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  1. #1
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    Bakari White Sentenced to 20 Years in 2009 TX Murder of Lamont Patton

    White’s last pretrial hearing set Thursday

    Bakari White returns to court in Nacogdoches Thursday for his final pretrial hearing. It will be the last chance for both defense and prosecution to make any motions to be considered by the court before his capital murder trial, which is scheduled for Oct. 12 in Nacogdoches.

    Nacogdoches County District Attorney Nicole Lostracco said a month lead time for the pretrial is not unusual and that she could not disclose any pretrial motions planned on her part. Capital murder charges may carry the death penalty in Texas.

    Bakari White, 26, was charged in September 2009 with capital murder in the death of Lamont Kenyon Patton who was discovered dead inside of a burning car on Laceyville Road in Nacogdoches County in August 2008. White was indicted for the crime by a Nacogdoches grand jury last April.

    Others arrested in Patton's death were Bob Moore II, who pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to five years in prison, and Schanda Handy, who pleaded guilty to the same charge and received a probated sentence.

    http://dailysentinel.com/news/article_cab23b54-bfac-11df-b292-001cc4c002e0.html

  2. #2
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    White gets 20 years in plea deal

    The man charged with capital murder for his involvement in the shooting death of Lamont Kenyon Patton, pleaded guilty Friday morning to the second-degree felony of arson and received 20 years in prison.

    The jury selection in Bakari Bransha White's capital murder trial that had been scheduled for Oct. 12 is cancelled. Jury selection for other cases will still be held.

    The decision to offer a plea of arson was one reached through a multi-agency meeting between the Nacogdoches Police Department, the Nacogdoches Sheriff's Office, the Nacogdoches County District Attorney's Office and in consultation with White's attorney John Boundy.

    The meeting is one which occurs every month to review cases, discuss strengths and weaknesses of cases and keep the flow of information between the agencies, Nacogdoches Police Chief Jim Sevey said.

    "What it does for us is if it's a strength or a weakness, then we try to stay involved in that conversation so we know what we're doing right, or that we need to strengthen our cases in areas," he said.

    In this case, the decision reached wasn't an easy one for anyone to make, Nacogdoches County District Attorney Nicole LoStracco said.

    "We can't prove who murdered Mr. Patton," she said. "We have tried every which way to prove who murdered him and we couldn't."

    White, 26, was charged in September 2009 with capital murder in Patton's death. Patton's body was found inside a burning car on Laceyville Road in Nacogdoches County in August 2008. A grand jury indicted White on the charge last April.

    "The Patton family is relieved that the case is finally over, but does not believe that 20 years is punishment enough for the loss of their loved one," LoStracco said. "While the local law enforcement community agrees, they are sure that their offer to plead White was the right decision. This case represents one of the most frustrating aspects of our jobs as both officers and prosecutors. There is nothing worse than knowing that someone committed a terrible crime, but realizing that the evidence is not strong enough to give you the confidence to be sure that you can prove it to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Our hearts go out to the Patton family for their loss."

    She said every effort was made to fill in the gaps in the evidence.

    "This case was going to have complex evidence issues for both sides, and any time you have something like that, it's a roll of the dice to go to a jury," Boundy said. "So what happened is both sides compromised."

    Had LoStracco's office been able to provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt to the jury, White would have faced a punishment of life in prison. After serving five years of his sentence, White will be eligible to petition for parole.

    "After long and painful thought and reflection, this was the best decision for Bakari," Boundy said. "The bottom line is he's taking responsibility for his involvement in this terrible situation, and he just wants to get this behind him and get on with the rest of his life with his family."

    The biggest problem with the evidence in the case is the backpack in which a shirt with White's DNA was found, LoStracco said.

    The backpack appears to have belonged to White's brother, but there was no way to prove it arrived on the scene at the time the offense occurred, she said. Boundy had evidence that the dumpster the backpack was found in had been changed a number of times prior to the backpack being discovered, which was about a week after the offense.

    The state's witnesses wouldn't have been much help to compensate for that possibility, either, LoStracco said.

    "Unfortunately, all of the state's witnesses' criminal records were no less impressive than the defendant's," she said.

    That doesn't mean the witnesses statements are any less factual, but credibility does factor in when determining if a case would stand in court, Sheriff Thomas Kerss said.

    "In this particular case, the defendant accepted 20 years, and when you look at the factors involved, any time you take the case to trial, you don't know for certain what the outcome will be," Kerss said. "There was good physical evidence, but to help corroborate the physical evidence, there was also the witness testimony that was probably going to be problematic. At least with this plea agreement, you're guaranteed that 20-year sentence."

    Others arrested in Patton's death were Bob Moore II, who pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to five years in prison, and Schanda Handy, who pleaded guilty to the same charge and received a probated sentence.

    Andrew Devon Thomas, 28 of Lufkin, surrendered himself in March on a capital murder warrant for his involvement in the death, as well.

    http://dailysentinel.com/news/articl...cc4c002e0.html

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