‘Double Jeopardy’ clause prompts dismissal of East Texas murder case that was set to be retried

Crime & Public Safety

PANOLA COUNTY, Texas (KETK) A Kilgore woman will no longer be on trial again for murder after her Writ of Habeas Corpus motion was granted by a Panola County judge.

In a Zoom court hearing on Thursday, the court find that in the retrial murder case of Deborah Smiley McFadden, 58, of Kilgore, further prosecution would be prohibited due to the ‘double jeopardy’ clause.

Back in October 2003, McFadden was arrested for allegedly killing her ex-boyfriend, Edward Eugene George Jr.

McFadden – who was Deborah Gaye Smiley at the time of the shooting – was living with George in his Beckville home while divorcing her husband, Terry Smiley, whom she had shot in the leg seven months earlier, police said at the time.

Almost 15 years later, in February 2017, McFadden was tried in a Panola County court and found guilty of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

A year later in 2018, the Sixth Court of Appeals issued a judgement to grant a new trial, after she claimed her request that the jury be instructed on the use of deadly conduct in defense of property under state law was denied.

A new trial date was set for the case in February 2021, but that was canceled due to the ongoing pandemic. The State did not object to the Writ of Habeas Corpus submitted by the defendant.

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April 29 2021 07:00 pm

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