By MARY RAINWATER
Terry Jean Raybin, 51, of Palestine entered a plea of guilty Friday morning at the Anderson County Courthouse to the charge of misuse of official information to obtain reward money from the Anderson County Crime Stoppers board.
Visiting Retired District Judge Jerry L. Calhoon accepted Raybin’s plea in advance of a jury trial which was scheduled to begin next Tuesday.
Raybin, a longtime employee of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, will be sentenced by District Judge Deborah Oakes Evans at a hearing set for Jan. 25, 2013.
Investigators in the case alleged that Raybin, as a secretary for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, used confidential information to obtain $400 in cash reward money for herself that the Crime Stoppers board had authorized for payment of an anonymous tip.
The charge, a third degree felony, carries a potential punishment of 2 to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 fine. Since Raybin has no prior criminal history she is eligible for probation.
If probation is granted, the judge can sentence Raybin to county jail time plus make her pay restitution to Crime Stoppers.
The Anderson County Adult Community and Corrections Department will prepare a pre-sentence investigation for the judge to consider in deciding an appropriate sentence for Raybin.
“Crime Stoppers is an important tool for law enforcement that we use to solve crimes and arrest wanted persons we might not otherwise solve or catch,” Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe said. “To work correctly, tippers must have confidence that they will be paid for the information.”
First Assistant District Attorney Stanley Sokolowski represented the State of Texas at Friday’s hearing. Local attorneys Brenda Hicks and Jeff Coe represented Raybin.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org