By Jena Johnson - email
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Authorities are beefing up security at the Angelina County Courthouse, in advance of a major trial next week.
On Monday, an alleged member of the Aryan Brotherhood will stand trial accused of taking part in a 2009 car chase and kidnapping.
It's a notorious gang known for evoking terror on a national scale. Now, that fear is seeping into the Angelina Courthouse.
"Some of the actors are associated with a gang so that always makes people more apprehensive," said Cpt. James Galloway, Angelina Co. Sheriff's Office.
An alleged member of the Aryan Brotherhood's aggravated assault trial begins Monday. It's suspected many gang members will be right there with Christopher Guffey, rallying support.
"We have been advised by people at the courthouse and other places that they were concerned so the sheriff has decided to be sure we have extra security," said Galloway.
Galloway won't disclose exact security measures, but did say more deputies will be on hand. Guffey's attorney says he's unaware of any safety or security concerns. He released this statement Thursday:
"I believe that if security is being increased, then it is an overreaction. I have been representing Mr. Guffey for eight months and have never had any concerns,"
"He deals with the man. The man poses no threat to him in any shape, form or fashion because he's his attorney. I'm sure he probably would be safe," said Galloway.
Since the courthouse lacks metal detectors, the sheriff's office is working on a plan to prevent people from carrying in weapons.
"We're going to put on the extra security to make sure the public feels safe when they enter that building and when they leave it and that's the only purpose we're there. Will there be an incident? Obviously we hope not," said Galloway.
Authorities say these measures will help keep the focus on justice, not fear.
Guffey is charged with aggravated kidnapping. He was arrested with five others in June after a car chase in Angelina County.