CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - ?
After Texas' 12th Court of Appeals upheld a Houston County jury's decision to convict a 76-year-old Grapeland man for pointing a semi-automatic handgun at two deputies that tried to stop him from burning during a burn ban, he was arrested again on three new felony warrants on Tuesday.
Ross Cleveland Richardson is still being held in the Houston County Jail on three felony charges assault of a public servant, retaliation, and injury to the elderly. Collectively, his bail has set at $2.25 million.
G.P. Shearer, the chief deputy for the Houston County Sheriff's Office, said that Richardson was taken into custody at his home in the 5000 block of US 287.
Because the HCSO had received information that Richardson wouldn't surrender peacefully and his past history, they served the three felony arrest warrants with a "heavy law enforcement presence" that included the Crockett Police Department, the Houston County Sheriff's Office, Texas Rangers, and a SWAT team from Walker County. Shearer said Richardson was taken into custody without incident.
"He has been out on bond during the appeal process, and a mandate will be issued by the court for Richardson to be picked up and taken to TDCJ to serve is time," Unfortunately, Richardson has committed new crimes before the mandate could be issued."
East Texas News obtained the arrest affidavits for the three felony charges, which stemmed from an incident which allegedly occurred on Aug. 10. According to the affidavit, a Crockett Police officer was dispatched to the Good Shepherd Fellowship Church on 7th Street.
When the officer arrived on the scene, he talked to one of the church members, Kennon Kellum. Kellum, a Houston County commissioner, said that Richardson had been sitting directly behind him in church that morning. Kellum told the officer that the church members started singing "Happy Birthday" for members of the church that had birthdays in the previous week.
After they sang "Happy Birthday," Richardson allegedly stood to address the church. According to the affidavit Richardson said that he wasn't going to be able to celebrate his birthday on Aug. 22 because he was going to be in jail.
After Richardson made his announcement, he allegedly began to push Kellum's head, neck, shoulders, and back, saying that it was "this person's fault that I'm going to jail." The affidavit said Richardson continued to push the man's head and shoulders as he spoke.
Kellum told the Crockett PD officer that Richardson blamed him for putting a burn ban in place in December 2010 that resulted in HCSO deputies confronting him about illegal burning that he was doing at his home.
According to the affidavit, Kellum told the officer that he did not trust Richardson and that he felt threatened by him. He also said he felt pain when Richardson pushed his head and neck area.
After the alleged assault, the church's leadership contacted Crockett Police Department to report that Richardson was on scene and causing issues. The affidavit stated that Richardson left the scene before the police got threre.
According to the ruling from the 12th Court of Appeals earlier this month, a Houston County jury convicted Richardson on the aggravated assault of a public servant charge and sentenced him to five years in prison.
Evidence presented at Richardson's trial showed that on Dec. 31, 2010, Richardson was burning leaves at his home during a burn ban. After someone reported the violation, a deputy fire marshal went to Richardson's home and asked him to put the fire out.
Richardson refused to do so, and the deputy fire marshal left because he saw that Richardson was holding a gun. After he called dispatch, two HCSO deputies arrived on the scene to investigate.
The court's ruling stated that the situation quickly escalated into a standoff. At one point, Richardson pointed a semi-automatic handgun at a deputy's face. The deputies drew their weapons, and they took Richardson into custody after he lowered his gun.
In his appeal, Richardson's attorneys argued that he acted in self defense because he thought the deputies were using unlawful force.
"Considering all the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, the jury was rationally justified in finding beyond a reasonable doubt that Appellant did not reasonably believe drawing his gun was immediately necessary to protect him from the deputies," the opinion stated.