Judge hands down 45-year sentence

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NEW BOSTON, Texas: After finding a Texarkana man guilty Thursday of burglary with intent to commit assault, 102nd Bowie County District Judge Bobby Lockhart sentenced him to 45 years in prison.

Reggie Mason Smith, 42, chose to have his case decided by a judge rather than a jury. When trial began Wednesday, Smith refused to enter the courtroom, cursed the judge and had to be placed in a restraint chair and wheeled into court by sheriff’s deputies.

Smith’s repeated verbal outbursts led to his removal from the courtroom for most of the day Wednesday. Witnesses testified that Smith was convinced Roger and Brenda Cox, close friends of his parents, had somehow wronged him when he went to their home on Myrtle Springs Road on Jan. 1, 2015.

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Smith kicked in the back door of the Cox’s home, setting off the alarm, while the family was not at home at about 3 p.m. After receiving a call from Smith’s mother, Brenda Cox called police. When deputies arrived, they found Smith in the back yard where he threatened them with a pocket knife.

The case was stalled in the court system because of concern about Smith’s competency. He was evaluated by several psychologists and spent several months in a mental hospital after his arrest.

During Smith’s bench trial, two psychologists testified about Smith’s mental state. Thursday, Dr. Randall Price testified that Smith’s erratic behavior is likely due to his past abuse of methamphetamine and not a psychotic illness like schizophrenia.

Assistant District Attorneys Kelley Crisp and Lauren Richards elicited testimony concerning Smith’s prior use of methamphetamine and cocaine. Crisp said Wednesday that Smith’s lack of cooperation, foul language and claims that the FBI was setting him up were nothing more than an attempt by Smith to make himself appear mentally ill and “prosecution proof.”

Lockhart found Smith was competent and sane at the time of the offense and found him guilty. After hearing testimony about Smith’s criminal history, Lockhart sentenced Smith to 45 years in prison.

Smith was convicted of murder and sentenced to seven years in prison by a jury in 2006. Smith has prior convictions for evading arrest, possession of brass knuckles, driving while intoxicated, assault, forgery and interfering with an emergency call.

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