Man pleads not guilty to holding gun to toddler’s head, robbing mom

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A man accused of holding a gun to a 2-year-old’s head after pistol whipping his mother as they entered their Texarkana, Texas, apartment in June pleaded not guilty to aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping at a hearing Thursday in Bowie County.

Xavier Lavar French, 19, appeared before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell for arraignment and entered pleas of not guilty with the help of a public defender. Tidwell scheduled the case for a pretrial hearing in September.

French is accused of attacking a woman as she was returning home from a late work shift June 29, according to a probable cause affidavit. The mother told Texarkana, Texas, police that she was getting out her keys when she was pistol whipped from behind in front of her apartment door in the 600 block of Champion Place.

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The woman reported that she fell to the ground after being struck in the head. Her attacker allegedly pulled her up by her hair and continued to hit her with a gun as he demanded she open her apartment door. The woman said her assailant grabbed her young son, held him to his hip and pointed a gun to the child’s head while threatening to kill him.

The woman said that she went to her bathroom where she kept a bag with cash. Unable to find the bag in the dark, the woman turned on the light. The woman reported that she threw the bag behind her and threw herself into the bathtub. While moving into the tub, the woman caught sight of the man behind her and recognized him as someone she knows as, “X.”

Officers prepared a photo lineup including French and the woman allegedly selected him as the person who assaulted her and threatened her child.

French was arrested July 1 for aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. Both crimes are punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison.

French is currently being held in the Bowie County jail with bail set at $200,000.

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