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Crime & Courts

Houston man sentenced to 30 years in shooting death on ATV trail

  • Author: Madeline McGee
  • Updated: March 28, 2019
  • Published March 28, 2019

A Houston man convicted of murder in a 2017 fight that left another man dead on an ATV trail was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison.

Justin Brunsvold, 38, was originally charged with first- and second-degree murder in the killing of 32-year-old Patrick McMullen, whose body was found on an ATV trail off Mile 59 of the Parks Highway in November 2017. He had been beaten and shot in the head.

Brunsvold’s plea agreement, reached last November, throws out the first-degree murder charge. He was sentenced Wednesday to 55 years in prison with 30 years to serve, followed by a 10-year period of probation “with general and special drug conditions," Palmer assistant district attorney Kerry Corliss said in an email.

The minimum penalty for second-degree murder is 15 years, and the maximum is 99 years, Corliss said

According to Brunsvold’s charges, he and McMullen had gone to a Parks Highway pullout to buy methamphetamine, but the drug dealer never arrived.

After initially blaming McMullen’s killing on two drug dealers, Brunsvold told investigators that McMullen asked to borrow his shotgun to shoot a rabbit in the woods, and while McMullen was armed, he accused Brunsvold of “having an affair with his estranged wife,” according to a sworn affidavit by a state trooper who investigated the killing.

Brunsvold said he punched McMullen in the face before taking the shotgun and shooting the man in the head, the affidavit said.