Livingston Man Guilty of Threatening Police Officer, LIVINGSTON, January 14, 2020 - Following testimony Tuesday in the 411th Judicial District Court before District Judge Kaycee Jones, a Polk County jury deliberated for approximately a half hour before finding Michael Wayne Starnes, 55, of Livingston, guilty of Retaliation. Evidence presented by the prosecution at trial established that on January 4, 2018, Starnes, after being arrested for disorderly conduct by exposure and criminal trespass near a local business, threatened to assault Officer Brandon Brewer of the Livingston Police Department who was dispatched to the call. Under Texas law, a threat to harm a public servant including a police officer in retaliation for the public servant’s status or duties constitutes a felony crime. In addition to the testimony of Officer Brewer, Polk County Assistant District Attorney Nicole Washington presented evidence from Officer Jason Thomas, Livingston Police Department, as well as a dash camera recording of the events as they occurred during the officers’ encounter with the defendant. From the video, jurors were able to hear the defendant as he made multiple threats to Officer Brewer. In her closing arguments to the jury, Washington implored the jurors to “do their part to protect those who protect us.” After the trial, Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon expressed his gratitude to the jurors for their verdict commenting that “it is important that everyone knows that the people of Polk County will stand behind their law enforcement officers when they are threatened by criminals because of their public service.” A sentencing hearing on the third degree felony has been scheduled before Jones following the completion of a presentence investigation by the Community Supervision Department. Starnes faces punishment of two to ten years in prison with a fine of up to $10,000.
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