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Retiree sentenced to prison for shooting lawyer over parking space

August 1, 2019 

A 69-year-old man who fatally shot a Houston attorney over a disabled parking space has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Thursday.

William Anthony Hall was sentenced late Wednesday after being convicted earlier this week for the murder of attorney James Garza, 67, on the evening of May 31, 2017.

The Texas City lawyer was shot in the parking lot of a U.S. Post Office at 4020 Broadway.

Hall, who was licensed to carry a concealed handgun, confronted the attorney about parking his car in a space reserved for motorists with disabilities.

Even though he initiated the confrontation, he told police he shot Garza after feeling threatened during the argument.

“Mr. Garza was going about his business when Mr. Hall decided to take the law into his own hands,” Ogg said. “That sort of vigilantism is never acceptable in Harris County.”

Garza, who did not have a disabled parking sticker, had stopped at the post office that evening to pick up his mail from his post office box.

Houston Police homicide investigators determined there was no video surveillance footage that captured the confrontation.

Hall told investigators that Garza had become physical with him, so he shot him once in the chest with a handgun.

However, an envelope Garza was holding had a bullet hole in it, indicating he was holding it against his chest when he was shot, not swinging a fist at Hall.

Assistant District Attorney Mary McFaden, of the Elder Abuse Section, said during the trial that Hall was acting as a vigilante when he took the law into his own hands for an offense that is a minor misdemeanor.

“People who carry guns legally have just as much responsibility as anyone else,” she said. “That license does not give you a license to kill. You still have to follow the law and if you don’t, you’re going to be held accountable just like everybody else.”

The case was prosecuted by Mary McFaden and Joe Frank.