SABINE PASS, Texas — A Sabine Pass woman has been found guilty of murdering her 81-year-old father in 2019.
Kelli Sartin was convicted Thursday in the killing of her father Charles Sartin. She was sentenced to 81-years behind bars hours after a Jefferson County jury delivered the guilty verdict.
During the trial, prosecutors said that Kelli Sartin killed longtime restaurant owner Charles Sartin and tried to skip town.
"This was a difficult case for everybody involved. A terrible savage beating and it was, it was a good verdict," said prosecutor Phillip Smith.
Smith said the sentencing was symbolic because Charles Sartin was 81-years-old when he was murdered.
According to District Attorney Bob Wortham, the prosecutor told the jury to give the daughter an 81-year sentence if they couldn't give her life. Wortham also said she might be eligible for parole in 30 years.
The Sartin family released the following statement to 12News.
"On behalf of the Sartin family, Desolatte family, and the community of Sabine Pass, our family is very relieved with the sentence Kelli received. We also feel they feel that the Jefferson County court system did in fact get justice for Charles Sartin."
Kelli Sartin’s defense team said her father, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, became aggressive and went after her. The team argued that Kelli Sartin acted in self-defense to protect herself.
"He came at me with a knife, in a bit of rage, and I defended myself," Kelli Sartin testified in court.
The jury did not agree with the defense and found Kelli Sartin guilty of murder.
"She beat him savagely, he has seven rib fractures, on the front, on the back, the left. His skull fractured, caused his brain to bleed," Smith said.
Many of the community members who testified Tuesday said they were concerned about Charles Sartin's welfare in the days before his death.
Neighbor and friend Jerry Eldridge testified that a group of neighbors were concerned, so they called for a welfare check. An officer showed up, but despite hearing moans did not enter the house on September 4, 2019.
Eldridge testified that despite being frustrated, the officer instructed him if he entered the home, he could be arrested.
"I've never seen her like that before. I knew something was not right. She was just not in her right state of mind," Melinda Perkins said.
Eldridge testified on cross-examination that he was aware of his neighbor Charles Sartins' medical conditions saying that he had Alzheimer’s and dementia and that, "he looked rough" before he died.
His body was found inside his home in Sabine Pass during a welfare check in September 2019.
His daughter, who was 53-year-old at the time, admitted to police that she beat her father with her fists, a metal spatula, and a wooden rolling pin.
The person who called about the welfare check told police that Kelli Sartin "made statements which were alarming concerning Charles' welfare," according to a probable cause affidavit.
When police arrived at the home, they said Kelli Sartin was there. She told police that "she found her father deceased and that he committed suicide by hitting himself with a metal spatula and a wooden rolling pin," the affidavit says.
Police said Charles Sartin was found dead wrapped in bedding and a tarp in a bedroom of the home on Tremont Street.
The affidavit says, "Kelli admitted to thoroughly cleaning the residence with bleach and taping the bedroom door shut with duct tape."