A 23-year-old Palestine man who had previously served in the U.S. Army in Iraq has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for robbing a Crockett convenience store almost two years ago.

On Nov. 28, DeArthur Pinson, 23, of Palestine was sentenced to 10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice by 349th State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher in a Houston County courtroom.

Approximately one month earlier, Pinson had pleaded guilty to robbing Doc’s Country Store on U.S. 287 North in Crockett shortly after 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 4, 2006.

As part of the defendant’s Oct. 15 plea, the state agreed not to pursue charges of attempted sexual assault and aggravated robbery against Pinson which were part of the same incident.

After unsuccessfully attempting to use an ATM machine inside the store, authorities have said Pinson then told the store clerk he had a weapon and ultimately made away with approximately $230 in cash from the register.

Following the robbery, authorities have said Pinson fled and traveled north on U.S. 287 towards Palestine in a Chevrolet Impala, driving past a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper near Latexo at one point at a speed in excess of 100 miles per hour.

“Stop sticks,” which are used to deflate a vehicle’s tires, were deployed near the intersection of FM 2419 and U.S. 287 between Elkhart and Palestine, according to Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor.

Pinson drove over the sticks and continued to drive until his vehicle became totally disabled on E. Palestine Avenue between N. Link and N. Cedar streets, according to the sheriff.

Pinson exited his vehicle and was fleeing on foot between N. Link and N. Cedar streets when an Anderson County sheriff’s deputy instructed him to stop, according to Taylor. The suspect failed to comply and the deputy fired two shots at Pinson after the man appeared to be reaching in his coat as if to be retrieving a weapon, the sheriff continued.

Neither shot hit Pinson, who was apprehended a short time later by an Anderson County sheriff’s deputy behind a residence in the 1100 block of N. Link Street.

At the time, authorities said Pinson had been a member of the U.S. Army who had recently returned from duty in Iraq. Ironically, he was arrested by Palestine police in November 2003 on a warrant for military desertion and had a trace amount of cocaine in his possession at the time of that arrest, authorities have said.

Fletcher heard punishment testimony in the case, with defense attorney Daphne Session asking for probation based on her client’s war service, post-war trauma and his pre-trial efforts to obtain treatment for cocaine and alcohol abuse problems.

Houston County District Attorney David Cervantes, meanwhile, asked the court to sentence Pinson to between 14 and 18 years in prison.

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

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