Ross Richardson, 75, was found guilty by a jury of his peers in the 3rd Judicial District Court of District Judge Mark Calhoon on the First Degree Felony charge of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon against a Public Servant on Wednesday, April, 3, 2013.
Richardson was arrested on December 31, 2010, on three counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon against a Public Servant. He was indicted by the Houston County Grand Jury in March of 2011.
According to witness testimony, at approximately 4:50 p.m. the Houston County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an illegal burning at 5155 U.S. Hwy 287 in the Latexo area, North of Grapeland. At that time Houston County was under a burn ban due to an extensive drought. Houston County Fire Marshall George Jansky responded to the residence of Richardson and found Richardson burning a large pile of leaves. Jansky reported that when he arrived the property owner, Ross Richardson, was going inside the house. As he exited his vehicle, he informed Richardson’s wife and Richardson—who had come back outside of the home, his name and that he was a Deputy Fire Marshall and requested that they put the fire out. Jansky said that Richardson was holding a handgun as he walked toward him and told them to get off of his property. Jansky reported that he followed protocol and left the scene and notified the Sheriff’s Office and County Fire Marshall David Lamb about the incident.
Two sheriff’s deputies testified that when they arrived on scene they found Richardson walking from his residence out to a chair by the burning leaves and sat down. In the police video, with complete audio, jurors saw that as the deputies got out of their vehicles and greeted Richardson and his wife, Richardson stood up with his firearm and eventually aimed it at Deputy Roy May’s head. Jurors heard Richardson telling the officers to “Get off my property,” “You don’t have a warrant,” as the officer steadily told Richardson to “Put the gun down.” After several seconds, Richardson put the weapon back in his pants and it was at that point that the deputies approached him and were able to restrain him, placing him in handcuffs.
While the jury could have given Richardson any time sentence over five years and up to 99 or life with up to a $10,000 bond, Richardson was sentenced to five years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice with no fine. He has already applied for his appeal to the Criminal Appellate Court and has been bonded out of the Houston County Jail on a $50,000 Appeal Bond.