Seated next to his attorney Wednesday in a Brown County courtroom, Randall Bowers fell apart when Judge Sam Moss sentence him to two life sentences for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and forgery.
Bowers, 44, threw himself onto the floor and curled up under the defense table, sobbing and moaning, “Oh God, no. Please, please, please.”
Courthouse deputies moved the table out of the way and managed to get Bowers back into his chair.
Moss, who is Brown County Court-at-Law judge, heard the felony cases as District Judge Steve Ellis presided over the Michael Zarate murder trial in the larger district courtroom. Moss sentenced Bowers after a one-day bench trial in which Terri Moore, who was hired recently as an assistant district attorney, prosecuted the case — her first contested hearing in a Brown County courtroom.
Bowers was indicted as a repeat and habitual offender, and had recently been sentenced to 10 years in prison in an assault case in Bell County. The two life sentences will run concurrently but will be stacked on top of the 10-year Bell County sentence, Moss announced.
According to allegations in the Brown County indictments:
• Bowers caused bodily injury to a woman on July 3, 2016 by hitting her with his hands or fists, and “did then and there use or exhibit a deadly weapon, to-wit, a firearm” in the assault.
• On the same date, Bowers committed three counts of forgery.
• Enhancement paragraphs in the indictments say Bowers was convicted of attempted murder in Taylor County in 1997, and of robbery in Taylor County in 2005.
“You have seven prior felony convictions, not counting the ones that you now have,” Moss told Bowers as he prepared to announce the sentence. “With the three counts of forgery in this case, it makes you about an 11-time convicted felon — 10 or 11.
“Seven is enough, but now you have these three additional ones.”
Moss also noted that Bowers had several misdemeanor convictions for assaults against women “which is cowardly,” Moss said.
Noting that Bowers had picked up new charges while out on bond in previous cases, Moss said, “You have gotten off pretty easy every time. It ain’t going to happen today. There is no getting off easy now. … I try to find the best in people and find the redeeming qualities, but I just don’t see any here. There has been no rehabilitation, even though the system has tried since 1990, (when) you were placed on probation.”
Moss said the state had “tried to rehabilitate you numerous other times. … it looks like leniency has been shown and mercy has been shown to you … rather than being appreciative of that mercy, you have just continued on. So I’m sentencing you to life in prison on each of these cases.”
“Oh, man, come on,” Bowers said.
“Please, be quiet,” Moss said before Bowers collapsed to the floor, crying.
After deputies got Bowers back into his chair, he sat quietly, his head bowed, until deputies escorted him out of the courtroom.
In Ellis’ courtroom, testimony continued Wednesday in the Zarate murder trial and will resume Thursday morning.
Wednesday's portion of the trial included testimony from Zarate's ex-girlfriend, Crystal McConnell, who said she has "no doubt" Zarate killed their neighbor, Ernesto Gonzales Jr., on Nov. 2, 2014. Gonzales died of a single gunshot in which the bullet traveled through his left arm, entered his chest and traveled through his heart and both lungs, according to testimony.