Darrell Antonio Crowder was sentenced to life plus 35 years Friday for the murder of his estranged wife. The sentence is more then what he originally pleaded to in 2009.
Crowder, 52, was found guilty of malice murder, burglary, cruelty to children and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in the death of 43-year-old Catcilia Crowder, on Jan. 16, 2008. She was found by her 16-year-old daughter and her 13-year-old cousin, dead in her bathtub.
According to the evidence, after exchanging angry texts with his wife, Crowder left his job at an Atlanta post office distribution center, drove to the Newton County home he once shared with his wife and daughter, then beat the door down. He entered the home and chased his wife through the home, finally busting into the bathroom where she was hiding and shooting her.
Crowder pleaded guilty to malice murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in December 2009. In 2010 Crowder pleaded ineffective assistance of council shortly after his sentence was imposed, saying his attorney had misinformed him about his eligibility of parole and told him that he would not have to serve a full 30 years before parole eligibility. He said in court if had known that he would have insisted on a trial.
Despite his testimony, Newton County Superior Court Judge Eugene Benton denied his request to withdraw his guilty plea and go forward with a jury trial in the case.
Crowder then filed an appeal with the Georgia Supreme Court and earlier this year they overturned Benton's ruling and ordered a trial set for Crowder.
Under his earlier pleading, he was given life plus five years, he was sentenced to 30 years more in the jury trial.