BREWSTER COUNTY, TX (KWES) - A Brewster County jury unanimously found Charles Levi Morrow guilty of murder Friday afternoon after deliberating for approximately 45 minutes.
He was sentenced to 55 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for his role in the 2014 death of Trey Sands, a former Kilgore High School football coach.
Morrow took the stand Thursday in Brewster County's 394th District Court and sobbed as he shared his account of the drunken fight that led to Sands' gory demise.
He admitted to hitting the Sands four times in the head with a two-by-four board after the former coach had been shot in the back of the head by co-worker Keith McWilliams.
Morrow struck him in an attempt to "put him out of his misery" by giving him a "quicker death," he told the court.
Two medical examiners testified the official cause of death was the gunshot wound, not blunt force trauma inflicted the two-by-four.
However, both experts maintained Sands was still alive when Morrow began hitting him.
He and McWilliams hid the body under a pile of rocks and kept silent for weeks while authorities searched the Big Bend region, believing Sands to be missing.
McWilliams eventually came forward and led investigators to the makeshift grave.
The case against him went to trial last month and also ended with a guilty verdict.
He, unlike Morrow, received the maximum punishment for murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
Morrow may be eligible for parole after serving the first half of his 55-year sentence, according to District Attorney Rod Ponton.
His adoptive mother, older brother and a longtime family friend took the stand Friday during the punishment phase to testify about his "kind, soft heart" and "compassionate" nature.
Prosecutors highlighted Morrow's separation from the Marine Corps for fighting, his tumultuous relationship with an ex-wife and alleged misuse of alcohol and marijuana during the punishment phase.
Ponton said he considered the verdict and sentence "important victories" for the state and felt jurors had "done their jobs properly in serving justice."
The victim's father, Walter Cayce Sands Jr., said he was also satisfied with the jury's decision.
"I'm happy [Morrow] is going to be locked up," he said. "But no matter what, we don't get Trey back. That's the hard thing."
Defense attorney Jaime Escuder had no comment.