Tarkington woman gets 25-year sentence for murder

Five years after the shooting death of Richard Dale Morris, 56, of Tarkington, his former girlfriend – Jessica Michelle Tullos, 49, has pleaded guilty to his murder.

Tullos accepted a 25-year prison sentence this week in the courtroom of the Honorable 253rd State District Judge Chap B. Cain in Liberty County.

The murder took place Aug. 17, 2018, at Tullos’ home on CR 2279 in Tarkington. Morris suffered a gunshot wound to the back of his head. He was airlifted to a Houston area trauma center where he died the next day from his injuries.

Tullos initially pleaded not guilty to the murder and was out on bond awaiting trial until her guilty plea this week, which has landed her in the Liberty County Jail until she is sent to prison.

At the time of the shooting incident, both Morris and Tullos allegedly were at Tullos’ home and had been drinking heavily.

“At some point in the evening, a physical confrontation broke out between the two and that is when Tullos went to a closet and secured a rifle while Morris went outside and was standing near the passenger side of Tullos’ vehicle,” according to a statement from the sheriff’s office at the time of the murder. “It was at this point that Tullow shot Morris in the back of the head.”

Tullos called 911 afterward to report the shooting. In that call, she admitted to shooting Morris and told the dispatchers where investigators would find the rifle. She was arrested and charged for the murder.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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