Branch Davidian Rita Faye Riddle, convicted in September of shoplifting four pairs of jeans, was sentenced Friday to 12 months’ probation.
County Court-at-Law Judge Mike Gassaway also fined Riddle $1,500, but probated all but $150 of the fine.
Riddle, 55, left the Mount Carmel compound 10 miles east of Waco about a month into the 51-day siege by federal agent. She is not among the 11 Branch Davidians charged with murdering four federal officers during the failed raid on the cult Feb. 28.
A presentence investigation by probation officers revealed that Riddle was caught shoplifting at Eckerd Drugs at Richland Mall after her arrest for stealing jeans at Sears on Dec. 22.
In determining sentence, Gassaway said he did not consider her a first-time offender, as her attorney, Charles Grigson of Austin, tried to portray her.
Evidence at her Class B misdemeanor theft trial in September indicated that at the time of her arrest in December, she was carrying various shopping bags and numerous receipts from several stores.
“Based on the number of store shopping bags, 80-plus receipts from several stores and the way she approached the jean department at Sears, this was probably a well-planned scheme and not the efforts of a first-time offender,” said prosecutor Thomas West, who prosecuted the case with Enid Wade.
Wade had asked Gassaway to sentence Riddle to 180 days in jail followed by two years’ probation.
Videotapes from Sears played at her trial showed Riddle holding one pair of jeans and her purse. She got a second pair from a shelf and walked to another area of the men’s department. She then pulled a Sears sack from her purse, got two more pairs of jeans and stuffed all four pairs into the sack.
The tape shows her leaving the jeans department, where she browsed briefly in another department before heading toward the mall entrance of Sears.
She turned just before she left the store and returned to a cashier’s stand, where she asked for a refund for a pair of black jeans.
Security guards detained her after she got a $37.88 refund for the jeans, placed the other three pairs in the sack and headed for the door.
Riddle said she brought the jeans into the store with her and wanted to get refunds or exchanges for the jeans. The videotape, however, disproved her story.