2 Receive Maximum Sentences
VICTORIA, Texas - Victoria Country Criminal District Attorney Steve Tyler announced that three Victoria County juries returned guilty verdicts in three driving while intoxicated trials this week with two defendants receiving the maximum available punishment.
"This week 24 Victoria County citizens serving on three juries spoke with one voice sending a strong message by holding three defendants to account for endangering the lives of all the residents of this county by drinking and driving," Tyler said.
On Monday, October 19th, a Victoria County jury found Randall Lee Pickett, who was at the time of this arrest on probation for possession of a controlled substance, guilty of Driving While Intoxicated. Despite a breath test refusal, testimony of the Department of Public Safety, Trooper, J. Collins, and video evidence proved Mr. Pickett was intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle. The Trooper did not pursue a blood draw due to the extreme intoxication, and the video evidence.
Assistant Criminal District Attorney Michael White prosecuted the charge. "This case was particularly disturbing because the Defendant was already on probation, and had a sober person in the car that could have safely driven them home." The Defendant has chosen to have the Judge assess punishment and is scheduled for a hearing November 10, after the Adult Probation Department completes the presentence investigation. There will also be a hearing to revoke his probation for committing the DWI while currently on probation.
In the felony case, the jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes finding that 39-year-old Joe Henry Garcia of Sinton, TX, had a blood alcohol concentration of .13 and two prior convictions for driving while intoxicated. In that case, District Judge Eli Garza sentenced Garcia to 10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice after hearing testimony that Garcia was arrested for the DWI only six weeks after being placed on deferred adjudication for the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in San Patricio County.
"In regards to Joe Henry Garcia, we were able to kill two birds with one stone because the crime of DWI doesn't occur in a vacuum," Tyler said. "The fact that this child rapist decided to drink and drive at almost twice the legal limit only six weeks after being placed on probation illustrates why it is so important that the citizens of this county care about the outcome of these DWI case - it's not always just a DWI."
In a misdemeanor case against John "Shag" Lee, another Victoria County jury found Lee guilty of DWI after hearing evidence that Lee hit another car at the intersection of Navarro and Zac Lentz Parkway, injuring the driver of the other vehicle. In that case, the jury declined to give Lee probation and sentenced him to 180 days in the Victoria County jail and fined him $1,800. Lee told County Court-at-Law Judge Dan Gilliam that he would appeal the jury's verdict.
"This case is one of the reasons I have implemented the policy that my office will not engage in plea bargains for those who commit DWI offenses because this is the kind of case folks need to hear," Tyler said. "Mr. Lee could have very easily killed someone driving through one of the busiest intersections in this city and we would instead be talking about a felony intoxication manslaughter case and grieving family instead of a mere 180 days in jail."