Crime

Getting drunk is no excuse for killing your wife, judge tells Gulfport murderer

William Douglas Bryant Jr., 49, of Gulfport will spend the rest of his life in prison after admitting that he killed the wife he had previously been convicted of beating.

Circuit Court Judge Christopher Schmidt handed down the sentence earlier this week after Bryant pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Kari Marann Whitley, the district attorney’s office said in a news release.

Bryant called 911 the afternoon of May 3, 2017, and says, “I killed my wife. I beat her with a hammer.” Gulfport police responded, finding the the body of Whitley, 43, who had been dead for several days.

Investigators learned that Bryant had quit his job about a month earlier and moved his wife home from an assisted living facility after she started getting disability checks.

“Bryant attacked his wife in her sleep and struck her multiple times with a hammer,” said Assistant District Attorney Patti Simpson, who prosecuted the case.

Bryant apologized in court for what he did, but said he did not remember much about what happened.

The news release says he had been drinking heavily that day. Schmidt told Bryant that, under Mississippi law, intoxication is no defense for murder. Bryant was convicted in 2015 of domestic violence after assaulting Whitley.

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