A judge has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for Manslaughter following a fatal shooting in a room at the MCM Elegante Hotel in Beaumont.
Judge Layne Walker sentenced Lance Robert Mueller, 48, Monday morning. He faced a sentence ranging from probation to 20 years in prison.
Relatives of the victim, Greg Fleniken, 55, drove from Baton Rouge to attend Monday's sentencing. Mueller pleaded no contest to manslaughter Tuesday, October 16.
Police who investigated the incident said Mueller fired a gun inside a room the hotel in September 2010. The bullet went through a wall and killed the 55-year-old businessman.
Fleniken's widow told KFDM News following the plea that "people can hit a dog on the side of the road and have more compassion than Mueller had" for her husband.
Mueller and several friends had traveled from Wisconsin to Southeast Texas to work on a refinery expansion.
Beaumont Police say Mueller and his friends were drinking in a room at the Elegante and Mueller was playing around with his 9 millimeter pistol when it fired and a bullet went through the wall and struck Fleniken, who died in his room.
Mueller and his friends didn't tell anyone. They didn't even bother to check to see if anyone was hurt. They instead went to the hotel bar and continued drinking.
It wasn't until the next morning they learned the bullet had struck someone. Police say Mueller still didn't come forward. He used toothpaste to try to hide the bullet hole in the wall.
Mueller and the friends went back home to Wisconsin without telling anyone about the shooting.
Detectives finally put the evidence together and arrested Mueller in June of 2011, about nine months after incident occurred.