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CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF

GEORGETOWN — A habitual offender with a long rap sheet of violent crime charges entered a guilty plea and received a 50-year sentence for taking a Burnet County deputy’s gun and escaping, which launched a manhunt in Williamson County, officials say.

On May 7, 41-year-old Murl Lamb pleaded guilty in the 26th Judicial District Court in Georgetown to three charges: aggravated assault on a public servant, taking a weapon from a police officer and escaping from custody.

“Because of his prior criminal history, all of them were technically habitual felony offenses — our equivalent of ‘three strikes you’re out’ law,” said Williamson County Assistant District Attorney Geoffrey Puryear. “He faced 25 years to life on every one of those charges if it was tried to a jury and we proved his prior criminal history.”

On Aug. 21, 2014, Lamb was initially booked into the Burnet County Jail, where he faced a number of charges, including aggravated robbery, a parole violation, burglary of a building, theft and criminal mischief.

On Oct. 11, 2014, a Burnet County deputy had transported Lamb to the Cedar Park Regional Medical Center, where the inmate wrestled a gun away from the deputy and escaped on foot.

During the early morning manhunt, Cedar Park police secured a perimeter of the immediate area.

Williamson County deputies, Leander police, the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force and Burnet County deputies assisted in the search of the area around a shopping center on RR 1431 just east of the U.S. 183 tollway.

Officers apprehended Murl about four hours later behind a movie theater.

Cedar Park police built a case with three charges, each of which individually could carry a first-degree felony penalty of up to 99 years or life in prison.

“(Lamb) approached us about pleading guilty. It was unconditional in my mind that he would have to plead guilty to everything he was charged with,” Puryear said. “It’s pretty close as far as he can get to a life sentence.”

Prosecutors consider the sentence the best possible outcome.

“(Lamb) just going on the run in our county was something we were going to deal with very harshly, and I think we did that,” the assistant district attorney said.

connie@thepicayune.com