A 30-year-old Palestine man was sentenced to five years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice last week after being found guilty of assaulting a local police officer last fall.

An Anderson County jury deliberated for approximately an hour Wednesday before finding Cedric Hicks, 30, of Palestine guilty of the felony charge of assault on a public servant.

Prior to proceeding to the trial’s punishment phase, attorneys for the state and defendant reached an agreement for Hicks to serve five years in the TDCJ.

Stanley Sokolowski, assistant district attorney for Anderson County, said Palestine police officer Chad McCallister was patrolling on Howard Street on Sept. 20, 2009 when he pulled in behind a vehicle investigating a possible violation of the city’s noise ordinance.

As the officer approached,  the vehicle’s passenger fled on foot, according to the assistant district attorney.

The driver, later identified as Hicks, also got out of the vehicle and was advised to stop, but continued to walk away, according to Sokolowski.

The suspect eventually fled on foot also, but was ultimately caught by the officer “in a wooded area where Hicks began striking him in the head and shoulder area with his hands,” Sokolowski said.

The struggle continued for a short time, with Hicks ultimately being able to escape from the officer, the state said.

Hicks was arrested approximately one month later and charged with the offense, according to Sokolowski.

Testimony began in the case on Tuesday, with the jury needing approximately one hour Wednesday before returning a guilty verdict.

Hicks, who was represented by local attorney Dan Scarborough, and the state reached an agreement on his sentence, however, before the trial moved to the punishment phase.

Sokolowski said Hicks has previously served time in federal prison on a drug conviction and also has some past misdemeanor arrests.

A pending state jail felony case against Hicks for possession of a controlled substance less than 1 gram was also taken into consideration as part of the plea, Sokolowski said.

“We are definitely pleased with the sentence, considering the seriousness of the offense,” Sokolowski said. “We seek protection for our officers. We are pleased with the jury's verdict.”

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Paul Stone may be contacted via e-mail at pstone@palestineherald.com

 

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