Punishment trial under way for 16-year-old Big G robbery suspect
Antonio Vega listened in a courtroom Wednesday as Big G Grocery employees described the New Year’s Eve 2014 robbery in which the then-15-year-old fired two shotgun blasts inside the Early store, and his 18-year-old accomplice hit two employees with brass knuckles.
Vega, now 16, of Elgin, pleaded “true” in juvenile court earlier to four counts of aggravated robbery and one count of engaging in organized criminal activity.
Vega is being sentenced as a juvenile under determinate sentencing, which means he would stay in the juvenile system until he is 19, Brown County Attorney Shane Britton said earlier. At age 19, Vega would be transferred to adult prison “under their discretion regarding rules and parole,” Britton said.
Brown County Court-at-Law Judge Sam Moss is presiding over the punishment trial, and a 12-person jury will determine Vega’s sentence.
Co-defendant Cody Williams, 19, stood trial in February and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. A third person, Jackie Scott III, 20, is awaiting trial. Authorities believe Scott remained in the trio’s car during the robbery.
Britton, the prosecutor in Vega’s punishment hearing, told jurors in his opening statement Tuesday that the three had traveled from Elgin to Brownwood to pick up Scott’s younger sister when they decided to rob a store.
“This wasn’t Mr. Vega’s first rodeo,” Britton told jurors. “Dec. 31 was the culmination of a multi-month crime spree in Bastrop County.”
Britton said jurors would hear “how he’s been since the event, including his inability to follow rules and his assaults of people since he’s been locked up.”
Defense attorney Tommy Adams reserved an opening statement until beginning his case, which will likely be Thursday.
Wednesday morning, Britton played for jurors a store surveillance video that depicted Vega, who carried a shotgun, and Williams, who had brass knuckles, running into the store and confronting employees.
Britton also played a video of Texas Ranger Jason Shea and then-Early police detective Mike McCoy interviewing Williams in the Bastrop County Jail. The two traveled there after receiving information from Bastrop County authorities that linked Vega, Williams and Scott to the Big G robbery, McCoy said.
Williams admitted to Shea and McCoy that he, Vega and Williams had traveled from Elgin to Brown County and that he and Vega had been in the store during the robbery.