Creech sentenced to prison, probation
Feb 14, 2013 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
It took a little more than an hour for jurors to sentence James Chancellor Creech, 24, to prison in connection with a June 2012 shooting at Mission Dorado.
Creech was convicted Wednesday of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, for which he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and assault on a public servant, to which he was sentenced to 7 years in prison probated. Judge Elizabeth Leonard will determine probation terms today.
Creech was also ordered by the jury to pay $10,000 in fines.
Police responded to 8112 San Antonio St. to a report of a shooting and found Steven Little lying on the ground in his blood with two gunshot wounds, one to the head and one to the neck. Little was later released from Medical Center Hospital.
Then when Cpl. Patrick Chadwick with the Odessa Police Department attempted to arrest Creech, who was walking a block away, Creech reportedly bit Chadwick.
During closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Tim Flathers said jurors need to consider justice for all parties, including the victim.
"When you think about what justice is in this case, too often at this point in the trial it becomes what's best for the defendant," Flathers said.
Defense attorney Michael McLeaish said since the incident, Creech has changed his ways.
Family members have told McLeaish that Creech has gone back to being a goofy, kind and caring person, like he used to be before he started using drugs such as synthetic marijuana and bath salts.
"It's pulled him away from the life he was living," McLeaish said during closing arguments. "He's conscious of his guilt and he's very remorseful for what he did."
McLeaish did not explicitly ask the jury to give Creech a lower sentence than the maximum 20 years, but he asked the jury for mercy on behalf of Creech.
After the sentencing, Flathers said he was pleased with the jury's decision.
He said it's the first case he's done with bath salts, and he doesn't expect it to be the last. Bath salts are chemically created drugs designed to simulate amphetamines, many of which have been made illegal. However, because of their chemical design, the drugs can be altered to skirt legal definitions.
"It's one thing when somebody's using drugs that everybody knows are bad," Flathers said after the trial. "That's something that's going to create a lot of challenges in the future."
Flathers said today will be the formal sentencing of Creech by the judge, at which point Leonard will set the length of probation.
Because the sentences run concurrent, Flathers said, any probation term that lasts longer than his prison term will be served outside of prison.
Contact Jon Vanderlaan on twitter at @OAcourts, on Facebook at OA Jon Vanderlaan or call 432-333-7763.
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