TEXARKANA, Texas -- A Bowie County judge on Monday scheduled a June jury trial for a man accused of setting a dog on fire.
James Lynn Taylor, 27, of Redwater, appeared with Assistant Public Defender Clayton Haas for a pretrial hearing Monday morning before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell. Tidwell began the hearing by stating that he has read a presentence report prepared by Bowie County's probation department.
Presentence investigation reports are typically requested when a plea bargain including a term of probation is under consideration.
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"This is one of those kind of things the people of Bowie County get to make a decision about, 12 people," Tidwell said, referring to a 12-member jury. "It's one thing to steal from Spring Market, but then when you pour rubbing alcohol on a dog and set it on fire, I'm going to let a jury decide. They may choose to give you probation, I'm not."
Tidwell scheduled the case for jury selection the week of June 6.
Taylor and his younger brother were approached by Bowie County Sheriff's Office deputies in connection with a call of two men shoplifting from Spring Market in Redwater on the afternoon of Sept. 16, 2021, according to a probable cause affidavit. Video surveillance allegedly showed one of the brothers stuffing several Cayman Jack alcoholic drinks into his pants.
Deputies spoke with the brothers in front of Redwater City Hall. They claimed that a "lady" bought them a gallon of milk, which was found at a nearby church along with an empty quart bottle of milk and two blue Gatorade drinks.
While questioning the men, a 911 dispatcher advised that people working at city hall had called to advise that the younger brother had allegedly slid two bottles under a tire on the patrol car. When the deputy checked, he discovered two cold Cayman Jacks behind his front driver's side tire.
"A third empty Cayman Jack was in the ditch we located the Taylors standing in when we arrived," the affidavit states.
While officers were speaking to James Taylor, a gray, female pit bull wandered up, which Taylor allegedly claimed to own.
"The dog had an open injury to its right side near its back hips and the belly area also looked injured," the affidavit states.
Taylor allegedly admitted that the dog had been fighting with another dog a couple of days before and he had poured rubbing alcohol on them and set them on fire to get them apart.
The younger brother was given a citation for Class C misdemeanor theft under $100 and allowed to leave. James Taylor's citation for misdemeanor theft was placed in his pocket by deputies who arrested him for felony animal cruelty.
If convicted, Taylor faces two to 10 years in prison. If a jury recommends probation, a judge is required to grant it. Taylor is currently being held in the Bowie County jail with bail set at $35,000.