A Jefferson County jury Wednesday decided a man should be sentenced to life in prison for a 2011 armed home-invasion.
The jury Tuesday found Charles Lamar Hicks, 61, of Port Arthur, guilty of aggravated robbery after only an hour of deliberation. The same jury Wednesday finished deliberations on his punishment, deciding on a life sentence.
According to 12NewsNow.Com file stories, on November 20, 2011 Hicks knocked on the front door of a home in the 3200 block of 19th Street in Port Arthur. Witnesses say when the grandmother of the family that lives at the house came to the door he began making unusual statements about a dog and asked to be let into the house.
The grandmother told Hicks he could not come into the home. She thought he had gone away, but an eleven-year-old granddaughter later found Hicks in the kitchen. Police say he apparently came in through an unlocked back door.
The little girl fled the kitchen after Hicks held a gun to her head. He chased her into the living room.
During the trial the grandmother testified that Hicks held the gun to her head. She told jurors that she knew it was real when she tried to push the gun away and felt the cold steel. The grandfather told jurors that he begged his wife to give the invader "anything he wants."
The mother of the 11-year-old told jurors that it was at this point she opened the door to her bedroom, realized what was going on, and then slammed the door closed an locked it, which was immediately followed by the sound of Hicks trying to kick the door in.
She dialed 911 and left the line open, then opened the door because she was afraid to further anger Hicks. He put the gun to her head and ordered her onto the floor of the living room, where her parents were already cowering down at Hicks' order. Both mothers testified that what was running through their minds at this time was concern for their children. All the while, Hicks was ransacking their purses.
Then the quick thinking eleven year old, taking advantage of the distraction provided by her mom's entrance, ran to her room, hid under the bed and called 911 her self. She then lay quietly hidden after Hicks kicked down her door and couldn't find her. This gave the grandmother a chance to run out the front door and call police herself. Hicks fled at this point, and the victims were able to give a detailed description of the truck the robber was in and his clothing. This included a description by the grandfather of a change in hats that the robber was wearing as he fled the scene.
Approximately thirty minutes later Hicks was found at a gas station in the 100 block of Gulfway Drive. He was dressed as described (including the second hat); in a large dually truck as described, and the original hat, a large caliber derringer type pistol and the change purse and cash that were originally in the grandmother's purse were found in the truck. All four members of the family identified Hicks where he was captured, and again during trial testimony.
Prosecutor Pat Knauth said, "The courage of this young girl touched me, and was also gratifying to see that she was recognized by the Port Arthur Rotary Club for her bravery and quick thinking. The entire family was deeply affected by this violation of their sanctuary, and so they are very thankful to the jury for their verdict. "
Hicks also had previous felony convictions for Burglary of a Habitation (8 year prison term in 1970) and Robbery by Firearm (55 year prison term in 1980). He must serve 30 years of his sentence on a day for day basis before he can be considered for parole.
At the request of the prosecution, Judge John Stevens also ordered that this sentence be stacked on top of any sentence coming from any parole revocation motion.
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