Man convicted of deadly conduct, sentenced to life

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) A Waco man was found guilty of deadly conduct Thursday after a rather unusual three-day trial punctuated by the victim’s initial refusal to testify.

A 19th District Court jury returned the guilty verdict for Gary Lynn Ramsey just before 3 p.m. Thursday and just after 5 p.m. sentenced him to serve life in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Institutional Division, defense attorney Sandy S. Gately said.

Ramsey was convicted of the felony charge, which was enhanced by Ramsey’s earlier convictions, which raised the level of punishment to habitual, a range of 25- to 99-years, or life in prison.

He also was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 60 years and a fine of $10,000 on that charge.

The state held, in short, that Ramsey, who was under the influence of some type of intoxicant at the time, threatened his girlfriend, either stripped, or was stripped, off his clothes and chased her outside where he began shooting at her vehicle as she was driving away.

Testimony showed his bullets struck her van seven times.

Ramsey’s defense was that, unknown to him, the marijuana had been laced with K-2, which made him lose control.

There was little drama in the case-in-chief, the matter was pretty-much cut-and-dried.

But getting there was like a trip

through the Twilight Zone.

Jury selection began Tuesday morning in Judge Ralph Strother’s court, and during that time the judge called some of the state’s witnesses to the courtroom to swear them in before their testimony.

One of those present was the complaining witness, Eaerricka Washington, who also was the victim in the case.

After she was sworn in, Strother told her to be ready to come back to court on Wednesday so she could testify, but she quite vocally refused, saying she’d already told the police investigators what happened and she didn’t need to come back to testify in court.

Strother admonished her and ordered her to comply, but she refused again, at which time Strother ordered her taken into custody as a material witness and held in the McLennan County Jail until she was needed for court the next day, McLennan County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy David Kilcrease confirmed.

It wasn’t known until later, but between the courtroom and the jail, while being booked at the intake desk, “she intentionally smashed her head on the desk and injured herself,” Kilcrease said.

She was treated for a small cut at the jail infirmary.

Washington was called to testify Wednesday, head bandaged and wearing her jail-issued jumpsuit, and was “less than helpful,” Kilcrease said, in fact, prosecutors announced they would treat her as a hostile witness when they began questioning.

But in the end her testimony was enough.

And the Ramsey issue was just the icing on the cake for Gately, she said, who’d just the week before been in a jury trial in 54th District Court that ranked up there as about as weird as it gets.

In that case, an aggravated sexual assault of a child, Judge Matt Johnson seated a jury panel, six men and six women, on Monday and had called lawyers and the jury back to the courtroom on Tuesday morning to begin trial.

Once there, however, the assistant prosecutors in the case reported the primary prosecutor had fallen ill to food poisoning and wouldn’t be able to participate.

Johnson suspended testimony for the day and told everyone to come back on Wednesday to get started.

Then when the lawyers showed up on Wednesday, Johnson told them the father of one of the jurors had suffered a massive heart attack the night before and was undergoing open heart surgery, so he dismissed released the juror and again suspended testimony for a day.

Then testimony got underway Thursday, which included the victim in the case claiming the incident never

happened, in spite of the fact she reported it in detail to police at the time.

Then before the end of the day the question had been given to the jury.

Johnson dismissed the panel to go home a little after 5:30 p.m. Thursday, subject to return at 8:30 a.m. Friday to finish their deliberation.

At mid-afternoon Friday the jury sent out a note that it was hopelessly deadlocked and after admonitions, Johnson declared a mistrial.

Then in what turned out to be an unusual result, lawyers learned the jury had deadlocked 11-to-1 for acquittal, and the one vote wasn’t for guilty, but that the juror didn’t understand the meaning of the term “knowingly”, so in effect there wasn’t even one guilty vote.

Gately said she now has to wait to learn if prosecutors plan to re-try the case