LaGRANGE — A man accused of pointing a gun at a taxi cab driver and threatening her pleaded guilty Monday afternoon in Troup County Superior Court.
JaCorey Bray, 23, of LaGrange was charged with aggravated assault, theft of services, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and two counts of violating the street gang terrorism and prevention act.
According to court documents, on July 10, 2015, just after 11 p.m. a taxi driver dropped Bray off in the 100 block of Wright Street. He attempted to run from the car without paying, but the driver caught up with him.
The document states Bray pulled out a semi-automatic handgun, pointed it at the driver and threatened her life.
Troup County Chief Assistant District Attorney Monique Kirby told the court Bray committed the crime just a few months after being released from prison.
Kirby stated Bray previously spent seven years in prison.
He was 15 year old when he was sentenced the first time.
Retired presiding Judge Robert Mallis, who filled in for Judge Dennis Blackmon, told Bray’s mother he was concerned for her son’s future.
“I learned that a person comes out of prison the way a person wants to come out of prison,” he said. “… Why that didn’t register with your son, I don’t know.”
“I just don’t want to see my son spend the rest of his life in prison,” she responded.
“I don’t either,” Mallis stated. “But it seems seven years in prison didn’t impress upon him to follow the law.”
The judge then asked Bray if he had anything to say before he was sentenced.
“I just ask you to have mercy on me,” Bray said. “Judge, I have a son … I can’t even be around him … I did take classes … I’m trying to get a GED. I’m trying … I just want another chance.”
Silence filled the courtroom as Mallis looked through the charges against Bray.
“Mr. Bray, you’re asking the court to show mercy because you have a 3-month-old son,” the judge stated. ” … But did you know the mother of your child was pregnant when you committed this act in July of 2015? You weren’t thinking about that child in July of 2015, were you?”
“Yes sir,” Bray replied. “I want to be able to get back out there and tell my son I did do something good. Have mercy on me.
“I never hurt anybody in all the cases I had,” he continued. “I never had an assault. I never hurt no one.”
In the end, Mallis sentenced Bray to a total 20 years in prison to serve 10. The remaining 10 years will be probation.
The judge also had some very stern words for the defendant.
“How you could leave the prison system … and turn around and commit another serious crime a few months later is beyond me,” Mallis told Bray from the bench. “If you violate your probation, commit and are convicted of another crime, you will spend the rest of your life in prison. … You have to be held accountable for the acts you commit. I hope you understand that.”
Bray was immediately taken away by Troup County sheriff’s deputies to start serving his 20-year sentence.
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.