BEAUMONT, Texas — A Beaumont man who admitted to his involvement in the 2018 shooting death of his neighbor was sentenced Thursday to 50 years behind bars by a Jefferson County jury.
Police say Brian Rollins, 36, of Beaumont, was sentenced for the 2018 murder of Kendra Leday.
Investigators say the pair were neighbors in the 4300 block of Kenneth Avenue in Beaumont. They testified the two were arguing before Rollins started shooting, hitting and killing Leday on Dec. 29, 2018, according to a Beaumont Police news release.
Jury selection for Rollins' trial began on Monday followed by Tuesday's testimony.
Jurors heard the account of an officer who detailed his arrival at a south end Beaumont home after the shooting. He said he found Leday dead from a gunshot wound. He also testified about finding a gun within arm's length of Rollins. Police have blamed the shooting on an argument between the two.
The jury also heard a jailhouse conversation between a police detective and Rollins. On the tape, he admitted to shooting Leday.
After three days of testimonies, the case was turned over to the jury for discussion. It took them an hour to return a guilty verdict. Then jurors heard more testimonies during the punishment phase.
Jurors watched an emotional scene from Leday's brother during the trial. He was put on the stand to identify his sister. He grabbed tissues as he was shown photos of her taken after the shooting.
"Everyone is traumatized and in disbelief. Every day, it don't get better. Everybody hurt. We won't ever see her again," said one of the victim’s brothers.
Another brother of the victim traveled from New York to speak at the trial. He cried on the stand as he described the impact his sister’s death had on their family. "Brian Rollins faced this judge today, but one day, there's another judge you will face," he said.
After hearing from the family, the jury deliberated again, and returned with a sentence of 50 years in state prison for Rollins. He had faced up to life behind bars.