By MARY RAINWATER
Palestine resident Paul Armstrong, 45, was sentenced Tuesday to a 13-year-prison term for felony driving while intoxicated by District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher.
The sentence, recommended by the Anderson County District Attorney’s office, followed an Anderson County jury finding Armstrong guilty in a one-day trial for his Aug. 29, 2011 arrest by Frankston police officer Jennifer Moore.
A jury of nine men and three women returned the guilty verdict at 4:15 p.m. after deliberating approximately 30 minutes.
The range of punishment for DWI, a third degree felony, is from 2 to 10 years, but because Armstrong had already served at least one prison sentence for the same crime his maximum punishment was increased to 20 years.
Armstrong was stopped by Moore just after midnight on Aug. 29, 2011, while driving through Frankston going 64 miles per hour in a 45 mile an hour zone. His statement to the officer was that he was returning to his home from Tyler.
Based on the smell of alcohol, poor performance on field sobriety tests and reckless driving, Armstrong was arrested and then taken to the Anderson County jail where he provided a blood sample.
Testing performed by the Texas Department of Public Safety lab in Tyler showed Armstrong’s blood level at 0.13 alcohol concentration — well above the legal limit in Texas of 0.08.
In closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Erica Morgan asked the jury to consider the danger that driving while intoxicated poses and to help protect Anderson County from intoxicated drivers.
“Although Officer Moore is not an experienced officer,” District Attorney Doug Lowe said, “she did a fine job in taking Armstrong off Frankston’s streets and protecting the people of Anderson County.”
Local attorneys Melvin Whitaker and Stuart Whitaker represented Armstrong.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org