The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

October 25, 2012

Local burglary trial continues

PALESTINE — An Anderson County jury began hearing the case this week of a burglar who was caught by Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies while the man and an accomplice appeared to be returning to the scene of the crime.

Testimony began Tuesday afternoon and continued Wednesday before a jury of five men and seven women in a case against Gary Robertson, 40, of Palestine, who is charged with the offense of burglary of a habitation alleged to have occurred on Nov. 21, 2011.

The case is being presented by First Assistant Stanley Sokolowski on behalf of the Anderson County District Attorney’s Office along with District Attorney Doug Lowe.

The burglary occurred in the early morning hours of Nov. 21 at Montee’s Auto World, located on U.S. 84 just east of Loop 256. The business, which also sells and repairs motorcycle parts and equipment, is owned by Montee Poole.

At about 7:45 a.m., within hours after the burglary, Anderson County Sheriff Sgt. Bobby Bishop was looking for a Toyota pickup officers believed had been used in the heist.

As he was traveling on FM 323, approximately half a mile from the scene, Bishop spotted two men in a Toyota pickup driving very slowly as if looking for something on the side of the road.

A motorcycle, taken in the burglary, was later found in the woods on the edge of the property that borders FM 323 behind Montee’s Auto World.

Robertson and his accomplice, 42-year-old Chad Beck of Jacksonville, were stopped minutes later by Bishop and Anderson County Sheriff Deputy Michelle Tillman, just east of the business on FM 1137.

Officers located motorcycle helmets, jackets and other items taken in the burglary as well as bolt cutters, flashlights and ski masks when the pickup was searched.

Surveillance video taken during the burglary from cameras inside and outside of the business was shown by prosecutors to the jury during Poole’s testimony. The video revealed one or more intruders who appeared to be searching or rummaging through the closed business.

Poole recalled during his testimony that he had met the defendant when Robertson brought a motorcycle in to have a tire replaced.

Local attorney Colin McFall, who is representing Robertson, questioned Poole about whether the business building qualified as a “habitation,” which under Texas law is broadly defined as “a structure or vehicle that is adapted for overnight accommodation of persons.”

Poole testified that he sometimes stays overnight at his business and sleeps on a fold-out couch that he uses when he works late in the shop. The building is equipped with a kitchen and shower in addition to an office and work areas.

“Since these guys burglarized my place,” Poole said, “I won’t spend the night at my business.”

McFall contended that if his client was guilty, he was only guilty of burglary of a building, a state jail felony with a maximum punishment of two years in prison.

Burglary of a habitation is a second degree felony, which carries a possible punishment of up to 20 years in prison.

District Judge Mark Calhoon is presiding over the trial at the Anderson County Courthouse, which is expected to conclude this week. The trial of Robertson’s co-defendant, Beck, is slated for later this year.

Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at mrainwater@palestineherald.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • State politicos back Perry's move to send troops to the border

    Gov. Rick Perry's decision Monday to activate and deploy up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure the Texas-Mexico border has been met by much applause from Texas's political leadership, including current Agriculture Commissioner and Palestine native Todd Staples, U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling and others.

    July 22, 2014

  • 7-19-SAT-Shrek.jpg Doug Smith discusses role as reluctant hero in 'Shrek: The Musical'

    Palestine's Doug Smith has come full circle with the Palestine Community Theatre.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nichols appointed to Texas Senate Finance Committee

    This week, Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) was appointed to serve on the Texas State Senate Finance Committee, which is charged with writing the biennial budget for the state of Texas.

    July 19, 2014

  • Historical marker dedication to honor William Freeman today

    The Anderson County Historical Commission will dedicate a Texas Historical Marker to former Douglass School principal William Freeman during a dedication service today.

    July 19, 2014

  • 14th PJSL Back to School Fair slated for Aug. 2

    With the start of the school year pulling back into focus, the Palestine Junior Service League will once again be offering free haircuts and backpacks to children this fall during the 14th annual Back to School Fair.

    July 19, 2014

  • Our Town: PRCIL hosting resource services fair

    Palestine Resource Center for Independent Living will host a Community Resource Fair this month to connect, strengthen and support individuals living in Anderson and surrounding counties by providing necessary information about many services available in the community.

    July 18, 2014

  • 7-18-walden-pond-view.jpg Palestine High School teacher presents paper at Thoreau Society Gathering

    Palestine High School teacher Karen Buckland recently returned from a trip to “Walden Pond,” the home of American author Henry David Thoreau in Concord, Massachusetts, and was able to make a presentation there.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Texas' annual Sales Tax Holiday set Aug. 8 to 10

    Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reminds shoppers they can save money on certain items priced under $100 during the state's annual sales tax holiday. This year, the sales tax holiday is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 8 to Aug. 10.

    July 17, 2014

  • Hunter Education Class set Aug. 4-6 in Palestine

    Are you going hunting for the first time this fall?

    A required Texas Hunter Education class will be held Aug. 4-6 in Palestine. Anyone born after Sept. 2, 1971 must have a Hunter Safety Certificate to hunt in Texas. Students must be at least 9 years of age or older to receive certification and it is good for life.

    July 17, 2014

  • County, cities get July sales tax allocations

    Texas Comptroller Susan Combs recently reported that state sales tax revenue in June was $2.24 billion, up 3.7 percent compared to June 2013.

    July 17, 2014