An attempt at an assault trial Tuesday morning in 35th District Court went quickly awry when a juror was dismissed over a residency issue and another juror became suddenly ill as prosecutor Christina Moss gave her opening statement.
    But later Tuesday afternoon, Moss and defense attorney Jud Woodley announced they’d reached a deal that sent the defendant, Bobby Joe Dudley, to prison for seven years.
     Dudley, 38, of Brownwood, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. District Judge Steve Ellis approved the plea bargain and sentenced Dudley to two concurrent seven-year terms.
    Dudley was accused by indictment of pointing a shotgun at a woman the night of Sept. 24, 2016.

Residency issue
    A juror’s residency issue surfaced when the juror called the district clerk’s office five minutes before the trial was scheduled to begin and said he was coming in from Mullin, and would be at the courthouse in about 30 minutes.
    Ellis noted the juror had indicated on his jury card that he lives in Brown County, but Ellis was puzzled as to why the juror would be coming in from Mills County. The man could not serve on a Brown County jury if he lived in another county, Ellis said.
    The juror showed up and told Ellis he was late because he had a flat. The juror also told Ellis he and his wife were in the process of moving into a home in Mullin and he considered himself a resident of that town.
    Ellis dismissed the juror and seated the lone alternate onto the panel.

Prosecutor’s opening statement
    Moss began her opening statement, saying she expected evidence to show that Dudley had shown up the night of Sept. 23 at the home of a woman he’d grown up with and been friends with, although the two hadn’t seen each other in a couple of years.
    Dudley told the woman he was working on his car and asked to use her sink to wash his hands, Moss told jurors. The woman was counting out $850 or $860 on her table — money from her last paycheck, Moss said.
    Dudley returned later that night and walked into her home, and started walking from room to room, Moss said. The woman’s brother was there and told Dudley to leave.
    Dudley arrived at the woman’s home the next night and asked her stop step outside with him so he could show her something, Moss said. Dudley walked to his car, pulled out a shotgun and pointed it at her face. The woman ran back inside her home and called 9-1-1.
    
Ill juror
    Police arrived and saw Dudley standing outside, Moss told jurors — and that was as far as she got as a juror became ill. Ellis sent the jury out and court personnel assisted the ill juror.
    Ellis said it would be determined later whether the ill juror would be able to return, or if not, whether both sides would agree to continue the trial with 11 jurors.
    Tuesday afternoon, Ellis said the ill juror could not return. “I don’t know if the word ‘snakebite’ means anything,” Ellis noted at one point.
    Moss and Dudley announced they’d reached the deal for the concurrent seven-year terms.

Police report
    According to a Brownwood police report after the incident:
    Officers Sky Self and officer Ian Baker arrived to the 1100 block of Tannehill the night of Sept. 24 on a report of a man with a gun. Self saw a man in an unlit, darkened area standing by an SUV, and the officers approached from a distance of about 15 yards.
    Self heard the distinct racking sound of a shotgun shell being chambered, and he and Baker rerouted their positions. 9-1-1 operators were speaking with a woman, who said the suspect, identified as Dudley, was trying to leave.
    Self identified himself several times, and Dudley did not answer. Self saw Dudley start his SUV and drive away, turning onto Avenue B. Self and Baker sprinted to their patrol vehicles and tried to locate the SUV, and officer Bryan Greenrock set up for a possible intercept.
    Self located the SUV at Vine and Coggin, and the driver stopped in the Brookshire’s parking lot after Self initiated his patrol vehicle’s emergency equipment. Officers took Dudley into custody and recovered a Winchester shotgun.

Victim speaks
    After Ellis approved the plea bargain Tuesday afternoon, Ellis asked the woman — who was present with other state’s witnesses — if she wanted to address Dudley.
    Speaking in a loud, emotional voice and near tears, the woman told Dudley, “I thought we were better than that. I thought we were better friends. … Nothing that  you (did) that night is right. You ruined a good friendship. We grew up together.”