Sergio Robles, who killed a Pasadena cop at close range, agreed to a plea deal that will get him a sentence of 40 years in prison.
Prosecutors say questions about whether Robles, 26, was legally insane when he shot Jesse Hamilton in the head during an August 2009 domestic-disturbance call led them to make the deal.
The DA's office put out a statement that said, "The decision to offer Robles a plea bargain was an extremely difficult one." He could have received the death penalty if the case had gone forward.
"The murder of Officer Jesse Hamilton was an unbelievable tragedy," prosecutor Bill Hawkins said. "His family members -- and law enforcement family -- have suffered a tremendous loss. We sincerely hope that with this plea Sergio Robles will spend the remainder of his natural life behind bars."
The DA's office said, "Robles had a documented history of mental illness, including diagnoses of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The initial call to the residence on the offense date requested a crisis intervention unit to deal with the defendant, who was experiencing mental problems."
Hamilton was 29 and the father of two.
The Houston Chronicle reports from the hearing before Judge Kevin Fine:
Chance Hamilton read a letter during the sentencing and quoted his brother's widow, Amy Hamilton: "I hope your life is so miserable that you look forward to death."