D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - A man accused of killing his Seabee wife pleaded guilty to second degree murder Tuesday. Troy Roberts admitted he shot Philomena Roberts, 44, on June 1, 2011. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison, which is to be served without the hope of early release or parole.
Philomena Roberts died from single gunshot wound to the chest at the couple's home in D'Iberville.
Troy Roberts told the court he had been drinking and gambling at a local casino that night when he and his wife began arguing. The argument continued after they returned home.
"When the victim said she was going to leave him, Roberts told the court he became angry and shot her" said Assistant District Attorney Beth McFadyen.
Roberts called 911 the day his wife died, but wasn't charged until several weeks later.
"Although we had only limited direct evidence, the D'Iberville Police Department, and several partner agencies, are to be commended on their hard work in collecting a large amount of circumstantial evidence which led to today's conviction," said District Attorney Joel Smith.
During his plea hearing, Troy Roberts told authorities he tossed the murder weapon in the woods near D'Iberville Elementary School. Tuesday afternoon, police officers searched for the gun but did not find it.
Under a new law passed by the legislature this July, defendants charged with a murder which is not premeditated, can be convicted of Second Degree Murder.
"The passage of the 2nd degree murder bill was a tremendous tool for law enforcement. Too often, we have seen defendants serving less than 10 years after being sentenced for manslaughter. We are pleased this defendant will serve 30 years day for day for his crime" said District Attorney Joel Smith.
"Today's sentence will not bring the victim back, but the family is relieved to avoid further litigation and the possibility of any appeals of the conviction in the future."