Retired Texas Dentist Sentenced For Killing His Wife

TYLER (January 24, 2013)--A jury decided on a 20-year prison sentence Thursday for retired East Texas dentist Bobby Ray Nichols, whom jurors convicted earlier of murder in the death of his wife.

Prosecutors were seeking a life sentence for Nichols in the shooting death last summer of Rosalind Nichols, 71, his wife of 26 years, but the jury in Tyler found that Nichols acted out of "sudden passion" when he shot her last June at the couple’s home.

Nichols will become eligible for parole after 10 years in prison.

In his closing, defense attorney argued that Nichols was abused by his wife and that he killed her in a fit of passion, but prosecutor Richard Vance argued that any sentence less than life would suggest a tacit endorsement of Nichols' actions.

Nichols took the stand in his own defense and testified that he was "in a stupor" and didn't intend to shoot his wife during an argument last summer, but said he only intended to scare her.]

He said he remembered nothing from that night until the gunshot startled him.