Appeals Court Affirms Conviction In Deadly Central Texas Shooting

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HILLSBORO (November 2, 2012)--The 13th Court of Appeals, in Corpus Christi, has upheld the conviction of a Bay City man in the 2009 shooting death of a Valley Mills woman.

The court said that Hill County’s 66th District Court did not err in the trial for Howard Lee Shafer, Jr., who was convicted of murder in the shooting death of Kathy Todd, who was killed at a residence in the Mayfield area north of Hillsboro.

The court affirmed both Shafer’s conviction and his life sentence.

Shafer's attorneys argued that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of extraneous bad acts and for denying his request to instruct the jury on the lesser offense of criminally negligent homicide.

Todd, 60, died Nov. 9, 2009 in a creek bed 135 yards from where Todd was removing personal items from a shed at her ex-boyfriend's rural Hill County residence, investigators said Monday.

Shafer had relocated to Central Texas after Hurricane Ike.

Police say he used a rifle stolen the day before from the residence to shoot Todd and then stole some of the items she was packing up, which were later recovered.

Investigators at the time said they didn't know why Shafer shot Todd, who was found dead by her ex-boyfriend and another woman near the shed in Itasca in the area of HCR 4282 and FM 3147.

The Hill County Sheriff's Office said Todd was shot in the back of the head.

Sheriff's deputies questioned neighbors living in the area after the shooting and a woman living off of HCR 4224 went to her own shed and found a stranger in the building.

Sheriff's deputies, local police, DPS Troopers, and the Texas Parks & Wildlife game wardens surrounded the building.

The Hill County Sheriff's Office says there were tracks from the murder scene to the shed where Shafer was found and several stolen items were also found.

The rifle stolen from the murder scene was also recovered and was linked to the killing.

Sheriff's deputies said Schafer spent time in prison in the Matagorda area for burglary and was wanted in Covington on a burglary charge.

He had been working for various farmers in the area.