TYLER, Texas – A “difficult patient” from Tyler, Texas has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the shooting deaths of two dentists at Affordable Dentures. Steven Alexander Smith entered the guilty plea for capital murder and accepted an automatic sentence of life without parole on Monday, as reported by CBS 19.
The shooting, which took place on March 16, 2022, resulted from a dispute between Smith and the dentists over dentures. Dr. Jack Burroughs Jr., 75, and Dr. Blake Sinclair, 59, were fatally shot by Smith, who became upset after Burroughs informed him that he would no longer be a patient due to the problems he was causing at the clinic, according to CBS 19.
Prosecutors confirmed that they would not seek the death penalty against Smith, who was described as a “difficult patient” and had expressed dissatisfaction with the clinic’s work. A nurse present during the shooting revealed that Smith was always difficult and not happy with the staff’s performance, according to Law & Crime.
Following an altercation at the clinic, Smith left the building but returned shortly after, forcing the door open as Burroughs attempted to lock it. Subsequently, a scuffle ensued with Dr. Sinclair, and Smith pulled out a handgun, shooting the dentists about five times before fleeing the scene, the nurse told investigators.
Smith was later apprehended by a deputy as he arrived home, bringing an end to the harrowing incident. Upon entering his plea, Smith avoided a jury trial that was set to begin, effectively acknowledging his guilt in the tragic deaths of the two dentists over a dispute about dentures.