Vicious assault on off-duty officer results in 35-year sentence

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Michael Gene Jones

On Tuesday, December 3, Judge Kathleen Hamilton of the 359th District Court of Montgomery County sentenced Michael Gene Jones to 35 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for the attack on an off-duty senior sergeant with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office on December 10, 2016.  The attack occurred at the Summerhill Food Mart on Sorters Road in east Montgomery County.  A jury had been selected to hear punishment evidence, but after the presentation of two prosecution witnesses and video of the attack, Jones, 17 years of age at the time of the attack, decided to plead guilty and accept a 35-year sentence for Aggravated Robbery.

Just prior to the attack, the MCSO Sergeant and his wife pulled into the Food Mart parking lot. As he went into the store to get ice, his wife remained in their truck.  He came out of the store and went to the back of the truck.  While putting ice in the back of the truck, he was viciously and unexpectedly struck by an individual wearing a white cap, later identified as 17 year-old Michael Gene Jones, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. The off-duty officer was struck with such force by Jones that he was knocked into the pump area next to the driver’s side of his truck. The DA’S Office says Jones was then joined by his co-defendant, Isreal Hunter, and the two of them struck the off duty officer again and knocked him to the ground.  While the Sergeant was reeling from the attack, Jones and Hunter then attempted to take his wallet.  Additional evidence later collected showed they were trying to take his truck.  The off-duty Sergeant’s wife, upon seeing the vicious attack on her husband, got out of the truck and began chasing Jones through the lot with her firearm in hand.  Several shots were fired.  Jones and Hunter ran back to their red pickup truck and left the scene.  Food Mart video showed that the red truck was driven to the scene by Jones and was seen circling the parking lot around the victim’s truck.  It was later discovered that the red truck driven by Jones was stolen the day before from its owner in Houston, who tried to thwart that theft.  Jones and co-defendant Hunter were later arrested in Houston on Aggravated Robbery warrants based on their attack at the Summerhill Food Mart. 

The off-duty Sergeant was transported by EMS to Houston Northeast Hospital, where he was found to have a broken jaw with two separate fractures.  His injuries required surgery with arch bars and plates.  His jaw was wired shut for several weeks during which he was unable to eat solid food or return to work.

 The DA’s Office says at the time of the Summerhill attack, Jones was found to be on four separate juvenile probation sentences out of Harris County, including juvenile probations for robbery, burglary of a habitation, evading and theft.  That robbery case involved a store loss prevention officer, who Jones struck in the face during a shoplifting incident.  After remaining in Montgomery County Jail for over a year, Jones was able to post a $100,000 bond.  While on bond, Jones was taken into custody for the felony Evading Arrest or Detention in a Vehicle.  This followed a 60-plus mile chase of Jones, driving a Cadillac at speeds up to 140 MPH, by Conroe Police Department officers from a Conroe Walmart store to a neighborhood in Houston.  Jones was sentenced to a 10 years concurrent Texas Department of Criminal Justice sentence for the Evading offense.

The case was a multi-agency effort to identify Jones and his co-defendant and to obtain their arrest and subsequent prosecution.  Agencies involved in the investigation included Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office deputies, investigators and detectives, the Texas Rangers, Precinct 4 Constable’s Office and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.  Jones’ co-defendant Isreal Hunter pled guilty earlier this year and was sentenced to 25 years in TDCJ by Judge Hamilton, following a sentencing hearing.  Both Jones and Hunter will not be eligible for parole until they have served at least half of their sentences.  Eligibility for parole does not guarantee that parole will be automatically granted. 

“Based on the circumstances of his plea, it’s clear that this youthful violent criminal did not want a Montgomery County jury to pass judgment on him for his vicious attack on a Montgomery County citizen who happened to be an off duty police officer.    His sentence insures that he will behind bars for many years, if not decades, said Assistant District Attorney Jim Prewitt.  “We are fortunate the victim and his wife were not even more seriously injured, although this attack has certainly had an impact on their lives going forward.  Many thanks to the agencies whose work insured the successful apprehension and prosecution of the two defendants.”

  “This brave and faithful public servant, along with his wife, was simply trying to enjoy a rare day off when these two Defendants so cowardly and brutally attacked him.  It was clear from Jones’ actions and his prior criminal history that a significant separation from the rest of the community is the only hope for the safety of us all and the only appropriate response to this serious crime,” said District Attorney Brett Ligon.

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