Sharon Anne Maxwell, 43, remains in county jail under $500,000 bond on charges of killing her 10th husband, 46-year-old Gordon Maxwell, last Aug. 30, Byrd said.
Maxwell’s burned body was found in his pickup at the couple’s home on north Texas Hwy. 155 near Ore City, and preliminary autopsy results showed he died of “homicide by being shot” multiple times, Byrd said Wednesday.
However, if final autopsy results show he also died as a result of his truck being set afire, that would upgrade the charge to capital murder, which is punishable only by lethal injection or life imprisonment, said the district attorney.
Under Texas law, a person can be prosecuted for capital murder if the victim is alive when arson is committed, Byrd explained.
“The investigation is not complete and I expect other charges to be brought by the grand jury” against Mrs. Maxwell and one or more other persons in connection with the slaying, Byrd added.
He said he could not elaborate, but that authorities believe Gordon Maxwell was shot somewhere other than inside the truck.
Byrd said he went ahead and had Ms. Maxwell indicted Wednesday on the murder charge partly because waiting longer than 90 days from the date of the offense to indict her could have resulted in her possible release on a personal recognizance bond. He also said he thought his office had enough evidence to indict her for murder.
The woman’s bond was originally set at $750,000, but Byrd said he and her attorney, Matthew Patton, reached an agreement to lower it to $500,000 about a month ago.
In a statement issued shortly after the slaying, Upshur County Sheriff Anthony Betterton said County Fire Marshal Paul Steelman and the Ore City Fire Department had responded to a late-morning report of a vehicle fire at the Maxwell home. After the blaze was extinguished, “fire crews found a burned body in the vehicle,” the sheriff wrote.
Sheriff’s investigators and Steelman deemed the fire “suspicious in nature,” and Texas Rangers and the Longview Police Department were contacted to assist in the probe, Betterton said.
“Through the investigation it was found that the person located in the vehicle may not have died as a result of the fire, but by other means,” Betterton added. He said sheriff’s deputies arrested Mrs. Maxwell in Ore City about 7:45 p.m. that night after the fire had been reported about 11:15 a.m.
The Maxwells had wed only last March 20, Byrd said. Gordon Maxwell was working at U.S. Steel in Lone Star, but was in the ministry and was starting a church at the time he was slain, the prosecutor said.