CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - A Houston County jury has sentenced a Georgia man to 55 years in prison after finding him guilty of shooting at Crockett police officers during a chase in March.
The jury handed down the punishment on Wednesday, after finding Earl Williams guilty on Tuesday.
The jury found him guilty of two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a public servant (55 years each), unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon (10 years) and evading arrest with a vehicle (seven years). All sentences will be served concurrently.
Houston County District Attorney Donna Gordon Kaspar said Williams pleaded guilty to evading arrest in a vehicle, but he claimed that Kayleigh Davis, his wife, actually did the shooting, and he only told her that "if she was going to shoot, to shoot at the ground."
Although it was not part of the plea agreement, Davis testified during the trial. She told the jury that her then-husband told her to shoot and actually reloaded the weapon when it was empty while she held the wheel and steered the car from the passenger's seat, Gordon Kaspar said.
"The law in Texas is that a person is criminally responsible for an offense committed by the conduct of another if, acting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense, he solicits or encourages, aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit the offense," Gordon Kaspar said.
Gordon Kaspar said it was a case that should remind everyone how dangerous it can be for police officers.
"They put their lives in jeopardy every day they go to work. I am proud of the officers we have at the Crockett Police Department and all the other officers and deputies that risk their lives for us," Gordon Kaspar said. "I am grateful that the jury in this case did what was right and got Mr. Williams off the street before someone got hurt or killed.
The incident started in March when Crockett officers were dispatched to Snyder Trailer Park on Loop 304 around 3 a.m. in reference to a suspicious person trying to break into trailers. Officers stopped a vehicle, with Williams and Kaleigh Davis inside, and while one officer was talking to Williams, a second officer spotted a shotgun on the passenger side. That is when Williams sped away from officers.
Officers then began chasing the car through town and then toward Grapeland. That is when Williams and Davis began firing the shotgun at the officers. They shot out the back window of their car and pellets stuck two of the Crockett officers' SUVs.
The chase ended when Williams drove into a fence.
Both of them had meth on them.
Davis pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in September.
Authorities say Williams is a part of the Aryan Brotherhood.