In the old days, there was a slang term for your spouse. You might have heard it in a classic movie or the like — the old ball and chain? Not often these days does this term actually have a place in a modern marriage. We found one, though, where it just might…
A Fort Worth couple was recently indicted on federal charges after allegedly committing armed robbery together last December. They are currently facing decades in federal prison.
So how did a pair of local honeymooners — married less than a year before the indecent — wind up quite possibly spending their entire marriage behind bars?
A Texas Hold-Up Honeymoon
Here’s how the story goes. The couple and two accomplices allegedly approached an employee working for Brink’s, the security logistics firm. One of the robbers held a gun.
As one accomplice drove away, the remaining three robbers stole $933,000 from the employee’s armored vehicle. Once the money was in the hands of the robbers, the fourth accomplice came back, picked up the robbers, and fled the scene.
FBI agents took up the case after finding that the truck used by the robbers had been burned. Surveillance videos and phone records led the agents to the newlywed couple and one of their accomplices. They have all been charged with multiple federal crimes, including:
- Interference with commerce by robbery
- Conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery
- Brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence
If convicted, the alleged robbers will face up to 47 years in federal prison each. That’s a long time to be married. A longer time to be married behind bars.
Armed Robbery Laws and Penalties in Texas
This case was investigated by federal authorities and landed in the hands of the federal court. Not all armed robbery cases do. Robbery charges at the state level can also result in decades in prison – even life.
Here in Texas, the laws separate robbery cases into two primary categories: simple robbery and aggravated robbery. Let’s take a closer look…
Robbery is a more serious charge than theft. In addition to depriving someone of their property, an offender must recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally cause bodily harm or injury to the victim. Threatening to cause bodily harm to the victim also counts.
When there are no threats of bodily harm involved in the crime (i.e. a thief tries to sneak merchandise out of a store) the charges may be reduced to theft. Theft is not always a felony crime in Texas, but robbery is.
Penalties for robbery in Texas include 2-20 years behind bars and up to $10,000 in fines. When aggravating factors are present during the commission of a robbery, suddenly your penalties are drastically increased.
If the newlyweds were charged at the state level, they would likely be charged with aggravated robbery. This is because the presence of a deadly weapon (the gun) is an aggravating factor.
Even if a deadly weapon is not used, simply showing it to a victim makes the crime “aggravated.” Other aggravating factors in Texas robbery crimes include:
- Causing serious bodily injury to the victim
- Causing bodily injury to a victim who is over the age of 65
- Causing bodily injury to a victim who is disabled
Where an offender might face up to two decades in prison before brandishing a weapon, once the gun is presented, a conviction can carry a 99-year prison sentence.
We imagine this Fort Worth couple wasn’t thinking about spending their entire marriage behind bars. Their best bet now? A stellar criminal defense team.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. He has been named one of the 3 Best DUI Lawyers in Fort Worth, recognized by Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, Avvo, and others, and he is Lead Counsel rated.