Grand jury indicts Weaver

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

June 12, 2007 - Judson Talbert Weaver, 25, was indicted by a Hopkins County grand jury Monday for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and failure to stop and render aid by not leaving his insurance information at the scene of the offense, according to District Attorney Martin Braddy.

Weaver is alleged early Wednesday, March 7, to have assaulted 26-year-old Christopher Wright with his GMC Yukon in front of the Days Inn, causing significant injury to Wright’s face.

Weaver and Wright were alleged to have been involved in a verbal altercation Tuesday night, March 6, in the Days Inn bar where Wright’s girlfriend is employed. According to reports, Weaver was in his Yukon after the bar closed, when something occurred which resulted in Wright leaning into Weaver’s car. Weaver reportedly accelerated in the vehicle while Wright was still partially in and partially out of the window of the vehicle. Wright’s face was injured when he fell to the ground, officers said following the incident.

Wright was transported to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital by private vehicle. Weaver left his name and some other information at the Days Inn, then left, the district attorney said.

Because Weaver has been arrested previously for aggravated assault and posted bond, Braddy does not anticipate Weaver will be required to post another bond for the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge. However, Braddy noted that Weaver will have to be arrested and post bond on the failure to render aid indictment, a new charge.

The district attorney said that the case was presented to the grand jury over the course of two days, with all facts and evidence collected by the district attorney’s office thus far presented, and Chris Wright, Texas Ranger Phillip Kemp and the three investigators were called to the stand. The range of options on which Weaver could be charged were presented to the grand jury, and they opted to indicted Weaver for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon as well as on the third-degree felony charge for failure to stop and render aid by failing to leave his insurance information at the scene of the crime.

�They found this was not a hate crime. Our investigation determined this was motivated by some other things which I�m not sure Mr. Wright was necessarily aware of. They decided negative to hate crime. It did not indicate to that in our findings, and did they did not opt to include that. They had the option of if it is to put it in the indictment. The found it was not a hate crime,� Braddy said.

�This is significant. The investigation showed it was not motivated by bias or prejudice against any type of group. We were initially concerned it might be this type of case. The grand jury decided it is not. We will go forward on the charges of the indictment,� Braddy said.

The failure to stop and render aid indictment, according to Braddy, was set not because Weaver didn’t stop to help nor that he didn’t leave his name and contact information. Wright was reported to have been driven to the hospital from the scene by someone there; Weaver left his personal identification information, but failed to leave insurance information.

The failure to render aid charge is what Braddy termed a “special felony offense,” listed not under the Penal Code but in the Transportation Code, and stipulating that while its a third degree felony offense, the range of punishment is limited. Normally, a third-degree felony offense allows between two and 10 years in prison, but a “special felony” limits the maximum potential punishment to 5 years.

Braddy said he is not aware of any prior conviction by Weaver, which will make the 25-year-old probation eligible.

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