FROM STAFF REPORTS
LLANO — A Llano County jury deliberated for about 10 minutes Oct. 29 before sentencing a man to 20 years in prison for assaulting a family member.
The same jury found James Ray Leach, 39, guilty of assault-family violence by impeding breath for an attack that spanned several hours April 21-22 of this year. According to the Llano County District Attorney’s Office, Leach had assaulted and choked the victim a number of times throughout the evening of April 21 and the morning of April 22 before she was able to break away.
The trial began Oct. 28 and took place in State District Judge Allan Garrett’s courtroom.
The jury sentenced Leach to the maximum penalty allowed for a second-degree felony.
Assistant district attorneys Richard Crowther and Rebecca Lange prosecuted the case.
During the punishment phase of the trial, prosecutors presented evidence of Leach’s previous convictions for violent felonies and other past misdemeanors.
“Twelve citizens were willing to delve into the shadows of domestic abuse and did their duty by removing a very violent offender from society for as long as the law allows,” Crowther said. “Their courage should be commended.”
Llano County District Attorney Sonny McAfee praised the verdict and the people involved in prosecuting the case.
“Everyone at Scott and White (where the victim was treated) and the Llano County Sheriff’s Office did an excellent job,” McAfee said. “Their hard work and commitment to the struggle against domestic violence allowed us to give the jury all the evidence they needed to deliver justice. And the jury’s decision to hand down the maximum sentence sends a strong message about our community’s opinion of violent offenders like this defendant.”