Jury gives 20 years to Smith County inmate convicted of escaping transport van

Jury gives 20 years to Smith County inmate convicted of escaping transport van
Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 10:20 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2023 at 10:58 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A Smith County inmate will spend an additional 20 years in jail for escaping from a transport van.

The testimony portion of Timothy Chappelle’s sentencing phase concluded Wednesday morning with closing statements, though only the prosecution completed theirs.

On Tuesday, he was convicted of escaping a Smith County Jail transport van. Chappelle, who represented himself during both phases, attempted to make a closing statement but was cut off early due to objections from the prosecution. The judge sustained the objection and barred Chappelle from speaking further on the ground that his statement was essentially testimony and that he was apparently making claims about evidence not brought up yesterday and the state was unable to cross-examine him.

Kurt Noell was Chappelle’s court-appointed attorney until Chappelle demanded to defend himself in court, however, Noell was on standby for the majority of the trial.

“I think the idea that you can learn probably what it takes five years of practice, at least, to know the basics, let alone any longer than that, when someone has practiced decades, predominantly doing criminal law, to elect to represent yourself is a very bad decision,” he says.

Noell also says that Chappelle refused a plea bargain that would have given him less time in prison.

Chappelle was also given a fine of $10,000.


+ Smith County inmate accused of escaping transport van found guilty