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February 7, 2014

Life sentence issued to Smith in sexual assault case

GREENVILLE — A Hunt County man has been sentenced to life in prison, after pleading guilty to committing the sexual assault of an employee of a downtown Quinlan business.

A jury in the 196th District Court Thursday also sentenced Jamey Justin Smith, 19, of Quinlan to 30 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional Division for the armed robbery of the business in January of last year and assessed a $10,000 fine in each case, according to Hunt County District Attorney Noble D. Walker Jr.

“We are extremely grateful the jury assessed a life sentence and significant penitentiary time in these cases,” Walker said. “This was a particularly heinous offense and the sentences were more than justified. We’re also very pleased that the victim in this case was able to see the defendant forced to take responsibility for his crime. This victim showed real courage by facing the defendant in open court and testifying.”

Smith entered guilty pleas Dec. 18, 2013 to one count each of aggravated robbery and aggravated sexual assault. Judge Steve Tittle accepted the pleas and scheduled a punishment hearing before a jury. The jury was seated Monday, heard testimony Tuesday and Wednesday and returned with the punishment Thursday

“My First Assistant, Keli Aiken did an outstanding job in presenting this case to the jury,” Walker said. “Likewise, Roger Seals of the Hunt County Sheriff’s Department, and Chief Johnny Thornberg and Officer Rob Maynor with the Quinlan Police Department were instrumental in getting this defendant identified quickly and putting together a very strong case.”

Both the aggravated robbery and aggravated sexual assault charges are first degree felonies, each punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from five to 99 years to life in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.

Smith was charged in connection with a robbery at gunpoint of an antique store on Main Street in Quinlan on the morning of Jan. 18, 2013. An employee of the business also indicated she was sexually assaulted by Smith during the incident and that Smith threatened her life.

Quinlan Police Department officers later took Smith into custody during a traffic stop, after another occupant of the vehicle said Smith had told him he had committed the crimes and had thrown the handgun into a nearby ditch. The weapon  used in the robbery was also recovered.

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