TYLER (KYTX) -- An assault charge was dropped against Kelly Gage Monday and replaced with a new indictment accusing the man of murdering his wife.
Patti McHugh was badly beaten on Thanksgiving of 2011. She was hospitalized for a short time before dying due to the injuries she sustained in the beating, investigators said.
Gage was jailed once in connection with the incident. Charges were later dropped but he was indicted again earlier this year, accused of hurting McHugh but not having caused we death.
Prosecutors did not elaborate Monday on what changed in the case to allow for a murder indictment. District Attorney Matt Bingham simply noted that his office had the right to present any case to a grand jury at any time within the applicable statute of limitations.
Bingham did not describe what new evidence may have led to a murder indictment. Several years ago he told CBS 19 the evidence just wasn't there.
"We're not going to take this case down to a grand jury and present the case to a grand jury when our own experts, specifically the pathologists, say that this could just as likely have been an accidental fall as an intentional act," Bingham said in 2012.
At that point gage had been released from the Smith County Jail. Investigators failed to make a case against him in the required 90-day window following his arrest. Bingham said it came down to blood evidence that was inconclusive.
"It's going to require a review form a completely different perspective of photographs and physical evidence," defense attorney Kurt Noell said.
Noell argued the trial--fast approaching--would have to wait for new experts to be hired and for evidence re-tested.
"Our family has full confidence in the DA's office to bring the appropriate charges that will hold Kelly accountable for his actions," a McHugh family spokesperson said. "We look forward to this case going to court and reaching a resolution."
Gage was convicted in 2010 of beating McHugh in a small town in Washington state. He also has two previous felony convictions.
Gage faces up to life in prison if convicted of McHugh's murder.