By BRAD STUTZMAN
BELTON - In the end, understanding the evidence was probably easier than making sense of all the dysfunction.
In the end, the teenage daughter Terry Knight tried to keep in Temple ended up in Cop peras Cove, after all.
A Bell County jury deliberated less than 40 minutes Wednesday, before finding Donald Alan Fair, 27, guilty of murder in the Nov. 1, 2004, stabbing death of former Grand Funk Railroad manager Richard Terrance "Terry" Knight, 61.
Fair now faces five years to life in prison.
After announcing the jury's verdict, 27th District Court Judge Joe Carroll ordered a presentence investigation report from the county's adult probation department and scheduled sentencing for May 26.
Before the start of the three-day trial, defense attorney Jim Hewitt of Belton said he and his client had decided to go to the judge, instead of the jury, for punishment if Fair was convicted.
Although "voluntary intoxication," as it is called, is not a defense in Texas, Hewitt told jurors during his closing argument Wednesday morning there was "strong evidence" Fair was high on methamphetamine when he stabbed Knight 17 times the night of Nov. 1.
Fair killed Knight inside Knight's two-bedroom home at Chappel Hill Apartments, a gated complex at 3009 Ira Young Drive, Temple.
Fair was the boyfriend of Knight's 17-year-old daughter, Danielle Knight.
The three of them had lived at Chappel Hill Apartments since October 2003, after living together for a time in Yuma, Ariz.
According to testimony, on the night of the murder Fair and Danielle Knight were arguing about methamphetamine.
Fair reportedly started manhandling Miss Knight and her father intervened, pushing Fair and punching him in the face. Fair then overpowered Terry Knight, taking him to the floor and then stabbing him 17 times with a hunting knife.
According to autopsy testimony from a medical examiner, Fair stabbed Knight in the heart, lungs, kidney, spleen, abdomen and elsewhere on his torso.
Miss Knight ran to the apartment of an upstairs neighbor, who called 911.
Temple police arrested Fair outside the apartment and found the 6-inch knife in one of his pockets.
A DNA expert from the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory in Waco testified Knight's blood was found on the blade of the knife.
On Wednesday, Assistant Bell County District Attorney Cindy Franklin reminded the six-man, six-woman jury of the testimony they had heard Monday and Tuesday.
Knight - suffering from diabetes and liver ailments - had not worked in years. He supported the household - first in Arizona and then in Temple - with royalties he continued to receive from his days as manager for the original version of the Michigan-based rock band, Grand Funk Railroad.
Ms. Franklin reminded jurors of how, after the murder, Temple police photographed bruises on one of Miss Knight's arms.
Terry Knight was trying to protect his daughter, Ms. Franklin said, but he was no match for Fair.
"Terry didn't have a chance," she told the jury. "He was older. He was sick. He hardly ever left the house. This man (Fair) was young and strong and he had a big knife. Terry didn't have a chance."
According to testimony, Fair and Miss Knight began their relationship in Yuma, when Miss Knight was about 14 or 15.
Fair had worked at a Wendy's restaurant, Miss Knight testified, and then her father found him a job at a car wash.
While in Yuma, Fair moved in with Miss Knight and her father and did not work after that, Miss Knight said.
Miss Knight's mother - Terry Knight's former wife - had also lived in Yuma.
Miss Knight, an only child, said her parents divorced when she was a little girl.
After Miss Knight's mother moved to Copperas Cove, Miss Knight convinced her father to move the family to Central Texas, so she could be closer to her mother.
They settled in Temple, so Terry Knight could be close to medical facilities.
Fair - now a part of the household - joined in the move to Temple.
Terry Knight continued to support Fair.
"He let him drive his car," Ms. Franklin said. "He gave him money. He gave him access to his ATM card."
Miss Knight testified that both she and Fair were methamphetamine users.
"She has a boyfriend 10 years older than her," Ms. Franklin told jurors. "She used her dad's money to buy drugs for herself and her boyfriend. Not very nice. She plays her parents against each other, very obvious ... she had plenty of issues. None of them matter in this case."
Ms. Franklin said Terry Knight loved his daughter and did not want her to move in with her mother. So Danielle Knight and Donald Fair did pretty much whatever they wanted.
"The monkeys were running the zoo," Ms. Franklin told jurors. "You could say Terry was wrong, to let a 25-year-old man move in with his 15-year-old daughter. That was wrong.
"Terry was a patsy," Ms. Franklin said. "I don't know any other way to put it, God bless his soul. He did what he did, to keep his daughter with him, because he didn't want to be lonely."
Miss Knight testified that she now lives in Copperas Cove.
Fair - who did not testify in his own defense - hung his head after Carroll read the jury's verdict.
Court bailiffs took Fair back to county jail, where he has been since his Nov. 2 arrest.
"Donald, I love you," Fair's mother called after him.
Fair - with his head down and his hands shackled in front of him - kept walking.