Bowie County jury gives felon life for weapons charge

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NEW BOSTON, Texas: A Bowie County jury handed down a life sentence Wednesday for a man with a long history of criminal conduct.

Terry Thomas, 56, was convicted Wednesday of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Because of his lengthy history of criminal conduct ranging from multiple drug offenses to robbery, the Bowie County District Attorneys Office was able to enhance the punishment range Thomas faced to 25 to life.

Thomas was not wearing a seatbelt as he drove a white Nissan truck out of a convenience store parking lot in New Boston on the morning of July 12, 2016, according to a probable cause affidavit. A Bowie County Sheriff’s Office deputy attempted to pull the truck over but Thomas continued along Highway 8 past multiple driveways where he could have stopped.

Thomas and one of his two passengers were making movements with their hands that led the officer to believe they were reaching for or trying to conceal something. When the truck did finally stop at a house on Walker Street, the deputy had the truck’s occupants exit one by one as he trained his service weapon on them for his own safety.

Thomas had two .38 caliber bullets in his pocket and a loaded derringer pistol was found in the driver’s side door. Methamphetamine and a pipe used to smoke methamphetamine were discovered under the driver’s seat.

After convicting Thomas and after learning of his status as a habitual offender, the jury handed down a life sentence.

First Assistant District Attorney Michael Shepherd and Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter prosecuted the case. Thomas was represented by the Bowie County Public Defenders Office.

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