The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

August 29, 2012

Jury finds Pate guilty of murder

By Jean Cole

ATHENS — An Arab woman who fatally shot her lover has been found gulty of murder.

Following two days of testimony and closing arguments Wednesday morning, a Limestone County jury deliberated about two hours before reaching a guilty verdict just after noon against Lisa Mechelle Pate, 43.

Pate was convicted in the fatal shooting of James Miller, 59, on Nov. 22, 2009, at his home in Athens.

Pate had testified Tuesday she shot Miller in the back of the head and then in the abdomen in self-defense after he became unstable and threatening as she was ending their relationship.

Athens Police investigators believed — based on statements made by friends and family members at the time of the shooting — that it was Miller who was ending the relationship with Pate.

Pate, who had been free on bond since since Dec. 1, 2009, was taken into custody following the verdict. She will be evaluated before Circuit Judge Robert Baker sentences her in the coming weeks. 

Go online later today or see Thursday's print editiion for full coverage of the trial.