ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Nearly six years of investigation, with eight days of trials and deliberations, ended Thursday with the sentencing of Luke Sweetser in the murder of Tom Niblo. Sweetser was found guilty of murdering his brother-in-law in 2016, and was given the maximum allowable sentence of life in prison – plus a $10,000 fine. Sweetser opted pre-trial to have the jury decide his sentence, rather than the presiding judge.
“This is a day that the family has prayed for since, literally, December 12th of 2016,” said Niblo family friend and representative, Robert Wagstaff.
Loved ones of Tom Niblo sat anxiously as the jury entered the room one last time to deliver their final ruling. That tension was broken by gasps of relief from the family upon hearing the sentence.
“They look forward to moving on from this and to getting as much of their life back and they have,” Wagstaff explained. “They have done a good job of moving on before now.”
Sweetser’s attorney, Lynn Ingalsbe – a prominent attorney with a bulldog courtroom reputation, stated in court his disagreement with the jury’s ruling, but said he would respect the decision.
“I think that the evidence that I heard did not erase all reasonable doubt about Luke’s guilt,” Ingalsbee said of his courtroom loss.
Ingalsbee continued as he was questioned on the cause of Niblo’s murder, “Both families were rather dysfunctional, and probably, that’s what lead to this event.”
Although, the jury and Niblo family clearly expressed a different opinion on the matter. Wagstaff relayed the family’s gratitude to the Taylor County justice system, Abilene police, and Attorneys Dan Joiner and Erin Stamey who represented them.
“It has been a long road it has been a hard road. But they are extremely pleased with the results and believe that justice has now been done,” Wagstaff added.