Roberts sentenced to seven years in prison for bail jumping

Reported by: Ashley Claster
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Updated: 10/16/2013 11:51 pm
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UPDATED

Jeena Roberts' bail-jumping trial is over. The jury found her guilty, and Judge Jim Bob Darnell delivered the sentence that does not add any time to what she is already serving: seven years.

Roberts was supposed to turn herself in back on January 7th to begin serving her fifteen-year prison sentence. She did not report, however.
She was arrested a couple of weeks later in a Houston hotel. Last week, Judge Darnell denied her attorney's request to move the bail jumping trial out of Lubbock.

It took the jury just under thirty minutes to decide Roberts was guilty of bail jumping. During the closing statements, the prosecutor argued that not every case has a good defense. He told the jury, "If I shot someone right here, 90 people would see it. But, I still have the right to take it to trial."

Judge Darnell gave her Thanksgiving, Christmas and her birthday to be with family before going to jail,.and she still did not show up.
Prosecutors said, "We expect people to be responsible for their actions. Especially when a judge was that lenient with you."

Roberts is already serving fifteen years for intoxicated manslaughter. The prosecution says allowing Roberts to walk away with no extra time to serve sends a bad message to the community.

"The state's position is: we have to provide a dis-incentive. We have to provide a motivation for people that abscond to know there's going to be a punishment when they do," Assistant District Attorney Tom Brummett said.

One of the arresting LPD officers took the stand Wednesday telling the court, "When Roberts found out she killed someone, she said, 'It was God's plan. It was her time to die.'"

Judge Jim Bob Darnell told Roberts one thing before delivering her sentence, "God spared your life. Figure out why. Hopefully, you can have a positive influence on someone, someday."

Judge Darnell sentenced Roberts to seven years in prison, to be served concurrently with her other sentence. Her attorney Robert Scandino said that while they lost, he thinks it went well.

"I thought we got a fair trial," Scandino said. "Frankly, the judge was the most articulate person in the courtroom. I thought his sentencing was spot on. I thought he articulated exactly what happened, and what needs to happen."

The defense argues that Roberts' dad convinced her not to show up for her sentence. They claim his signature was on the hotel bill. He was supposed to take the stand Wednesday, and was subpoenaed to be there, but chose not to testify.

"He's her father. I thought it was obvious what happened. But, he made a decision and it's his. So that's what he chose to do," Scandino said.

Fox 34 asked a prosecutor if they intend to pursue any charges against Jeena Roberts' dad, Craig Roberts, such as an accomplice charge. That prosecutor said they need to figure out who has jurisdiction- Lubbock or Houston. If Lubbock does have jurisdiction, and they have enough evidence to claim probable cause, then they will file charges.

Judge Darnell gave her seven years, to be served at the same time as the 15 year sentence. She is already going to be in jail for those seven years, anyways. But, now it counts as her bail-jumping punishment, too.

She is not eligible for parole until she has served half of her sentence, which is seven and a half years. So it is possible that she could serve that minimum time, and then be released. She will not have any additional time tacked onto her fifteen year sentence.


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