NEW BOSTON, Texas–An inmate at the Barry Telford Unit was found guilty by a Bowie County jury Wednesday of throwing feces on a correctional officer last year.
It took fewer than 10 minutes for the jury to return the guilty verdict for Alonzo Gilbert Guerrero Jr., 25, after hearing several hours of testimony Wednesday afternoon. Correctional Officer Rebecca Smith testified that the assault nearly led her to quit her job.
“It soaked me almost from head to toe. It was like he had been saving the stuff for days,” Smith testified under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp. “I really don’t know how to describe it to you. It kind of took away my dignity.”
A video of the hallway outside Guerrero’s cell in administrative segregation was played for the jury while Texas Department of Criminal Justice Office of Inspector General Investigator Michael Horn testified. As Smith approaches cell 77 in building 12 and glances into the window, a substance spews out and drenches Smith’s hair, coats her face and stains her clothing.
Telford Sgt. Kirk Brigance testified that he happened upon Smith immediately after the assault and escorted her to a medical station. Brigance said Smith was understandably upset and that she was covered in a foul smelling liquid.
Smith said that although she changed her shirt and nurses helped her wash some of the substance from her hair, she removed her pants, socks and shoes in the parking lot before driving home to shower. Smith said Telford medical staff drew her blood to test for diseases and that she has to undergo periodic blood testing for a year as a precaution.
Horn testified that he sent Smith’s shirt to the Texas Department of State Health Services for testing. State Health Services Chemist Mark Duncan testified that the substance on the shirt was positive for mammallian feces, under direct questioning by Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards.
Telford Warden Garth Parker testified that Guerrero was being held in administrative segregation. Parker said inmates determine their “custody status” by “their own actions.”
Under questioning by Guerrero’s defense attorney, Jeff Harrelson of Texarkana, Parker said administrative segregation inmates are kept in their cells 23 hours daily and are allowed an hour of recreation by themselves in a secure area. Parker said inmates in general population eat with other inmates, are not restrained when they leave their cells and can attend classes.
The offense Guerrero was found guilty of Wednesday is punishable by two to 10 years in prison. Because of his prior criminal record, prosecutors have filed an enhancement notice in Guerrero’s case upping the range to 25 to 99 years or life.
The jury was told by 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart to return to court Thursday morning to hear testimony in the punishment phase of trial. According to Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Guerrero is currently serving a four-year term for arson he received in Victoria County, Texas, in 2016. TDCJ’s website shows two prior convictions for burglary also.