Joseph Donald Smith, 58, was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Felony Driving While Intoxicated, also With a Deadly Weapon (a vehicle).
Smith was stopped about 10 p.m. on July 23 on U.S. 271 just south of Gilmer.
Judge Lauren Parish presided and set punishment.
Byrd said that the State filed an enhancement notice to seek habitual-criminal punishment, raising the minimum sentence to 25 to 99 years or life in prison.
“Judge Parish found that the defendant had previously been convicted of multiple felony offense, and also made an affirmative finding that a deadly weapon was used,” Byrd said.
Judge Parish assessed life in prison for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and 50 years in prison for the DWI charge.
Byrd, along with Assistant District Attorneys Natalie Miller and Camille Henson represented the State at the trial. Gilmer attorney Dwight Brannon was defense attorney.
Byrd said that facts of the case showed that shortly after 10 p.m. July 23, the victim, Brandi Randel, picked up her 5- and 8-yar-old children after getting off work.
While she was driving home, Smith began bumping her car from behind as if she was traveling too slowly, Byrd said.
“Ms. Randel entered the construction zone just south of Gilmer while the defendant was on her bumper. She began speeding up trying to get away,” Byrd said.
Just south of the Gilmer Airport, evidence showed, the defendant got on the inside lane by the victim and rammed his truck into her car, causing her to spin off of the roadway for 400 feet before coming to a stop.
Department of Public Safety Trooper Walt Smith had another vehicle stopped on U.S. 271 for a traffic violationn, and captured the vehicular assault on his in-car video camera.
Smith jumped in his patrol car and pursued the defendant.
After stopping, Smith got out of the vehicle and a bottle of beer fell to the ground.
He was arrested, and, after being found intoxicated, he consented to having blood drawn.
At trial, Byrd said, evidence showed that Smith’s blood-alcohol concentration was twice the legal limit.
Ms. Randel’s vehicle was totalled, but neither she nor her children were injured.
“Evidence showed that the defendant did not know the victim, and that the defendant committed this crime without being provoked,” Byrd said.
Byrd said that Smith’s criminal record, for which he had previously served prison time, went back to 1975.
His ofenses included Aggravated Assault Against Peace Officers, Aggravated Assault by cutting another person’s throat with a knife, Burglary of a Habitation, Felony DWI, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
Byrd said Smith was on parole when the most-recent crimes occurred in July.
Smith must serve at least 30 years before becomiing eligible for parole.
In the other trial, a Big Sandy Police Officer and Upshur County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a disturbance on Water Tower Rd., east of the city off U.S. 80.
Mosley was found outside the residence officers were called to, and it was determined that he had committed Assault Family Violence, and he was originally arrested on these charges.
After his arrest, deputies found several pills in his pocket, along with a glass pipe of the type commonly used to smoke methamphetamine, Byrd said.
“At this point, the defendant began resisting arrest and struggling against the deputies,” Byrd said. He kicked a 5-gallon buckey, striking Deputy Scott Moore in the lower leg.
“At the jail, he continued his resistance, and threatened to have his vengeance against any badge he sees, and that he would fight all officers and have his vengeance against Sgt. Stracener as soon as he got out of jail,” Byrd said.
Based on these threats, Mosley was charged with retaliation, in addition to the assault charge. Both charges are third-degree felonies, carrying a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
In 2005, Mosley had been sentenced to prison for possession of meth.
After convicting Mosley on both charges, the jury assessed the 5-year and the 4-year sentence.
The sentences will be served concurrently.
Longview attorney Scott Novy represented Mosley, while Byrd and Ms. Miller and Ms. Henson represented the state.