ABILENE, TX -- An Abilene man has been sentenced to 50 years after he killed a woman with a hatchet and buried her body under his living room. Earlier this year the suspect pleaded guilty to the murder.
In 2016, 60-year-old Timothy Dwelle murdered Patricia Ann Smith Ford. The victim was reported missing the next day by her daughter, Carol Rolin.
In 2018, Rolin received a call from Dwelle where he confessed to killing her mother with a hatchet. She recorded the conversation and turned it over to the police.
Dwelle's home was subsequently searched and investigators found bone fragments under his living room floor.
According to Detective Paul Martinez, investigators found the victim's hands, foot, knees, and two skeletal pieces hidden under the house.
Ford's skull and other bones were found inside a box in the attic.
During the defense's closing argument, Dwelle's attorney asked the court to consider allowing the suspect the chance to stay home because he was not a threat to society. She argued that he must have snapped.
"He is a patient, kind and caring man who helped anyone," said the defense attorney.
While the defense asked for leniency, District Attorney Jim Hicks reminded the court that Dwelle had not only killed Ford but he had buried her body under the floorboards instead of contacting the police.
"This is not a crime of sudden passion," Hicks said. "This is a plain ol' calculated murder."
According to the DA, Dwelle would routinely check to see if the body remained hidden.
"She didn't deserve to die like this," said Hicks.
Dwelle must serve at least 25 years before he is eligible for parole. His attorney has filed an appeal.