BELTON — A Bell County jury cleared a Killeen woman of a felony assault with a deadly weapon charge Friday.
The trial of 32-year-old Sylvia Ann Robbins began Monday and was initially scheduled to last only three days, but hours of testimony stretched into almost a full workweek before the jury of 11 women and one man heard closing arguments Friday in the courtroom of 264th District Court Judge Martha Trudo. Jurors returned a verdict of not guilty the same day.
Robbins’ was arrested on Halloween 2013, after police said she threatened an ex-soldier named Henry Sutherland, her on-again, off-again boyfriend, with a gun, and fired at least one shot at him.
She was charged with and indicted on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony.
Prosecutors said Robbins became angry when she saw Sutherland moving his belongings out of their home with the help of three friends.
During the trial, prosecutors presented hours of recorded evidence from the night of Robbins’ arrest, and testimony from police, witnesses and Sutherland himself.
Robbins’ defense lawyer, Howard Fomby, argued she believed Sutherland and his friends were trying to take her belongings from the home that night, and that Robbins, a single mother of three, used the gun in self-defense.
In his closing statement, Fomby said Robbins’ actions were justified under the Second Amendment.
“Whether you like it or not, it’s the law of the land,” Fomby said.
The defense’s case included testimony from Robbins’ 15-year-old son, and Robbins herself.
Robbins’ acquittal comes after she initially chose to plead guilty to charges against her before the trial.
On Oct. 9, Robbins pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain offered by prosecutors. She was to get five years of deferred adjudication, a type of probation. But Robbins withdrew the guilty plea two months later, and asked to go to trial.
“I was convinced that she would win a jury trial,” Fomby said.
If she had been convicted, Robbins’ could have faced up to 20 years in prison.