A Texas prison inmate's conviction and 45-year sentence for a one-punch assault that rendered a correctional officer unconscious was recently affirmed by a Texas appellate court in Texarkana.
The 6th District Court of Appeals rejected arguments by Bryan Austin White that witness testimony regarding the use of hands as a deadly weapon shouldn't have been heard by the jury that found him guilty in October. White, 28, will not begin receiving credit toward his 45-year term until he has finished serving the 25-year sentence for aggravated robbery that landed him in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in the first place.
At trial witnesses testified that White was angered because he wasn't getting the answers he wanted from prison staff about being assigned to a work detail. Correctional Officer Kevin Squibb was so troubled by White's demeanor he radioed for help.
In a soundless surveillance video, White appeared to calm down, turning away with his hands behind his back. But as Squibb directed his attention elsewhere, White dropped the book he was holding and forcefully landed a punch to the side of Squibb's head, rendering him immediately unconscious.
As Squibb fell, he struck a nearby pole. For a moment, White stood over the injured officer as if ready to strike again. White eventually picked up his book, stepped over Squibb and walked down several flights of stairs to a dayroom where he seemed to revel in his assaultive behavior with other inmates.
While the jury decided that White was guilty, retired 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart determined punishment in the case at White's request. Lockhart said at trial that he considered White's conduct both during and after the assault when arriving at a 45-year term.
White is currently being held in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Ferguson Unit in Midway, Texas. His maximum sentence date is Oct. 6, 2081.