Editor: Shannon Cottongame
June 9, 2022
A Hubbard resident was recently sentenced to 60 years in prison in a drug case heard in the 66th Judicial District Court of Hill County.
A jury was selected Monday, May 23, to hear a felony criminal trial alleging possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, in an amount of one gram or more but less than four grams with intent to deliver against Hubbard resident Keith Snell.
District Attorney Mark Pratt, who represented the State of Texas in the jury trial, put on witnesses who testified that the unemployed defendant had left his six-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old girl home alone late at night while the children’s mother was at work in order to go get more drugs.
According to information presented at trial, Hubbard Police Department learned that the defendant had two felony warrants and drugs in the home and, with the assistance of two deputies and a constable, they arrived at the home the following morning to execute the warrants after the children were safely elsewhere.
Snell was apprehended in bed, and drugs were subsequently located in a shoe box nearby.
The defense alleged that the re-entry into the home to recover the drugs was illegal, and that the civilian and law enforcement witness testimony was inconsistent. Pratt and Assistant District Attorney Ken Dies addressed those issues in closing arguments, and the jury found the defendant guilty in relatively short order.
Snell then requested that the presiding judge, District Judge Lee Harris, assess punishment.
Friday morning, May 27, Pratt put on records reflecting the defendant’s prior conviction in Tarrant County, where he received two years for burglary of a habitation, and in McLennan County, where he received seven years prison for assault family violence with previous conviction. In both prior cases, he started out with probation, which was later revoked.
Pratt argued that efforts in other counties to rehabilitate the defendant had failed. He said that the time had come to protect citizens from a man who has burglarized a home, assaulted women, endangered children, and dealt drugs to citizens. Pratt said that Snell, who is 40 years old, presents a danger to the community whenever he is not behind bars and has earned every day he receives as a sentence.
Judge Harris then pronounced a sentence of 60 years prison.
District Attorney Pratt remarked that he truly appreciated the jurors who showed up and paid such careful attention to the facts and evidence and swiftly found the defendant guilty.
“Those defendants who think they can avoid the long sentences that Hill County jurors have been giving repeat criminals by deciding to go before Judge Harris for punishment instead of a jury were given a clear reminder that Judge Harris is prepared to fairly and firmly dispense justice as well,” Pratt said.