Roberts Sentenced to 75 Years for Shooting at Park

Vernon, Texas- A Vernon man was found guilty on Wednesday afternoon of three felony charges stemming from a shooting that occurred at a public park in Vernon earlier this year.

It only took the jury thirty minutes to convict Frederick Jerome Roberts, 27, of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, evading arrest with a motor vehicle, and unlawful possession of a firearm by felon. Roberts was arrested following a shooting at Christine Lyday Park in Vernon on April 8, 2014. On that date, the victim of the crime got into an argument with Roberts's girlfriend, Mikea Williams at the park. Williams pulled out a revolver, threatened the victim, and pistol whipped him. Williams left the park and returned a few minutes later with Roberts. According to several eye witnesses, Roberts jumped out of the vehicle and immediately began shooting at the victim. He fired five rounds from the revolver but none of the bullets ever struck the victim. The shooting took place around two o'clock in the afternoon and families with children were present.

Roberts and Williams then fled the scene in their car as the police were arriving. After a brief pursuit at high speeds and through residential areas, Roberts jumped out of the car and ran on foot. He was apprehended by Sergeant Wendell Smith at gunpoint within a couple of minutes. A .22 caliber revolver with five spent rounds and one live round was located within a few feet of the vehicle that Roberts was driving.

At the punishment phase of the trial, District Attorney Staley Heatly introduced evidence showing that Roberts had two prior felony convictions and sixteen prior misdemeanor convictions. The jury assessed a sentence of 75 years for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, 20 years for evading arrest with a motor vehicle, and 10 years for unlawful possession of a firearm by felon. In addition, the jury maxed out the fine assessing $10,000 in each case.

District Attorney Staley Heatly prosecuted the case while District Judge Dan Mike Bird presided over the trial.  Roberts was represented at trial by Jeff Eaves of Wichita Falls and Earl Griffin of Childress.