BLACK Man sentenced to 99 years for Burglary of a Habitation

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Man sentenced to 99 years for Burglary of a Habitation​

by: Matt McGovern

Posted: Aug 26, 2022 / 11:35 AM CDT

Updated: Aug 26, 2022 / 11:42 AM CDT

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Texas (FOX 44) – A Limestone County man has been sentenced to 99 years in prison for Burglary of a Habitation.


Limestone County District Attorney Roy DeFriend said in a press release on Friday morning that a Limestone County jury found 44-year-old Daniel Paul Ray guilty of Burglary of a Habitation, Theft of Copper and Theft of Aluminum on August 24.
DeFriend said that during the punishment phase of the trial, the jury found Ray was previously convicted of Aggravated Sexual Assault and Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration, and then assessed his punishment at 99 years for the Burglary of a Habitation and 20 years of each of the Theft cases – which was the maximum sentence available for those offenses. Ray will be eligible for parole when his actual time in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, along with any good conduct time earned, is equal to 25 percent of his sentence.
DeFriend said that on January 6, 2022, the Limestone County Sheriff’s Department arrested Ray and charged him with Burglary of a Habitation and multiple thefts in connection with a burglary in the Prairie Hill community. The owner of the residence, upon receiving information that someone was on the property, confronted Ray and held him at gunpoint until the Limestone County Sheriff Office arrived.
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Ray’s truck and the trailer attached to it was filled with the property owner’s items – including copper wire. It was discovered that Ray was also on the property the day before when the burglary of the home occurred, and numerous other items were stolen – including aluminum wheels. Investigators also discovered that Ray recently sold scrap to metal dealers in Waco and Fairfield.
DeFriend said that a Limestone County grand jury indicted Ray on February 23. The burglary and theft cases were consolidated for trial – which started with jury selection on Monday, August 22. The jury heard from a witness who saw Ray’s vehicle on the property January 5 and 6, then telephoned the owner’s family, and the property owner.
The jury also heard from officers involved in the investigation. On Wednesday, August 24, the jury deliberated a short time before returning a guilty verdict on all charges, and the punishment phase of the trial started.
DeFriend said that during the punishment phase of the trial, the jury heard from 18 witnesses. Several of these witnesses described encounters with Ray – during which he invaded their personal space, exposed his genitals, made unwanted sexual advances and touched his own genitals.
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The State introduced evidence of Ray’s previous felony and misdemeanor convictions, including his aggravated sexual assault of a child, burglary of a habitation, and failure to comply with sex offender registration. A Limestone County jail captain, who was a former TDCJ assistant warden, testified as to Ray’s lengthy disciplinary history while serving his previous TDCJ sentences.
DeFriend said that Groesbeck Police Department Detective Autumn Cox and Mexia Chief of Police Brian Bell testified about criminal trespass warnings which were issued to Ray. Criminal trespass warnings are issued to keep a person off of a business’s premises or away from a building or an individual’s residence. The State introduced 42 criminal trespass warnings that Ray had previously received – 32 in Groesbeck and ten in Mexia. The Defendant called his ex-wife as a witness in the punishment phase.
DeFriend says Burglary of a Habitation is normally a second-degree felony, with a punishment range of two to 20 years in prison. However, when a defendant has two prior felonies in sequential order and commits another felony, the defendant can be punished as an habitual felon – which makes the punishment range from 25 to 99 years or life in prison. Theft of metal is a state jail felony, and the punishment is normally six months to two years in a state jail. However, this punishment can also be increased with previous felony convictions – as it was in this case making the punishment range from two to 20 years in prison.
After hearing the evidence produced at the trial and at the sentencing hearing, the jury sentenced Ray to 99 years for the burglary and to 20 years in prison for each of the theft cases. The sentences will run concurrently.
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DeFriend and Assistant District Attorney Jeff Janes tried the case, aided by Investigator Mark Blankenship. Presiding over the trial was 87th District Court Judge Deborah Oakes-Evans.
Having been in custody since his arrest, Ray will continue to be held in the Limestone County Jail until being transported to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.