By Valerie Wigglesworth, The Dallas Morning News (TNS)
A double-murder conviction for 86-year-old Paul Tanner Sr. — found guilty of killing his own son and grandson — may have put a tragic exclamation point on the sad trials of a once-thriving north Texas family.
A frail-looking Tanner sat slumped in his wheelchair, bowing his head slightly as the guilty verdicts were read Tuesday after nearly seven hours of jury deliberation. The punishment phase of the trial took just minutes before District Judge Ray Wheless imposed a life sentence for the violent slayings.
Prosecutors said the former millionaire shot 59-year-old Paul Alexander Tanner Jr., who was also known as Alex, and 23-year-old Ryan Dawson Tanner because he was going broke and didn’t want them to live in poverty. Their decomposed bodies were found May 17, 2013, in a home the three men shared in the small town of Fairview, on the outskirts of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.
Paul Tanner Sr. was a businessman who worked 18-hour days in ventures that ranged from real estate to a cosmetics line to, most recently, a gold and silver trading company. The family made millions — and lost millions — several times over.
The elder Tanner made headlines in the 1990s with his bid to bring the NFL to Las Vegas by buying the Los Angeles Rams and building the world’s largest stadium for them in Vegas. The deal never came to fruition.