TAYLOR COUNTY, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Luke Sweetser has been found guilty in the murder of his brother-in-law, Abilene Realtor Tom Niblo.
A jury returned the verdict against Luke Sweetser Tuesday afternoon, finding him guilty for 1st Degree Murder. The jurors will now listen to testimony in a sentencing hearing before deciding his punishment in this case. This is set to begin Thursday morning.
After 12 hours of deliberation, the jury said they were at an impasse and a mistrial was almost declared, however, they were able to reach a verdict after further consideration.
Luke was convicted after a trial that lasted 6 days, where jurors heard testimony from investigating law enforcement officers, Tom’s wife who witnessed the crime, and several members of the Niblo Family, who detailed an estranged relationship between Tom and Luke and Ellouise Sweester over the family estate, business, and partnership.
Ellouise (married to Luke and is also Tom’s sister) was upset that Tom was named executor of their late father’s will and was a manager of the family LLC, while she was left out and not even allowed access to the business’ checking account.
An exhaustive amount of electronic evidence was also investigated in this case. Detectives said that it was more than they had ever seen before, and one testified that he personally went through hundreds of thousands of files from electronics seized from just the Sweetser home alone.
That evidence included many searches, documents, and emails related to what the Sweetsers were trying to do with the Niblo LLC and family partnership, as well as Luke’s interest in weapons, murder, and serial killers.
Luke was not arrested until after the murder weapon was found by a teenager playing in the creek behind his grandfather’s home in August 2018. The gun was initially too rusty to fire and was not made operable and tested until 2020. Those tests showed it fired the casings found at the crime scene where Tom was shot and killed.
BigCountryHomepage.com will provide an update when the jury reaches their decision on punishment. Check back for the latest information.