A Mart man convicted of beating a 67-year-old woman and stealing her life savings after breaking into her home in 2012 was sentenced to 60 years in prison Thursday.
Jurors in Waco’s 54th State District Court deliberated about 90 minutes before returning their punishment verdict for Deshaun Medlock, 37, a construction worker from Mart.
When asked by Judge Matt Johnson if there is a legal reason why he should not be sentenced, Medlock maintained he is innocent. He did not testify.
Medlock was convicted Wednesday of aggravated robbery after he forced his way into a Stephens Street trailer belonging to Clara Briones, who is now 70, and beat her in the face, head and neck area until she told him where she kept her cash.
Briones, who worked with Medlock’s mother and cousin at a former Mart nursing home, knew Medlock and identified him as her attacker.
Family members of Medlock testified that it was Medlock’s cousin — not Medlock — who committed the crime, insisting that Briones’ identification was faulty.
Prosecutors Brandon Luce and Andrew Erwin showed the jury photos of a battered and bloody Briones and called on them to give Medlock a life sentence.
“Deshaun Medlock showed no hesitation in dishing out a life sentence to Mrs. Briones through a brutal attack while stealing her life savings,” Erwin said in jury summations. “We ask you to send the maximum message and protect our community from this wolf for as long as you can.”
Medlock must serve at least 30 years in prison before he can seek parole.
After the November 2012 incident, police tracked Medlock to his cousin’s house, where they found him lying on a bed on top of the $7,500 he stole from Briones.
During the punishment phase of the trial, prosecutors revealed to jurors that Medlock has a prior felony drug possession conviction and misdemeanor convictions for DWI and failure to identify.
Also, George Gibbs, a Mart High School teacher who sells Army surplus goods, testified that Medlock and another man ambushed him at his house in January 2001, beat him in a prolonged fight and then stole $2,000 from his wallet.
The case was never prosecuted, despite Gibbs identifying Medlock as one of the men who assaulted and robbed him, Gibbs said.
“In 2001, he got away with assaulting Mr. Gibbs. Nothing was done. He got that one for free,” Luce told the jury in summations. “Don’t let him get away with it again.
“What’s worse than beating up an old lady? Is there anything worse than that? She had her whole life savings in that purse. Thank goodness she told him where the money was because we know he was willing to do anything to get that money.”
Plea deal rejected
Medlock’s attorney, Sam Martinez, said Medlock rejected a 40-year plea offer from prosecutors before trial. He said Medlock’s cousin told him that he was the one who broke into Briones’ home and beat her, adding that the cousin was willing to plead guilty in the incident for a probated sentence.
The man’s mother testified at Medlock’s trial that the cousin did it. Martinez called him as a witness in Medlock’s case, but the man — outside the presence of the jury — invoked his 5th Amendment right against self- incrimination on the advice of his attorney.