A Texas man has been convicted of the murder of his parents in a trial where prosecutors used a homophobic “gay is murder” strategy to ostensibly influence the jury, his lawyer has said.

Brandon Dale Woodruff has been convicted of the double homicide of Dennis and Norma Woodruff. The couple was shot and stabbed in the neck inside their mobile home outside Royse City, Texas on October 16, 2005. A family friend found their bodies two days later. Police say there were no visible signs of a forced entry.

Katherine Ferguson, one of Woodruff's defense attorneys, says prosecutors strategically highlighted Woodruff's sexual orientation in an effort to link being gay with murder.

During Ferguson's closing arguments, she told the jury that prosecutors had tried to “equate 'gay' with 'murderer.'”

“They certainly wanted to ram that point down the jury's throat every moment they could,” Ferguson told gay weekly the Dallas Voice.

“They were hoping that this would be a small-town East Texas jury, and they would be so blinded by that issue that they would not sit back and examine the facts of the case. My whole attitude was, I didn't care who he slept with. My concern was, did he murder his parents? And could the state prove it beyond a reasonable doubt? And I don't feel the state did, but obviously the jury disagreed.”

Woodruff, 22, was convicted on March 20 and sentenced to a lifetime behind bars.

Ferguson says prosecutors sought to introduce salacious gay-related details of Woodruff's personal life into the trial to prejudice the jury, including accounts that he once starred in gay adult films and danced at male strip clubs. Defense lawyers managed to keep out those details.

But the judge allowed other details to be introduced, such as reports that Woodruff was on the verge of coming out to his parents and that he partied till 2AM the night his parents died at Station 4, a Dallas gay nightclub.

Woodruff, a 19-year-old Abilene Christian University freshman at the time of the murders, was collared by police eight days after the incident.

Prosecutors allege he killed his parents for money. They contend the youth was desperate for cash, maxed out on credit card debt and despondent over flunking college. Woodruff secretly despised his parents and killed them to gain an insurance settlement, they argued.

Woodruff maintains he's innocent. Defense attorneys argued that cell phone and toll booth records place him too far from the crime scene to have been the murderer.

As he was being escorted by a cordon of deputies out of the courtroom in handcuffs, his grandmother Bonnie Woodruff told him: “I'll always love you. I'll always be there for you.”

“I'm not guilty,” he replied. An appeal has been filed.