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Justin Smith, 36 of Corsicana, was sentenced Thursday to 35 years for murder and 20 years for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Navarro County District Attorney’s Office.

The trial started on May 9 in the Navarro County Court at Law with jury selection and the jury returned verdicts Tuesday of guilty on both charges.

The charges stemmed from a family argument March 27, 2021 at the M. R. Smith Parlor for Funerals that turned violent when Smith retrieved his pistol from a vehicle and on his way back into the building encountered his sister, who he shot in the face, killing her instantly.

Smith then pursued his other sister through the building, out the front door and across Business 45 where he fired the gun at her also.

Sgt. Mark Nanny of the Corsicana Police Department happened to be driving by and stopped when he saw the second victim running across the road pursued by Smith with a pistol in his hand.

Smith fled the scene but was later contacted by phone and surrendered to officers. Police arrested Smith and interviewed him at the Corsicana Police Department where he confessed to killing his sister.

At trial, however, Smith insisted that he was forced to defend himself when his sister attacked him and tried to wrestle the pistol from his hand.

He testified that after killing his first sister he felt that he had to “eliminate the threat” from the other sister because he believed she had a gun in her purse and would use it against him.

Smith’s pistol was found a few feet inside the side door of the funeral home with a spent 9 mm casing jammed in the gun.

Detective Garrett Harrell introduced dozens of photographs and testified about the investigation at the crime scene and his 40-minute interview with Smith after he was arrested.

The evidence was presented by ADAs Sherry Shumer and Aaron Lilly with District Attorney Will Thompson. The prosecution called a total of 18 witnesses including police, family members and a medical examiner who performed the autopsy on the victim.

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