Brownwood man sentenced to 40 years for robbery, kidnapping

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Commissioners are waiting on a report on Brown County Courthouse structural issues

A 61-year-old man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for robbing a Brownwood convenience store and taking an employee hostage as he fled the scene, District Attorney Micheal Murray's office said via email.

Joseph Hardman of Brownwood pleaded guilty Monday in 35th Judicial District Court to aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping. District Judge Mike Smith convicted Hardman and sentenced him as a habitual offender.

Hardman entered the plea a week before his case was set for trial. Because of Hardman's age, the sentence likely means Hardman will spend the rest of his life in prison, Murray's office said. 

According to an earlier email from Brownwood police:

Officers were dispatched at approximately 11:15 p.m. on Aug, 16, 2021 to the 7-Eleven store at 1501 Coggin on a robbery report.

Officers learned from a male employee that an unknown male entered the store and robbed them with an unknown weapon. The employee said his female co-worker was taken away by the male into the alleyway, walking toward Fifth Street and turning north.

Officer Colby Adams walked into the alleyway while other officers canvased the area in their vehicles.

In the area of Fifth and Avenue E, Adams met up with Cpl. Brandon Johnson and briefed him on the circumstances. Adams began walking back to the store while Johnson continued northbound on Fifth.

At this moment, a female was heard screaming, then observed running from an open lot in the 1700 block of Avenue E. As officers approached her, they confirmed she was the store clerk and observed a male running in the field behind her.

Adams and Johnson chased and detained the man, identified as Hardman. Johnson and officers Jonathan Vallejo and Justin Taylor assisted Adams in arresting Hardman.

The female store clerk told police a male entered the store and walked behind the counter where she was standing. The male told the clerk he had a gun on her and grabbed her from behind, then demanded money and cigarettes.

When this was given, the male continued out the store and into the alleyway toward Fifth Street. The female store clerk told the robber he had what he wanted and could let her go, but the male refused.

They made it to the open field and the male forced the female clerk to the ground, and demanded a sexual activity. At this moment, the clerk observed officers in the area, broke free from the male and ran toward the officers.

Police did not recover a gun.

In other recent court cases:

David Duke Griffin pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Frank Paul Hinojosa pleaded guilty to engaging in organized criminal activity and continuous violence against the family and was sentenced to seven years in prison.