Man sentenced to life for killing 80-year-old grandmother

A Washington County circuit court judge has sentenced a man to life in prison for beating and strangling his 80-year-old grandmother.

Judge Richard Smith issued the sentence to Erestia Russell Thomas Junior in the murder of Pearlie Thomas.

The judge said he gave Thomas the sentence was because he's a habitual offender based on a lengthy and violent criminal record.

His previous convictions include an aggravated assault charge in 1992 and another conviction for shooting into an occupied dwelling the same year.

A jury convicted Thomas of the brutal murder after deliberating about two hours on October 12th. The victim was found dead in her home in 2005.

The verdict came at the end of a disturbing weeklong trial during which a hammer was admitted as evidence.

State pathologist Dr. Steven Hayne, who performed the autopsy, said Pearlie Thomas died as a result of blunt-force trauma and manual strangulation.