By Justin Cox
Killeen Daily Herald
A Temple man with seven felonies on his record took the stand in his own defense Wednesday and tried to explain why he wasn't guilty of repeatedly bludgeoning a Temple police officer over the head with a piece of wood in the middle of the street.
The jury didn't buy the explanation by Barry Dean Garrett, 46; members spent about 30 minutes in deliberation before returning with a guilty verdict.
Garrett will wait for his sentencing hearing in the first week of January to learn his punishment for the incident in which he beat and dislocated the shoulder of a Temple police officer by pounding him with a piece of wood on a city street May 10.
The charge of aggravated assault against a public servant is a first-degree felony and typically carries a punishment range of five to 99 years in prison. Garrett, however, will be charged as a habitual offender, enhancing the punishment range to 25 years to life in prison.
The indictment lists four third-degree felony convictions, all taking place in Milam County in the 1980s. The most recent were two burglary of a building convictions on Aug. 18, 1989. The other two convictions came on Feb. 10, 1984 – one for delivery of marijuana, the other for burglary of a vehicle.
According to the indictment, the May 10 attack occurred when Sgt. Gary Smith tried to arrest Garrett in the 500 block of South Martin Luther King Boulevard in Temple.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Waldman said Garrett had the officer on the ground pinned against a shoulder broken in two places and dislocated. He said Garrett reached for Smith's gun, forcing Smith to roll onto the wounded shoulder to prevent Garrett from grabbing it.
Though the officer was injured, Garrett jumped on him and hit him repeatedly with his fists. He then obtained a piece of wood lying in the street and proceeded to beat the officer with it as he lay wounded in the street.
Smith will likely never fully recover from the wounds, and cannot lift his arm above his shoulder.
The affidavit said a witness driving past saw Garrett on top of Smith with his hands on the officer's throat, and later witnessed him obtaining the piece of wood.
Temple police responded shortly thereafter and detained Garrett.
Contact Justin Cox at email@example.com or (254) 501-7568.