A DeKalb, Texas, man accused of shooting two Bowie County Sheriff's Office deputies, injuring a third and rendering three patrol cars inoperable pleaded not guilty to four felonies Friday.
Bryan Lee Batchelor, 48, appeared Friday with Shoaib Daredia of the Bowie County Public Defender's Office for arraignment before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell. Daredia asked Tidwell to set Batchelor's case for jury selection in April, stating that Batchelor is eager to "clear his name."
Tidwell scheduled the case for jury selection July 31, noting the court's already-packed spring trial schedule. Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter said the case will be first on the list for that trial date.
At a hearing in October, Daredia asked for and was granted an order for an expert evaluation of Batchelor's mental state "due to the nature of the allegations." Batchelor has been found competent to stand trial.
A Bowie County grand jury indicted Batchelor last month on three counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and a single count of evading arrest in a vehicle.
Batchelor allegedly pointed a gun at members of DeKalb Volunteer Fire Department who responded to a call concerning a house engulfed with fire at 4640 Farm to Market Road 44 E., according to a probable-cause affidavit used to create the following account. The caller told dispatchers Batchelor had been talking about setting the house on fire, which Batchelor owned.
Bowie County court records show no prior criminal history for Batchelor in the county. However, records do show that his wife, who is listed as co-owner of the burned house in property records, filed for a divorce in mid-August. A standard order attached to the petition prohibited him from "terminating or in any manner affecting the service of water, electricity, gas" and other services to the house.
When Bowie County deputies arrived shortly after midnight Sept. 17 to assist the fire department, Batchelor allegedly drove his 2014 Dodge pickup into a nearby field. He allegedly shot two deputies as he evaded them, and the deputies returned fire. A third deputy was injured when Batchelor allegedly drove his truck into the officer's patrol car.
In all, Batchelor is accused of being responsible for heavy damage to three patrol cars.
Batchelor was hospitalized for several days because of gunshots he suffered when deputies returned fire. All of the wounded deputies have recovered.
Batchelor is being held in the Bowie County jail. Bail is set at more than $3 million. If convicted of evading arrest in a vehicle, he faces two to 10 years in prison. Aggravated assault on a peace officer is punishable by five to 99 years or life in a Texas prison.