Judge gives Telford inmate 45 years for assaulting officer

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NEW BOSTON, Texas: A Barry Telford Unit inmate who knocked a correctional officer unconscious with one blow earlier this year was sentenced to 45 years in prison Wednesday for aggravated assault on a public servant.

Bryan Austin White, 27, was found guilty Tuesday by a jury of three men and nine women in the Jan. 3 assault of Correctional Officer Kevin Squibb. Witnesses testified that White was “out of place” early that morning when he approached Sgt. Jewel Shaw in 8 Building about a work assignment. Shaw testified that he told White to return to 4 Building where he was housed in general population.

After White returned to 4 Building, he approached Squibb about being placed on a work assignment and became upset when Squibb told him he wasn’t on the roster for a work detail. Squibb testified that White’s demeanor led him to call for a supervisor.

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In a video recording without audio played for the jury, White can be seen holding a book and placing his hands behind his back. White drops the book on the floor behind him before squatting and striking Squibb with a closed fist in the side of his head.

Because Squibb made no effort to break his fall after being hit, Investigator Michael Horn of the Office of Inspector General concluded that the punch rendered Squibb, 52, immediately unconscious. As Squibb fell his body struck a support pole or a railing and his head struck the concrete floor. Squibb testified that he suffers from headaches daily since the attack.

Assistant District Attorneys Kelley Crisp and Lauren Richards argued that the jury should convict White of aggravated assault on a public servant while Texarkana defense attorney Jeff Harrelson argued for assault on a public servant. The jury went for the more severe offense, leaving White open to a punishment range of 15 to 99 years or life.

“Our correctional officers have an incredibly difficult job and they do their vital work under exceptionally challenging conditions,” Crisp said. “This defendant has demonstrated that he is unable to control his behavior and his response to authority in this case was a violent assault on Officer Kevin Squibb. The jury’s swift conviction and Judge Lockhart’s sentence of 45 years clearly demonstrate that in Bowie County, we will not tolerate violence against our correctional officers.”

White chose to have 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart decide his punishment. Wednesday morning, Telford Senior Warden Garth Parker testified that White is a confirmed member of the Crips street gang and that he has had 29 disciplinary infractions since being sentenced to prison for aggravated robbery in Kauffman County in 2011.

Lockhart also listened as White stood and turned in the courtroom and apologized to Squibb. In her closing arguments Wednesday, Crisp pointed to several female Telford staff members who had testified during the sentencing hearing Wednesday regarding White’s misconduct while in prison and noted that White did not offer apologies to them.

Lockhart said that the evidence presented Tuesday before the jury had the most influence on his decision to sentence White to a 45-year term.
“Two things caught my attention,” Lockhart said. “The posturing over C.O. Squibb after he hit him.”

After Squibb fell to the floor, White stood over his body with his hands balled into fists. When Squibb did not move, White relaxed and picked up the book he had dropped on the floor and walked down the stairs to a dayroom on the first floor where a number of inmates congregated. In the video recording, White can be seen interacting with other inmates.

“The greetings in the dayroom looked congratulatory to me,” Lockhart said.

Lockhart ordered that White’s 45-year term for assaulting Squibb must run consecutively to the 25-year sentence he was already serving for aggravated robbery.

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