SABINE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A Hemphill man accepted a plea bargain deal of 10 years deferred adjudication in connection to a one-vehicle rollover accident in July 2013 that claimed the life of his passenger, John Shannon Cox.
As part of the deal, Robert Hamilton will not be allowed to drink alcohol, and he will have to have an interlock device on his car for the next three years.
"He has to write an annual letter to the victim's niece describing her uncle, who was his best friend, said former Angelina County District Attorney Clyde Herrington, who served as a special prosecutor on the case due to a conflict of interest in the Sabine County DA's office.
As part of the deal, Hamilton pleaded guilty to lesser charges of aggravated assault and driving while intoxicated instead of the original charge, which was intoxicated manslaughter, Herrington said.
Deferred adjudication is basically the same thing probation. Hamilton's charges will not show up on his criminal record unless he gets in trouble with the law again in the next 10 years.
A Sabine County grand jury indicted Hamilton back in August.
The indictment stated that Robert Hamilton was intoxicated when the accident occurred on FM 1592 three-fifths of a mile from Highway 103. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety accident report, Hamilton was driving a 2013 Chevrolet Trailblazer south when he left the road, and his vehicle rolled over.
Cox, who was Hamilton's passenger, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Hamilton was transported to a Hemphill hospital.
Neither man was wearing a seat belt, according to the accident report.