UPDATE — The jury recessed for the night after 7 hours of deliberation on whether to convict suspect Luke Sweetser for the murder of Abilene realtor Tom Niblo. They are set to resume at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Read the latest update from court below. This was written Tuesday morning shortly before closing arguments took place. Deliberation then began around 3:00 p.m.
TAYLOR COUNTY, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Closing arguments are set to begin Tuesday afternoon in the trial for the murder of Abilene realtor Tom Niblo, after jurors spent the morning hearing continued testimony from a police sergeant, who cited the suspect’s personal journals in court, including one passage that said, “there are worse things than being a killer.”
Sergeant Paul Martinez was the only witness to take the stand on Day 6 of the trial. He continued where he left off during Day 5 by talking about the journals of suspect Luke Sweetser.
In those journals, Luke wrote about “ways out of hell” and was talking about how to shift the inheritance from the will of Syd Niblo a month before Tom was shot and killed inside his home on Woodridge Drive in December 2016.
Luke also made an entry on November 20, 2016, that reads in part, “I hate myself. . . life f****** sucks…everything ends tonight. All debts paid. All accounts closed. Tonight is the end of someone’s world, and if it’s mine, it will be messy.”
Another entry from that day says, “besides, there are worse things than being a killer. . . ” This entry then makes reference to Biblical acts of killing and says, “do you want to know the difference between a killer and a murderer? It’s how and where you aim the gun.”
In September 2012, Luke called his life a “burning hell” and cited problems with his wife Ellouise, who is also Tom’s sister. In that entry, he said, “I can shut off my empathy and kill. . .” then talks about how serial killers don’t care about themselves or others.
Sgt. Martinez also testified to an audio recording between Luke and Ellouise, where they were trying to draft documents to get her more power in the Niblo LLC and family partnership. This recording was in reference to a meeting Ellouise had with her mother Evelyn, Tom, and some attorneys in October of 2016,
In the recording, Ellouise is heard telling Luke that “he [Tom] would never agree to this while he is alive,” and she said that Tom responded with, “not now, never! not until I die. Off with you and off with your head,” when she asked to become a signer on the LLC checking account.
Lastly, Sgt. Martinez mentioned that there was a magazine for a Glock 40 caliber handgun found in Luke’s apartment when he was arrested for murder. He says that it would have fit the weapon that investigators determined fired the shots that killed Tom Niblo. The weapon was found in a creek in 2018 and was missing the magazine.
During the cross-examination of Sgt. Martinez, defense attorney Lynn Ingalsbe wanted to point out that Luke’s phone was pinged around the Niblo residence December 2, but that doesn’t mean Luke had the phone, and he drew attention to a journal entry Luke made just days before the murder that read in part, “Tom Niblo is not a bad guy. . . he’s aright and maybe Ellouise can forgive her brother, and we can all go together to the ranch as a family.”
Both the prosecution and defense rested their case following Sgt. Martinez’s testimony, and closing arguments are set to begin following the reading of the charges against Luke Sweetser Tuesday afternoon.
Then, jurors will deliberate on if Luke Sweetser is guilty or not guilty in the murder of Tom Niblo.
Stick with BigCountryHomepage.com for more information on when a verdict is reached.