The cases of a man and woman accused in the November gunpoint robbery of Ellis Pottery in Texarkana, Texas, have been referred to the Bowie County grand jury for possible indictment.
Brandon Lee Staggs, 25, and Toni Jo Works, 37, were arrested Nov. 25 by members of the Texarkana, Texas, Police Department after two Ellis Pottery employees managed to thwart an armed robbery shortly after the store’s 8 p.m. closing time. According to a probable cause affidavit, the two employees were sitting in a manager’s office when Staggs entered through an unlocked door in the rear of the store.
The men in the office reported they locked the door to the office when they saw a man armed with a white cloth on his face and a shotgun in his hands heading toward the door but Staggs used the butt of the shotgun to break it open. One of the men, who has a permit to carry a handgun, was able to grab his pistol before Staggs broke into the office but was not able to get a bullet chambered in time.
As the men gave Staggs some money and distracted him by telling him there was more cash in a safe in the front of the store, the men began struggling over the shotgun. During the struggle, one of the Ellis Pottery employees discharged two rounds from the pistol but nobody was hit.
When police arrived they found the shotgun lying in a store aisle and Staggs still struggling with one of the employees. Staggs allegedly had “an overwhelming odor of alcoholic beverage emitting from his person” when taken into custody, according to the affidavit. Staggs allegedly told officers his girlfriend was outside waiting for him.
Works was taken into custody without incident. Works allegedly told police she didn’t believe Staggs would actually go through with the robbery.
Works appeared Monday for a pre-indictment hearing before 5th District Judge Bill Miller. At the hearing, Miller determined the case should be referred to the grand jury. Staggs appeared before Miller for a pre-indictment hearing in December. His case has been referred to the grand jury also. The grand jury is scheduled to meet later this month.
Felony cases in Bowie County which cannot be resolved without a plea bargain in the first few court settings are typically referred to the grand jury for indictment. If the cases are indicted, they will be scheduled for trial. Both are being held in the Bowie County jail with bail set at $100,000 each.
Aggravated robbery is punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison.