Grand jury indicts man accused of burning house, shooting deputies

Submitted photo by Roseanna McAlexander

A DeKalb, Texas, man accused of shooting two deputies and firing at a third after setting fire to his own home in September has been indicted by a Bowie County grand jury.

Bryan Lee Batchelor, 49, was formally charged by the grand jury earlier this month with three counts of aggravated assault against a public servant and one count of evading arrest or detention with a vehicle. The aggravated assault charges are each punishable by five to 99 years or life. Evading arrest in a vehicle is punishable by two to 10 years.

Batchelor’s case is assigned to 202nd District Judge John Tidwell. At a pre-indictment hearing in October, Tidwell agreed to order a mental evaluation for Batchelor at the request of the Bowie County Public Defenders Office and with agreement from the Bowie County District Attorneys Office. Tidwell is scheduled to appear in court next month. If he is found competent by mental health experts, the case could be set for trial. If he is deemed incompetent, the case could remain on hold while Batchelor receives treatment for mental health issues.

Bowie County deputies were called to a 4640 Farm to Market Road 44 East shortly after midnight Sept. 17, according to a probable cause affidavit. Batchelor was allegedly threatening members of the DeKalb Volunteer Fire Dept. with a “long gun” when they responded to a call regarding a burning house. The person who reported the fire told 911 operators that Batchelor had talked recently of burning the house down and of an alleged desire to harm law enforcement.

When deputies arrived, Batchelor allegedly drove his truck into a nearby pasture. Batchelor allegedly wounded two deputies with gunfire and a third by ramming his pickup into his patrol car, disabling it. In all, Batchelor is credited with rendering three patrol cars inoperable and sending three deputies to local hospitals. None of the deputy’s injuries were life threatening. Batchelor was shot by deputies and treated for non-life threatening injuries for several days at a Texarkana hospital. He is now being held in the Bowie County jail. According to court records, Batchelor’s wife filed for divorce about a month before the house fire brought firefighters and law enforcement to his property.

Batchelor’s bail is currently set at more than $3 million. He is scheduled to appear in court next month.

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