A woman accused of brutally killing a Beaumont man and then setting his body ablaze pleaded guilty to murder Monday, May 21.
Deanna Edwards Wilson, 41, was indicted for the murder of Elkin Savoy, 58, whose body was found Monday, Nov. 14, 2011, burned and maimed as a result of an apparent homicide.
According to an autopsy report, Savoy’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the skull along with at least 15 stab wounds to the man’s head and face.
While in court Monday, Wilson’s defense argued she had been voluntarily admitted into numerous psychiatric hospitals in the months leading up to the murder, adding Wilson has no criminal history or conviction record. Her defense said Wilson loved Savoy, her common-law husband since 2009.
“This is not something that Ms. Wilson planned or wanted to see happen,” Wilson’s attorney argued.
He said Wilson had just returned from a Houston psychiatric ward when she attempted reconnect with her lover.
“She wanted to see if she could reconcile that, so she went to see Mr. Savoy,” her attorney said. “After that, things did not go well.”
Wilson was later caught at the Greyhound bus station in Beaumont where police found the dumbbell and knife used to kill Savoy, along with lighter fluid and matches.
Wilson’s defense argued for 20 years under the guilty plea.
The state’s attorneys would have none of it.
“On her way to the door, she lit the house on fire,” said Assistant District Attorney Robert Ortego.
The prosecutor further argued that Wilson didn’t love Savoy or she wouldn’t have killed him and that Wilson deserves the maximum sentence under the plea — 40 years in prison.
“If the mental health system can not protect us from her, it’s time the penal system and the prisons protect us from this defendant,” Ortego said.
Judge John Stevens, who presided over the case, seemed to agree, saying Wilson’s murder may not have been premeditated, but that doesn’t remove his court’s responsibility to see a fair sentence for the slaying.
Stevens said Wilson’s crime was brutal and in no way alludes to a loving relationship.
“If you’re going to stab someone you love 15 times in the head, what about the people you don’t like?” Stevens asked. “What would happen to them given an opportunity?”
Stevens prescribed the maximum sentence under the guilty plea — 40 years in prison.
Almost immediately, members of Wilson’s family began sobbing loudly in court, prompting bailiffs to remove them.
Savoy’s family then gave impact statements before the court and faced their son’s and brother’s killer.
“There is an emptiness here that can never be replaced,” said brother Charlie Jackson.
Jackson said Savoy was a loving man dedicated to his job and family.
“He rode his bicycle to that job every day since 1968,” Jackson said.
Forgiveness may be hard to come by for Savoy’s family, he said.
“I hope one day we can find peace, because right now we can’t,” Jackson said.
Clay Thorp can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 225, or by e-mail at clay [at] theexaminer [dot] com.