ATHENS — A Henderson County jury Thursday sentenced Richard King Morris, 62, of Chandler, to life in the penitentiary for a September 2012 early afternoon DWI on FM 315 south of Chandler. KETK reports Morris pleaded guilty before a jury was selected to hear evidence and assess a punishment. The sentence was handed down after two days of testimony. During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence of seven prior DWI convictions and multiple DWI arrests of Morris dating back to 1971.
DPS Trooper Joe Gomez testified that he received a dispatch to a one-vehicle wreck on FM 315 South of Chandler near the Wildewood Subdivision entrance. Upon his arrival, Gomez discovered a late model GMC pickup crashed into a utility pole. The pickup had sustained damage to the front. Witnesses at the scene informed Gomez that the man involved in the crash, later identified as Morris, had already been transported to ETMC Tyler. One witness saw Morris buying gin at a liquor store just prior to the wreck. The same witness stated he was behind Morris until the crash and witnessed him weaving and swerving, nearly running a van off the road. The witness pulled up beside Morris in the oncoming lane and noticed Morris was passed out behind the wheel with the vehicle heading North on FM 315 just prior to impacting the utility pole.
DPS Trooper Glen Davenport testified that he traveled to the hospital to interview Morris, who was being evaluated for injuries. Medical personnel at the hospital discovered no injuries, but did take a sample of blood from Morris at the request of Davenport after Morris consented to the draw. A subsequent test of the blood from DPS crime lab scientist Karen Ream revealed that Morris’s BAC was over .40, more than 5 times the legal limit.