12th Court of Appeals denies appeal for man involved in stabbing at Lufkin Lanes

Brian Kelley (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Brian Kelley (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Texas' 12th Court of Appeals has denied an appeal by Brian Kelly, who pleaded guilty to a felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge for stabbing a man in the neck during a racially charged brawl at Lufkin Lanes in April 2012.

"We have reviewed the record for reversible error and have found none," the court's ruling stated.

On Aug. 19, 2013, Kelley, 27, of Groveton, appeared in Judge Barry Bryan's 217th Judicial District Court for a sentencing hearing and was sentenced to 16 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge in April 2013, and was originally scheduled to be sentenced on July 29, 2013, following a pre-sentencing investigation.

However, Kelley was a no-show, and Bryan issued an arrest warrant for him. When Kelley took the stand in his own defense on Aug. 19, 2013, he claimed that he didn't show up for the initial sentencing hearing because he didn't have transportation.

Elmer Beckworth, an assistant district attorney with Angelina County, said as part of the conditions of Kelley's plea bargain agreement, Kelley wasn't allowed to appeal his guilt or innocence. However, Kelley did have the right to appeal his sentence, Beckworth said.

According to the background information provided with the ruling, the victim, William Chunn, was shooting pool at the Lufkin Lanes bowling alley with his wife and two friends. At the same time, Kelley was also at the bowling alley with several family members.

Kelley and his family members consumed "large amounts" of alcohol, the ruling stated. Later in the evening, Kelley went outside to the parking lot and got into a heated argument with his ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend.

During the argument, Kelley made a racial slur that was overheard by one of the victim's friends, who had gone outside to smoke. Chunn's friend went back inside and mentioned the problem to the other members of his party, the ruling stated.

When Chunn and his group went out to their cars, they found that Kelley and his family members were still there. According to Chunn, Kelley's mother started an altercation with Chunn's wife. Then Chunn put himself between the two women in an effort to keep things from escalating even further, and Kelley stabbed him in the throat with a knife, the ruling stated.

At that point, one of Chunn's friends, "an armed concealed handgun license holder," drew his hand gun, the ruling stated. Kelley fled the scene, and Chunn, who suffered serious injuries, was airlifted to a Houston hospital after he was taken to Woodland Heights Medical Center.

According to the police report, officers were dispatched to a disturbance involving a stabbing in the 900 block of South Chestnut Street around midnight, Saturday, April 21, 2012. While en route to the scene, officers were advised that possible gunshots had been fired. When they arrived on the scene, officers were told the suspects had just left the scene. The vehicle described to officers was located by another responding officer just a short distance away, and it was stopped.

Officers with the Live Oak Police Department arrested Kelley on May 1, 2012, and charged him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

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