A Slain Man’s Family Stood Behind His Widow Until The Shocking End

Keith Gentry’s mother told authorities they were looking at the wrong suspect if they believed her daughter-in-law, Darlene, had anything to do with her son’s death.

Keith Gentry, pictured here in a cowboy hat, was found fatally shot on Nov. 9, 2005.

Keith Gentry’s mother told authorities they were looking at the wrong suspect if they believed her daughter-in-law, Darlene, had anything to do with her son’s death.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Sex & Murder")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Sex & Murder")

The 911 call came in just after 6 a.m. on Nov. 9, 2005. It was Darlene Gentry of Robinson, Texas, calling to report that she’d just found her husband, Keith, face down in their bed in a pool of blood. He was barely breathing, and to her, it appeared that their house had been burglarized — the back door was standing open, and the gun cabinet in the living room had been emptied.

The first officers arrived on the scene within three minutes of the 911 call. The ambulance arrived right behind them and whisked Keith to the hospital.

Darlene told police that she’d been asleep in the room the couple’s three sons shared since about 3:30 that morning when the youngest, only 18 months old, woke up and refused to go back to sleep alone. An exhausted Darlene — who worked as a nurse — climbed into bed with her sons and put a movie on. The next thing she knew, she woke up long enough to check the clock. It was 5:15 a.m. — she had another 30 minutes until she needed to be up.

It was actually 6 a.m. when she finally got out of bed, she told the police, and she realized the back door was open, the guns were missing, and she found Keith clinging to life in their bed.

Authorities, however, had many questions after seeing the scene.

First, there were no signs of forced entry around the backdoor. The frame and latch were intact, meaning the door had simply been open. Second, Keith’s gun cabinet had a glass front. Whoever took the guns had used the key that laid on top of the cabinet, but then they hadn’t actually removed them from the property, instead, the guns were located on the front lawn. The only gun missing, according to Keith’s father, was a 22-caliber revolver.

At the hospital, doctors worked to save Keith as his family and friends waited to hear about his condition. When it became apparent they wouldn’t be able to save him, officers drove Darlene to the hospital so she could say goodbye before he was taken off life support. The doctor who tried to save Keith told officers that he’d been shot by a 22-caliber bullet.

The Sunken Gun

Keith’s family was incredulous when Darlene was arrested and charged with murdering her husband on Nov. 28. Keith’s mother even told authorities that they were looking in the wrong direction if they believed Darlene would have hurt Keith. They were so incensed that they paid her bond and supported her fully as she worked to find a new home for her and her sons.

Darlene was excited when she found a piece of property in the next town over — it had a pond on it, and the boys could learn to fish, she said. She was working on buying the property when she suddenly had a change of heart, telling her realtor that she actually wanted the pond filled in.

The about-face caused the realtor to speak with authorities and they used their dive team to search the pond Darlene had been so excited about. It took them less than an hour before they found a 22-caliber revolver and took it into evidence.

Authorities asked the current property owner to tell Darlene that they would have to drain the pond in order to fill it in. Then, they set up a camera and waited. Darlene, spooked by the idea that cops would find the weapon, returned to the pond and was caught on camera walking directly to the spot where the gun had been found. She searched the area herself for several minutes and eventually left when she couldn’t find the gun.

That footage was the trick up the prosecutor’s sleeve at Darlene’s 2007 trial. Keith’s family, who still believed in Darlene’s innocence, was forced to face reality as they watched the footage of their daughter-in-law going back to retrieve the murder weapon before the pond could be drained.

Darlene was found guilty of Keith’s murder and was sentenced to 60 years in prison. She will be eligible for parole in February 2037.

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