A former used car salesman convicted of breaking into his former girlfriend’s home in 2013 and sexually assaulting her at gunpoint was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison.
Jurors in 19th State District Court deliberated about 30 minutes Thursday before rejecting Reginald Keith Thomas’ plea for probation and recommending 40-year sentences on each of two counts of aggravated sexual assault with a deadly weapon. The jury deliberated about 90 minutes Thursday morning before convicting Thomas.
By law, the sentences will run concurrently. The 39-year-old Thomas must serve a minimum of 20 years in prison before he can seek parole. Thomas, who turned down a 15-year plea offer before trial, will be given credit for the 4 ½ years he spent in the county jail awaiting trial.
Thomas and the 26-year-old victim had dated for about six months before she broke up with him because he lied to her about his age and was too controlling, she said. The woman testified Thomas broke into her Bellmead home about three months later in November 2013 and sexually assaulted her while holding a gun to her head. She said Thomas cursed her, told her not to scream and said, “I’m going to put a baby in you today.”
She testified Wednesday that Thomas was in her bed when she woke up and she felt something cold sliding up her leg. That turned out to be a large pistol, she said.
“It looked like a cop gun,” she said.
Thomas, who also testified Wednesday, denied the allegations and said he and the woman had an on-again, off-again relationship. He said the sexual encounter was consensual and he believed they were getting back together. He denied having a gun.
Thomas’ attorney, Russ Hunt, said Thomas’ case took so long to get to trial, in part, because the forensic lab was backlogged and it took an extended amount of time for DNA evidence to be tested. After that came back, the case had to work its way back up the trial docket, Hunt said.
“It’s a sad situation all around, and there are really no winners,” Hunt said.
Prosecutors Christi Hunting Horse and Gina Long told the jury in summations that Thomas, who has misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession and unlawfully carrying a weapon, is dishonest, manipulative and deserving of a substantial prison term.
“He broke into her home and took away her dignity,” Hunting Horse said. “What he did to her was reprehensible. He changed her life, and he should be sentenced to that.”
In a victim-impact statement after Judge Ralph Strother sentenced Thomas, the woman, who also was sexually abused as a teenager, thanked the jury for giving her back her life and for helping her fulfill a promise to be happy she made to her dying grandmother.
“Happiness is going to be in full effect after today,” she told the jury. “I am a survivor, and after today, my mind, body and soul are going to be free.”