TX AG FAU Rounds Up Violent Felon Parole Violators

.jpg photo of Texas Attorney General LogoPaxton’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit Arrests 18 Violent Parole Violators in Operation

AUSTIN, TX  –  Last week, Office of the Attorney General Arlington and Austin Fugitive Unit Personnel conducted an operation that focused on apprehending and arresting parole violators with violent felony convictions, violent criminal history and gang affiliations.  The teams focused on parole violators in the Amarillo area, which consisted of both Potter and Randall counties.  During the week, 18 suspects were arrested.

The suspects were currently on parole for offenses such as Murder, Assault, Robbery, Possession of Firearm by a Felon, Assault Family Violence, Drugs and various other felonies, including violent criminal histories.  The Amarillo Police Department assisted with providing intel leading to some of the arrests.  The following suspects were arrested during the operation:

  • Ruben James Solis, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Burglary of Habitation Felony 2nd Degree in 2018 violated the conditions of his parole by being arrested for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by Felon.
  • Jeremy Juan Mendoza, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Injury to Child/Elderly/Disabled with Intent Bodily Injury Felony 3rd Degree in 2017.
  • Tiundrae Delmar Nelson, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 4-200 Grams in 2006 with a history of aggravated assault.
  • Michael Wayne Cooper, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 1-4 Grams in 2018 with a history of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
  • Chad Edwin Hooser, Amarillo, Parole Violations for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 1-4 Grams and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon in 2017.
  • Antonio Ford Arreola, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 4-200 Grams and Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance PG 1 4-200 Grams in 2013 with a criminal history of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
  • Alan Dale Howard, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Burglary of Habitation in 1994 with a history of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
  • Patricio Garza Guzman, Amarillo, Parole Violation for two counts of Burglary of Habitation in 2009 with a history of Possession of Firearms by a Felon.
  • Kevin Don Groom, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Murder in 1993.
  • Andrew Walter Pettis Jr, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Robbery Felony 2nd Degree in 2015.
  • Justin Guzman, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Indecency with a Child Sexual Contact and Attempted Indecency with a Child in 2015.
  • Mark Edward Fox, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Theft of a Firearm and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon in 2017.
  • John Jennings, Amarillo, Parole Violation for two counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in 2002.
  • Richard Earl Ewing, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in 2014.
  • Joseph Johnny Sustaita, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Unlawful Possession of Firearm by a Felon in 2016.
  • David Ray Nivens, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Assault Breath Impediment Family/Household Member with Two Prior Convictions in 2018.
  • Ricardo Fernandez, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Burglary of a Habitation in 2016 with a criminal history of Robbery.
  • Angela Lynn Ramirez, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Injury to Child/Elderly/Disabled in 2016.
  • Steven Lee Thompson, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Aggravated Robbery in 2012. 

TX AG FAU Stops 3 Child Predators

.jpg photo of Texas Attorney General LogoPaxton’s Law Enforcement Round Up

The Fugitive Apprehension Unit made several noteworthy arrests last week.

In Travis County, Jose Antonio Garcia-Barriga was arrested in Austin on an outstanding warrant for Sexual Assault of a Child issued by the Austin Police Department.  This arrest was made on Aug. 6 while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of Austin.

In Travis County, Cesar Ambrosio Sanchez was arrested in Austin on an outstanding warrant for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child issued by the Austin Police Department. This arrest was made on Aug. 3 while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of Austin.

In Galveston County, Ismael Ruiz Jr. was arrested in Galveston on outstanding warrants for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, Sexual Assault and Injury to a Child/Elderly/Disabled issued by the Galveston Police Department.  This arrest was made on Aug. 3 while working in conjunction with the Gulf Coast Violent Offender Task Force

TX AG FAU Takes Down Child Predator Fugitives, Violent Fugitive For Murder

.jpg photo of Texas Attorney General Logo
TX AG Fugitive Apprehension Unit Roundsup 2 Child Predators and a Fugitive on TX DPS Top 10 Most Wanted.

AG Paxton’s Law Enforce­ment Round Up

The Fugitive Apprehension Unit made several noteworthy arrests last week.

In Harris County, Leonard Dee Taylor was arrested in Houston on July 23 for failing to comply with his mandated sex offender registration requirements, and a corresponding warrant for Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration Requirements issued in 2018 out of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.  Taylor was added to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Top 10 Most Wanted Sex Offender List in May of 2019.  In 2003, Taylor was convicted of two counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child in Bowie County and was sentenced to twenty years in prison.  This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Service, Gulf Coast Violent Offender and Fugitive Task Force, and assisted by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

In Smith County, Dakevian Benoit Scroggins was arrested in Tyler on July 24 on outstanding warrants for Capitol Murder issued by the Tyler Police Department and Evading Arrest issued by the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office.  Scroggins was added to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Top 10 Most Wanted in July of 2021.  In 2014, Scroggins was convicted of Prohibited Weapon in Smith County and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.  This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force, along with the Tyler Police Department and the Smith County Sheriff’s Office.

In Wharton County, Francisco Avalos was arrested in Louise on three outstanding warrants for Sexual Assault of a Child, Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography and Online Solicitation of a Minor issued by the Victoria County 377th District Court.  This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force out of Victoria.

After 2015 Sexual Assault, Murder Of Jourdin A’Legacy Smith, Justice Served

.jpg photo of father of child who was murdered
Jamarkus Smith, 31, was found guilty of first-degree murder, taking indecent liberties with a child, intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, felonious child abuse and two counts of sex offense with a child by an adult in the death of his daughter, Jourdin A’Legacy Smith.

Parents sent to prison in 2015 Fayetteville slaying, sex assault of 3-year-old daughter

Cumberland County, NC  –  A Fayetteville mother and father were sent to prison Monday for the 2015 sexual abuse and death of their malnourished 3-year-old daughter.

After a week of testimony and just over four hours of deliberation, a Cumberland County jury found Jamarkus Smith, 31, guilty of first-degree murder, taking indecent liberties with a child, intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, felonious child abuse and two counts of sex offense with a child by an adult in the death of his daughter, Jourdin A’Legacy Smith.

.jpg photo of mother of child who was murdered
Octavia Bennett-Smith, 32, a former Fort Bragg Army sergeant, pleaded guilty in December 2019.

Jourdin’s mother and Smith’s wife, Octavia Bennett-Smith, 32, a former Fort Bragg Army sergeant, pleaded guilty in December 2019.

Testimony in Smith’s trial began July 19, with closing arguments on Friday.

Following the jury verdict, Smith professed his innocence when he addressed the court before sentencing.

“I showed them I was innocent,” he said.  “They know I’m innocent, and you know I’m innocent.  Everybody here knows.  How is that right?  At what point is the legal system about justice?”

No statements were made on behalf of Jourdin before Judge Claire Hill sentenced Smith to life imprisonment for the murder and a combined 25 to 35 years for the other charges. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for life.

Smith’s attorney, Kris Poppe, said his client plans to appeal the verdict.

As Smith was escorted from the courtroom Monday, he turned to two women in the gallery who appeared to be there on his behalf and said, “I didn’t do it.”

“I know you didn’t baby,” one of the women said.  “He didn’t do that.  I don’t care what nobody says.  He didn’t do it.”

According to the child’s autopsy report, the cause of death was pneumonia in the setting of malnutrition, neglect and sexual abuse.   She weighed just 28 pounds at the time of her death, and her body and genitals were riddled with lacerations and contusions, the report said.

Bennett-Smith’s sentencing came some 30 minutes after her husband’s.

Her defense attorney, Antonio Gerald, called Jourdin’s death a tragedy.

Gerald said that Bennett-Smith accepted responsibility for her role in Jourdin’s death and “agreed to testify and assist in any way to help bring justice for Jourdin.”

Bennett-Smith did not speak during the hearing but cried as she was sentenced to a minimum term 10 years, five months, and a maximum of 13 years, six months for the second-degree murder charge.

The judge declined Gerald’s request for a consolidated sentence and instead stacked the sentence for the other charges.

For the child abuse and sexual assault charges, she received a consecutive minimum sentence of four years, four months, and a maximum of more than 10 years in prison.  She will be required to register as a sex offender for 30 years after release.

The judge also recommended a psychological evaluation for Bennett-Smith.

Gerald said that the court heard during her testimony at Smith’s trial that she was also a victim of assault as a child.

“These are not excuses for her actions of what she has pled guilty to, but only to shed some light as to what may have led her to be in this courtroom today,” he said.