Man sentenced to 33 years in Harris County cold case

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015
William Porter
William Porter

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A man is now behind bars, convicted in a 30-year-old cold case murder.

William Porter is sentenced to 33 years in prison for the murder of Gerald Oncale Jr.

Oncale was 30 years old at the time of his death.

Harris County Sheriff's investigators decided to look into the cold case in April 2013. The follow-up investigation, they say, revealed additional details and more witnesses.

Investigators say they learned Porter invited Oncale to his home and then began to demand payment on a past debt. Authorities say Porter pointed a gun at Oncale as Oncale was seated on a couch. As Oncale began to stand Porter shot him once in the chest. Oncale died at the scene.

Authorities say Porter stayed at the murder scene, perhaps for more than an hour, and staged the crime scene to give the appearance that Oncale had broken into the home and was killed in the course of a burglary.

Investigators say they were able to show that the scene had been staged and physical evidence had been removed from the scene by Porter's attorney, Marshall Shelsy. Harris County investigators say Shelsy lied to investigators and later to a Harris County grand jury before confessing that he tampered with the crime scene to protect his client.

Harris County authorities say Shelsy was later employed by Harris County, where he would become a legal adviser for the county criminal court judges. After his testimony last week, he promptly resigned his position, according to HCSO.

Investigators say Porter has a lengthy criminal history that spans Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Illinois and Missouri. His arrest and convictions included thefts, narcotic possessions, unlawful use of weapons, DWI, homicide, obstruction of justice, assaults, burglary, auto theft, receiving stolen property and resisting arrest.