February 20, 2015 | A Bowie County jury gave Richard Darby III a total sentence of 45 years of confinement and $10,000 fine.
The jury deliberated for two hours before 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart read the sentence.
Darby plead guilty to each of the five felonies prior to trial and the jury was only asked to judge punishment.
Darby received the following sentences for each of the five felonies that Darby plead guilty:
Theft Over $1,500 but less than $20,000: 2 years with a fine of $10,000
Dollar General Robbery: 45 years with a fine of $10,000
Pasco Convenient Store Robbery: 45 years with a fine of $10,000
Robbery of an Elderly Person: 45 years with a fine of $10,000
Evading by Vehicle: 10 years with a fine of $10,000
The sentences will run concurrently, meaning that each sentence will begin on the same day and will be served at the same time – meaning Darby will serve a maximum sentence of 45 years for all of the convictions. Darby is eligible for parole in 22.5 years. He does not have the right to appeal the guilty plea, but he does have the right appeal the punishment. Darby will get credit for time served in jail before trial, which was close to one year.
The day started with Judge Lockhart allowing the voice recording of the alleged escape plans discussed between Darby and his father the night prio 0.
Samantha Oglesby called Nash Police Lieutenant Keith Chesnut, who testified that the voice recording contained Darby and his father’s voice.
Bowie County Chief Deputy Jeff Neal answered questions from Oglesby, testifying that the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office is entrusted with running the Bi-State jail where the voice recording took place. The voice recording was played for the jury. “He sounds like he wants to get out of jail,” stated Neal.
Public Defender Will Williams asked Neal to help determine whether he heard three different phrases in the background, which could suggest that Darby was trying to tell his father that he was joking—“I am just pl…I am just… I wo…”
Williams then gets Richard to stand up in the middle of the courtroom and remove his pant leg to reveal a brace. Neal explained the purpose of the brace, “It helps to keep him from escaping. It locks up. It is intended to slow people down.” Several members of the jury in the back row stood up to see the brace.
“The brace locks up when the leg is straightened,” stated the next witness, Transport Deputy Bruce Roseberry of the Bowie County Sheriff’s Department.
“I have been [transporting him the] whole trial … He has not given me any problems. He has not tried to escape. He has worn the brace everyday,” stated Roseberry.
Closing arguments then began. The State of Texas is allowed to go first and last.
Oglesby led by stating that Darby is not remorseful and walked the jury through each of the offenses, including the alleged sexual assault. Olgesby asked the jury to give a sentence of 60 years.
Public Defenders Chad Crowl and Will Williams split their time on closing.
Williams’s closing was primarily about Darby not being involved in the sexual assault. “They are wanting you to make a decision on something they can’t prove. Let a jury on sexual assault find any guilt/innocence on the sexual assault, but not here,” stated Williams.
Crowl focused primarily on the five felonies. “We are not asking for mercy—we are asking for justice. We are asking you to give Richard Darby 10 years … I am asking you for community supervision,” stated Crowl.
“It was only two weeks in the life of a 17 year old … The fallacy that [Darby] is a cold and calculating criminal is not in the evidence. These crimes are perpetrated by a person that wanted to get high…that is not the sloppy work of a cold hearted criminal. Two of the three robberies occurred during the daylight. He was recognized by witnesses…I don’t know what more a man can do than to get up there on the witness stand and say to the witnesses, ‘I am sorry’” stated Crowl.
“We are asking for a fair and true verdict and we will stand by it,” stated Crowl.
The State had the opportunity to make part of its closing arguments last.
“In Bowie County, we do not give probation to people who put guns in people’s faces … Send a message that this is what we do for the witness. Give Darby what he earned,” stated Bowie County Prosecutor Kelley Crisp.
Public Defenders Will Williams and Chad Crowl represented Darby. Kelley Crisp and Samantha Oglesby represented the State of Texas.