole in 2026.

Evidence presented in her trial showed that she murdered her husband of 40 years after first trying to hire someone to kill him.

Joe Sturdivant was shot in the head and back while asleep in his bed, police said.

Joyce Sturdivant called police just after 5:20 p.m. on Oct. 8, 2008 to report that she had found her husband dead at the couple's residence in the 3100 block of Highway 77 South in Robinson.

The Sturdivant Family owned and operated Sturdivant's Automatic Transmission, located near South 18th Street and Clay Avenue since the late 1960s.

In addition to being a business owner, Joe Sturdivant was also a champion stock car racer, who frequently competed on the local race circuit.