An Athens man was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years and a $10,000 fine after being convicted of manslaughter in his wife's death.
According to testimony during the trial, Thomas Edward Green had been drinking Jan. 25, 2018, when his wife caught him exchanging text messages with an ex-partner. Prosecutors said they began arguing, and it was during the argument that Green loaded a gun, pointed it at Cheryl Holt's chest and pulled the trigger — all while their 3-year-old daughter and her 8-year-old son were in the room.
Green was indicted later that year on one count of murder, but a Limestone County jury convicted him of manslaughter.
Holt's son, now 11, had testified during the trial, telling jurors how he was playing with the family dog but turned at the sound of "fussing," just in time to watch his mother get shot. He recalled being instructed to get something to help clean up the blood and being on the phone with 911 and his grandmother.
In May, the Rev. Shirley Fletcher submitted a letter to Limestone County Circuit Court Judge Chadwick Wise, requesting the maximum sentence for Green.
"Thomas Edward Green not only murdered Cheryl Holt, but he also destroyed the lives of her two young children, her mother and her sister, thus affecting the lives of their close family members," Fletcher wrote in the letter.
She said the guilty verdict not only allowed Holt's family to breathe a sigh of relief but for Holt's son to begin feeling safe enough to sleep at night.
"Many nights, it is 2 a.m. and sometimes even later before he finally will go off to sleep, and then there is a burden in trying to awaken him for school the next morning," Fletcher wrote of her grandson.
In addition to receiving the max sentence and a fine for Holt's death, Wise sentenced Green to pay a victim's compensation fee. A separate criminal trial in which Green faces one count of sexual abuse of a child under 12 is set to begin June 14.