February 18, 2015 | The State presented evidence Wednesday from several witnesses describing the alleged crimes of Richard Darby.
The day started with the State and Defense presenting opening statements. Samantha Oglesby presented the opening statements for the State of Texas, and Chad Crowl presented the opening statements for the Defendant.
The jury was selected solely to determine punishment because Darby plead guilty to the five felonies that the jury will assess his punishment for.
“When a defendant chooses to plead guilty and requests that the jury assess his punishment, there is a generally no question as to whether the defendant committed the charged offenses. The issues relates solely to punishment. If the defendant does not want to accept what the prosecutor has offered, or if the prosecutor makes no offer, then the defendant has a constitutional right to have a jury decide the appropriate punishment. The punishment phase is not limited to the defendant’s criminal history. According to Texas law, the jury can hear about anything the judge deems ‘relevant’ to the defendant’s punishment. This standard is more relaxed than the evidentiary standards in the guilt/innocence phase of trial,” stated Texarkana Defense Lawyer Jason Horton.
In this case, the State of Texas put on evidence of two sexual assaults that occurred while Darby was in Bi-State Justice Center. Darby has not plead guilty to these offenses. The guilt/innocence of this charge or punishment is not being determined during the punishment trial.
“Although the defendant might be pleading guilty to show the jury that he accepts responsibility for his actions, trial courts routinely permit the prosecution to introduce evidence of underlying crimes during the punishment phase to assist the jury in their decision making process,” stated Horton.
After the opening statements, the State called an inmate to bolster the evidence showing extraneous offense that were actions of sexual assault against another inmate while Darby was in the Bi-State Jail.
The State called the building manager at the Bi-State Jail to show that jail surveillance video portrays what it shows and has not been altered.
The State then called the victim of the sexual assault at the Bi-State Jail. The victim stated that he was a victim of two sexual assaults by Darby while he was in Bi-State Jail. “They were hitting me with towels and flip flops. They threw me into the door … inserted the toothbrush,” stated the alleged victim. The alleged victim stated that he was the forced to perform oral sex on another inmate later at the direction of Darby. The victim further stated that four other inmates were involved in the aggravated sexual assaults.
Public Defender Will Williams cross-examined the alleged victim about details about whether the alleged victim exaggerated his claims to get out of jail quicker.
Nash Detective Michael Sutton was called to the stand by the State. Sutton testified to most of the facts contained in the probable cause affidavits in our article yesterday. The State called Sutton to testify because he either was the lead investigator or assisted other police departments. Sutton testified that he was able to get confessions (except for the evading with a vehicle) for the crimes during two different interrogations.
Nash PD Chief Kelly Dial testified about the events that occurred when Darby evaded police after Darby took a 94 woman’s purse on her property in Wake Village. Dial was driving an unmarked vehicle when he responded to the robbery call. He then saw Darby in a vehicle that matched the description of the vehicle stolen from Darby’s father. After Dial spotted Darby, Darby took Dial on a chase where Darby drove through a residential yard. Darby was able to get away during the chase.
Robert Murray of Nash, Texas testified that his fourwheeler was stolen from his house. This theft is the basis for the guilty plea for theft over $1,500 but under $20,000.
Jeannie Goins, a cashier at the Pasco convenient store on New Boston Road, testified that a man entered the store, pointed a gun at her head, and demanded money from the cash register and cigarillos. The jury was then shown a surveillance video of the Pasco store where a man pointed a gun at the cashier. The cashier testified that a man entered the store and had something over his face. “It reminded me of a cloth diaper or a flour sack,” stated the cashier.
The cashier further stated that the person immediately left store after taking the money and cigarillos. “I turned around to watch that he wasn’t coming back. I locked the door, hit the alarm, and then called my manager,” stated the cashier. “The gun was pointed at my face. I just saw the barrel of the gun. I was afraid that he was going to shoot me. I don’t feel comfortable being [at the convenient store] by myself,” stated the cashier.
Chad Crowl and Will Williams represent Darby, the Defendant. Samantha Oglesby and Kelley Crisp represent the State of Texas in this trial.
The State is expected to close its case tomorrow, and the Defense is expect to begin calling witnesses.