A young father’s pleas for a second chance did not sway a Southeast Texas judge who sentenced him to a decade in prison after a Tractor Supply employee was robbed at gun point in Beaumont.
Renaldo Lee Carter, Jr., 22, on Wednesday was sentenced by 252nd Criminal District Court Judge Raquel West to 10 years in prison as part of a plea deal for the robbery that occurred at a Beaumont Tractor Supply in May 2019.
Carter previously pleaded guilty on the aggravated robbery charge. He agreed to a cap of 10 years in the Texas prison system with the dismissal of a second charge for evading detention with a motor vehicle.
“I have learned my lesson,” Carter told the judge. “I have learned to take full responsibility for my actions, I know if you gave me deferred probation, it’s going to give me a chance. And, with that chance, I’m going to become a better person.”
According to Jefferson County jail records, Carter was arrested a second time on Jan. 16 by the Port Arthur Police Department. He has been held at the jail on multiple charges, including aggravated robbery, evading detention with a motor vehicle, driving with no driver’s license, failure to maintain financial responsibility and unlawfully carrying a weapon.
Defense Attorney Tom Burbank said two people were allegedly involved with the Tractor Supply aggravated robbery, including Carter and employee Joseph Moore, who was going by the name Rob. Carter was on probation for a misdemeanor at the time of the offense, which was his first felony, according to Burbank.
Burbank told the judge that Carter’s father died. Carter is a young father himself with a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old. The high school graduate, who works at a restaurant and odd jobs, is expecting his third child in September, he added.
“The question is why is he doing that if he doesn’t want his children to follow in his footsteps?” Burbank said.
The lawyer said Carter had an attitude adjustment in part through conversations with his attorney and family.
Burbank asked the court to consider these factors and requested Carter be placed on deferred adjudicated probation for five years.
If Carter violated the probation, he would face 20 to 25 years in prison. He also noted a $4,000 restitution, which was required to be paid back to Tractor Supply by Moore and Carter, for what was taken and Carter’s responsibility for child support.
“We are asking that you give him a little bit of rope, or chain, to see whether or not he can prove to you on a very short chain that he could maybe become a productive member of seeing society,” Burbank said.
But State Prosector Luke Nichols noted that while Carter was already out on bond for this aggravated robbery charge that he committed a new offense of evasion with a motor vehicle in January at Port Arthur.
According to Jefferson County jail records, Carter was then arrested a second time on Jan. 16 by the Port Arthur Police Department. He has been held at the jail on multiple charges, including aggravated robbery, evading detention with a motor vehicle, driving with no driver’s license, failure to maintain financial responsibility and unlawfully carrying a weapon.
The car he was stopped in allegedly contained several firearms, including multiple handguns and an AR-15 rifle with a 50-round ammunition drum. At least one of the firearms came back as stolen and two other individuals were in the car, Nichols said.
“I don’t know if they were going to do a robbery or shooting or what, but I’m glad they got stopped. I’m glad that Port Arthur Police put them in custody at that point,” Nichols said. “My point is that that shows that he is out committing crimes while he is out on bond for this crime. I think it is impossible to feel the security defaulting on probation terms in this case if that is how he has been while out on bond.”
Nichols believed the 10-year term was a fair resolution in this robbery, which also endedangered another Tractor Supply employee.
“The young lady involved had a gun put up to her head and was forced at gunpoint to turn over money,” Nichols said during court. “And the other individual who was involved with this robbery was an employee who opened the back door for Mr. Carter to come in and do what he did. Restitution isn’t a reason to put him on probation, your Honor.”
Before Nichols spoke, Burbank discussed the firearms charge that stemmed from the second offense.
“Those guns were actually for codependence for other people in the car on that arrest of January 17, 2022,” Burbank said. “Of course, that is not smart for a person who has a pending aggravated robbery charge to be driving around with other people that have guns and things like that.”
The judge said she found it “hard to believe” Carter had learned his lesson and ultimately agreed with the state before handing Carter his sentence.
“You’re not even that old and you were on three probations when you committed this offense,” West said.
The probations were for evading arrest or detention, unlawfully carrying a weapon and resisting arrest or transport, she said. While on probation, he allegedly committed an aggravated robbery and then while on bond for aggravated robbery he allegedly evaded detention with a motor vehicle which contained the firearms, she said.
“I personally think the 10-year sentence is a gift,” West continued. “I don’t know that I really agree that it is enough, and I’m glad these guns are off the street and obviously you didn’t have any worry at the time about the fact that you were on probation and on bond pending going to prison for any aggravated robbery.”
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