Weapons seized from Master Sgt. Christopher Grisham when he was arrested in March were located, and they reportedly are in the possession of court stenographer Betsy Mock Clifton, in a secure storage area in the courthouse, Bell County Attorney Jim Nichols said Friday.
A phone call to Clifton to confirm that information wasn’t returned by press time Friday.
On Thursday, Nichols said his office didn’t have the guns and didn’t know for sure where they were.
“I’ll have to check, but I think they’re transferred to a secure location at the sheriff’s department,” Nichols said.
Staff in the Bell County Sheriff’s Department, Temple police, the county clerk’s office and district clerk’s office all said Thursday they didn’t have the guns or know where they were.
Retired Judge Neel Richardson, the judge in both of Grisham’s trials, said Friday he didn’t know where the weapons were being stored.
“That is not my area. They are taken into evidence and that is for the court clerk’s office and sheriff’s department to take care of,” Richardson said.
Last month, following two highly publicized trials, Grisham was convicted of
interfering with the duties of a peace officer, a class B misdemeanor.
Grisham, who was fined $2,000, vowed to appeal the conviction.
In the meantime, he wants the property seized from him during his arrest, including the weapons, returned.
Grisham called Assistant County Attorney Darrell Guess on Monday to make an appointment to get his weapons back.
In that recorded conversation, Guess told Grisham he needed to talk to the trial judge about the location of his weapons because he put them into evidence.
On Thursday, Assistant County Attorney John Gauntt Jr. filed a response to a letter from Grisham requesting the immediate return of his AR-15 rifle and semi-automatic pistol, as well as other items seized during his March 16 arrest by the Temple Police Department.
Gauntt said Grisham’s citing of Article 18.19(d) of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure was inapplicable since he “was not convicted under Chapter 46 of the Texas Penal Code. Additionally, this subsection is inapplicable given the current status of the case.”
Chapter 46 addresses weapons offenses against public health, safety and morals.
And Section 18.19 outlines certain conditions under which an individual can retrieve weapons seized by law enforcement agencies.
The response said the state doesn’t intend to seek forfeiture of the weapons. The reason they are not being released is because the judgment and sentence are not yet final, Gauntt’s written response said.
Grisham’s attorney, Blue Rannefeld, said he hadn’t yet received that response Friday afternoon.
He said he was told immediately after the second trial that the weapons wouldn’t be returned because the ruling was being appealed and the guns are considered evidence.