Man pleads not guilty to threatening witness


A Texarkana man accused of threatening a witness in his brother’s robbery and kidnapping case this year was in court Monday on a charge of obstruction.

Lajonta O’Neal, 25, was indicted for obstruction and retaliation by a Bowie County grand jury earlier this month. O’Neal is the bother of Xavier French, who pistol whipped and robbed a woman while holding a gun to her 2 year old baby’s head in front of their home in summer 2019. French was sentenced in September to 40 years in prison.

O’Neal appeared Monday before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell and entered a plea of not guilty. First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said O’Neal would face a two to 10-year possible sentence normally but that her office is seeking to enhance the range to two to 20 years because O’Neal has a prior felony conviction.

Crisp also noted that Assistant Public Defender Clayton Haas has indicated O’Neal wants his case tried to a jury and is not seeking a plea deal. Crisp said the trial should take about one day and Tidwell scheduled the case for Jan. 5 jury selection.

O’Neal allegedly drove by the home of a witness and shouted threats to kill them and allegedly called them repeatedly with threats until the witness changed their phone number.

O’Neal is currently being held in the Bowie County jail. His bond is set at $100,000.

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