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Simpson pleads not guilty to multiple charges in court

Simpson pleads not guilty to multiple charges in court

August 10th, 2018 in Texarkana News

A man accused of injuring a Texarkana, Texas, police officer in May by dragging him with his car entered pleas of not guilty Wednesday to four felonies at a hearing in Bowie County.

Jaroy Simpson, 25, is expected to be back in court Friday morning to address a motion filed by Texarkana lawyer Darren Anderson seeking a reduction in Simpson's bail. Simpson is facing charges of aggravated assault on a public servant, theft of a firearm, evading arrest or detention in a vehicle and possession of a controlled substance. Simpson entered pleas of not guilty Wednesday with Anderson's help at a hearing before 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart.

Bail amounts on the charges total $210,000. That means Simpson would need to pay a commercial bondsman $21,000 to be released from custody while the cases proceed.

Lockhart is expected to consider a motion recently filed by Anderson requesting the amounts be lowered. According to Anderson's motion, Simpson is a veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, an anxiety disorder and a depressive disorder.

"His disability is of such a nature that he has an administrator appointed by Veteran's Administration to manage his financial affairs," the motion states.

Simpson's arrest May 15 began with a traffic stop shortly after midnight in the 1500 block of West Seventh Street, according to a probable cause affidavit used to create the following account.

Texarkana, Texas, Police Officer Colten Johnson noticed a strong odor of "green marijuana" coming from inside Simpson's white Chevrolet Malibu while speaking with Simpson, who allegedly was upset and argumentative about being stopped for making a wide right turn.

The smell of fresh marijuana coupled with Simpson's allegedly aggressive posture led Johnson to call for backup. A short time later, Officer Austin Butts arrived, and Simpson was asked to step out of the Malibu. While being patted down for officer safety, Simpson allegedly continued to argue and claimed the odor of marijuana was not coming from the car, but "from him smoking at his house."

"Officer Butts then advised that he could see green marijuana lying on the center console," the affidavit states.

Butts walked around to the driver's side of Simpson's car where Johnson was attempting to handcuff Simpson, who then "dove into the driver seat of his vehicle."

Simpson resisted Johnson's and Butts' attempts to pull him from the car and managed to move the gear shift into drive. With both officers partially inside, Simpson accelerated.

"I (Johnson) was stuck between the driver door and Officer Butts, and Officer Butts was hung inside of the vehicle," the affidavit states. "I was able to exit the vehicle while Simpson was accelerating after I was dragged a few feet, and I attempted to grab Officer Butts and pull him from the vehicle."

Johnson was able to pull Butts a short distance out of the Malibu, but he remained lodged part-way inside as Simpson accelerated with Butts being dragged for several feet.

Simpson sped away after Butts broke free and fell onto the concrete, but officers quickly found the Malibu in the backyard of Simpson's residence in the 1700 block of West Fifth Street.

Simpson was found hiding behind an unattached door leaning against the wall of a small "add on" to the rear of the house. After taking Simpson into custody, officers again turned their attention to the Malibu.

"The driver's door was open, and I observed 11 clear plastic bags lying in the driver door in plain view next to a 30-round firearm magazine that contained 22 rounds of 7.62 ammunition," the affidavit states. "The clear plastic bags contained a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana."

The allegedly plain-view marijuana gave officers the probable cause needed to search the rest of Simpson's car. Inside they found a black backpack which held a clear bag containing 14 pills of assorted colors stamped with different types of figurines. The pills allegedly field tested positively for ecstasy. More alleged marijuana was discovered in the backpack, along with a fully loaded black 9 mm Beretta handgun.

The handgun allegedly had been reported stolen to Texarkana, Ark., police. After finding the gun, officers discovered a container holding 10 rounds of 7.62 ammunition, 80 rounds of 9 mm ammunition and four rounds of .22-caliber ammunition. In the back seat, a large firearm magazine containing 31 rounds of 7.62 ammunition was discovered, along with an AK-47 rifle wrapped in a shirt.

Simpson faces six months to two years in a state jail if convicted of theft of a firearm. Both the evading and drug possession charge are punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. If convicted of assaulting a public servant, Simpson faces five to 99 years or life in prison.

llarowe@texarkanagazette.com

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