A Miller County jury handed down a 50-year prison sentence for a Houston man who burglarized the Texarkana home of Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson last year.
Lawrence Hubbard, 42, received a 30-year term for residential burglary and a 20-year term for theft of property. The jury fined Hubbard $2,500 on each charge.
Hubbard and several associates broke a back glass door and used a pillow case from the Johnson’s bedroom to carry away jewelry and guns March 21, 2014. Hubbard solicited the help of an old Texarkana girlfriend, Stephanie Parker, 34, to drive them around wealthy neighborhoods in the daytime hours when homeowners would likely be at work.
Judge Johnson’s wife, Deborah Johnson, said the burglars took not only possessions, but irreplaceable memories, when they swiped pieces of jewelry passed down to her by her great-grandmother. Judge Johnson testified that the burglars stole his wife sense of security.
“The thing that I hate, and that I am most angry about, is that my wife has suffered greatly from the loss of her sentimental items. No matter the value of those things, they can’t be replaced,” Judge Johnson testified. “But even over and above that, is that she can’t feel safe in our home.”
Hubbard was arrested as he tried to flee from a house in the 6600 block of North Park Road in Texarkana, Texas. A woman called police from a locked bathroom as Hubbard, Lamarcus Lavigne, 26, and Willie Powell, 35, rifled through her house, unaware she was home. Lavigne and Powell were arrested a short time later at house in the 7000 block of North Park Road.
In an effort to change their appearance, Powell and Lavigne had donned pants and shoes taken from a nearby house. Dry cleaning tags with the homeowner’s name were still stapled to the pants they wore when Texarkana, Texas police took them into custody.
Hubbard made a deal with prosecutors in Bowie County to receive a 14-year sentence for three counts of burglary in June 2014 and agreed to be extradited to Arkansas. What Hubbard didn’t realize was that the burglary in Texarkana, Ark., involved a judge and that Miller County prosecutors would seek to treat him as an habitual offender deserving of a much tougher punishment.
Lavigne and Powell both plead guilty to four counts of burglary in Bowie County in November and received 16-year sentences. Neither man agreed to extradition to face the Arkansas charges and are currently in Texas custody. Both are eligible for parole in December, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s web site.
Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Black and Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Black were critical of how the Texas-side burglaries were handled, in their closing remarks to Hubbard’s Miller County jury.
Warrants for Powell and Lavigne remain active in Miller County.