After convicting Tommy Millsap of first-degree manslaughter and possession of methamphetamine Tuesday afternoon, Carter County jurors returned stiff punishment recommendations and added another conviction for possession of a firearm Tuesday evening at the conclusion of the second phase of the Ardmore man’s trial.
The jury, which was evenly divided with six men and six women serving, deliberated about an hour following District Attorney Craig Ladd’s evidence of Millsap’s extensive criminal history. They returned to District Judge Dennis Morris’ courtroom, recommending the Ardmore man serve life in prison for the March 29 slaying of Toby Albin, 15 years for the illegal possession of a firearm and another 20 years for possession of methamphetamine.
Millsap had remained generally impassive throughout the two-day trail but lost his cool when he heard the sentencing recommendations. Carter County deputies reportedly had to physically restrain him as he turned to lookat his mother and said, "That's alright momma you can still see me." And, minutes later as he was led from the courtroom under guard screamed at Albin's family members who were in the courtroom.
During closing arguments in the first stage of the trial Millsap's defense attorney Eric Jones attempted to convince the jury his client had acted in self defense when he shot and killed Albin inside his Clover Road residence on the evening of March 29. Jones called the victim "very violent" who had been convicted in a shooting and served time in prison. "He (Millsap) felt he needed to defend himself. Toby was acting crazy. He (Millsap) was trying to calm the situation down. He handled it like a man. He was hoping nothing happened but knows he's (Albin) dangerous. He is up against a wall in his own home. He believed he was in imminent danger and that's what happened," Jones said.
Ladd countered Jones' argument, telling the jury Millsap's own video taped interview following the shooting indicated he was not afraid. The district attorney said Millsap admitted he and Albin had gotten "high" together the night before. He also pointed to evidence that on the night of the shooting when Albin, who came to Millsap's house because he had discovered the defendant had stolen some of his personal belongings, and saw the defendant armed with a shotgun asked, "Is that for me?" Millsap had responded, "No, man." Ladd also reminded the jury the evidence indicated Millsap had walked into his house, retrieved a cigarette and lighter and was sitting in a chair, when he shot the victim. Those actions, Ladd said, were strong indicators the defendant was not afraid.
"It was all good before TJ got caught stealing from Toby. He wasn't afraid. He's guilty as charged," Ladd said.
Following the verdicts Ladd said, "I want to commend the jury for their diligent ser vice and firm punishment. Their verdicts and recommended sentences were certainly supported by the evidence and law. I hope that today's events bring some degree of comfort to Toby's family. Today's verdicts were a product, in large part, of the joint effort of the Ardmore Police Department and Carter County Sheriff 's Department narcotics' teams. As usual, Lt. Rick Batt's (Carter County Sheriff's Department) contributions on the homicide aspect of the case were exceptional as well." Formal sentencing is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 5.
Meanwhile Millsap remains detained at the Carter County Detention Center, where he had been held on a $1.5 million bond since his arrest just hours after the slaying.