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story.lead_photo.caption Xavier French Photo by Submitted to the Texarkana Gazette / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Texas — A local man accused of pistol-whipping a mother and holding a gun to her toddler's head pleaded not guilty Thursday to aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery charges at a hearing in Bowie County.

Xavier Lavar French, 19, is accused of attacking the woman as she fumbled for her keys outside her apartment door after returning home from a late shift at work June 29, according to a probable cause affidavit.

French appeared Thursday morning for arraignment with a member of the Bowie County Public Defender's Office before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell in a first-floor courtroom of Texarkana's downtown Bi-State Justice Building. Tidwell scheduled the case for a pretrial hearing next month.

French allegedly struck the woman from behind in her head with a pistol, causing her to fall to the ground.

"She stated that she was dazed and not immediately able to get up so the suspect grabbed her by her hair and pulled her up while continuing to strike her on the head with the pistol," the affidavit states. "The victim further reported that the suspect grabbed her son, held him to his hip, pointed the gun at him and threatened to kill the 2-year-old if she did not open the apartment door."

When the woman managed to open the door, her attacker, whom she identified as French, allegedly demanded all of her money.

The mother reported that she went to her bathroom where she kept a bag containing $600 in cash. The woman told investigators that French warned her not to look at him during the assault.

The woman tossed the bag behind her and threw herself into the bathtub, catching a glimpse of her attacker in the mirror as she did. The woman allegedly recognized French though she described him as an acquaintance and not someone she knows well.

French, who was allegedly wearing a hat and had his lower face covered, grabbed the bag, the victim's cellphone and ran. The woman was interviewed by police at a Texarkana hospital where she sought treatment of the injuries to her head. The affidavit notes the victim had cuts, bruising, swelling and dried blood on her head.

She allegedly picked French as her assailant from a photo lineup.

French was arrested July 1 and charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. He appeared Wednesday morning for a pre-indictment hearing before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell on those charges and motions to set aside orders deferring adjudication in two felony cases for which French received a 10-year term of probation in April 2018.

French pleaded guilty in April 2018 to evading arrest in a vehicle and attempted burglary of a habitation before Tidwell. He received two, concurrent 10-year terms of deferred adjudication probation as part of his plea arrangement. The state is now seeking to have French adjudicated guilty in those cases and he could face prison time for those crimes.

French's bail on the robbery and kidnapping charges is set at $200,000. If found guilty, French faces five to 99 years or life for each offense. He is currently being held in the Bowie County jail.

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