Bowie County District Judge Bobby Lockhart found a Texarkana man guilty of burglary of a habitation Tuesday after hearing from witnesses in a bench trial.
Benjamin Groom of Nash, Texas testified he left his garage door up when he returned to his home on Pecan Valley Circle because he planned to leave again a short time later. Groom said he heard a noise, went out his front door and took a few steps when he saw Aldridge walking out of his garage.
“I’m 125 percent sure he was in my garage,” Groom testified.
Groom said he noticed the dome light in his truck was on and that papers he stored in the console were strewn about the cab. Groom testified Aldridge claimed he’d been at a neighbor’s house looking for his cousin. Groom said he left Aldridge for a few seconds so he could retrieve an AR-15 rifle from his house which he then pointed at Aldridge, hoping to hold him for police. Groom said Aldridge repeatedly told him his age and claimed he was not there to steal.
Groom’s wife, Dawn Little, testified she went outside when her husband shouted for her to call the police. Little said she is a nurse and ran outside to see if someone was injured.
Groom said Aldridge cussed at him as he walked backward toward a silver Chevy Impala parked in the street in front of the house. Aldridge drove away but area police quickly began looking for the Impala. Aldridge was pulled over in Wake Village that evening, Nash police officer Jake Foster testified. Foster said Aldridge fled on foot after the traffic stop.
In the Impala, officers found a woman’s purse, documents belonging to other people, an iPad, a game system and $305. Nash police detective Michael Sutton testified Aldridge was arrested two days later.
Lockhart found Aldridge guilty of burglary of a habitation Tuesday afternoon. Burglary is a second degree felony with a punishment range of two to 20 years in prison. Aldridge’s indictment includes a notice that the state is seeking to enhance Aldridge’s punishment range to that for a first degree felony, five to 99 years or life, because of Aldridge’s prior criminal history.
Lockhart scheduled a punishment stage of trial for Thursday at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston, Texas.