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Updated Wednesday, February 25, 2009 5:14 PM

Wichita Falls man gets 20 year sentence

Last week, a Grayson County jury in Judge Rim Nall's 59th District Court sentenced Ronnie Gene Mason, 20 of Wichita Falls, to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on one charge of aggravated robbery.

Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown said the case began on Aug. 15, 2007, when Don Thompson, a Sherman resident, was approached by two young men outside the Express Food Mart, a local convenience store, on East Lamar. One of the men asked Thompson for some cigarettes, and after he said he did not smoke, the young man pulled out a small silver handgun and demanded Thompson's wallet. Thompson gave the men $4, which was all the money that he had in his wallet.

The robbers left Thompson and got into a blue Lincoln Town Car, which Thomspon had noticed earlier in the parking lot of the business.

Thompson flagged down a Sherman police officer, and a description of the suspect's vehicle was broadcast. Thirty minutes later, Sherman Police Sgt. Kevin Garbacik located a vehicle matching the description given by Thompson. When police pulled the vehicle over, they found five young men inside.

Brown said after separating and interviewing the occupants of the vehicle, Sherman officers learned that at the time of the robbery, Ronnie Mason had been the getaway driver, while a 16-year-old juvenile and Rickey Earl George had been the individuals who had approached Thompson, with the juvenile having pulled the gun. The suspects threw the gun out of the vehicle before they were stopped by police, and the weapon was never located.

The charge against Mason carried a range of punishment from five to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Mason was also eligible for probation, as he had not previously been convicted of a felony. However, Assistant District Attorney Bobbie Peterson Cate called multiple witnesses in the punishment portion of the trial to show that Mason was no stranger to law enforcement.

Brown said an officer from the Gang Unit of the Wichita Falls Police Department testified that Mason was a member of a criminal street gang in Wichita Falls, known as the 107 Hoova Crips, a part of the national Crips street gang. The officer also told of multiple investigations conducted by Wichita Falls police into Mason's past drug use and dealing of narcotics. Sherman officers testified that Mason had been handled multiple times in drug related investigations, and that Mason had been arrested for possession of cocaine in a drug free zone in 2008, while out on bond for the aggravated robbery charge. Finally, a representative of the Grayson County Sheriff's Office testified that Mason had multiple disciplinary violations while incarcerated in the local jail, including assaults and criminal mischief.

"We appreciate the jury taking this guy out of our community," said Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown. "All of these young men were from Wichita Falls. Some of them may have relatives in town, but they were definitely up to no good. Every chance we can take to get rid of a drug dealing gang member like this, I hope the juries will do it."

The juvenile gunmen in the case was sentenced to the Texas Youth Commission, the equivalent to prison for juveniles, in 2008.

Charges against Rickey Earl George are still pending.



Comments ... 2 found!

: 3/2/2009
I think it is great that our system is putting this man away and I applaud Mr. Thompson's courage in testifying against him. I wonder however, how wise is it for the Herald Democrat to publish the name of a witness who is instrumental in putting away a member of a notorious gang?

Concerned Citizen

Good Deal!! : 2/26/2009
WAY TO GO RIM NALL!! Put this scum away for as long as the law allows! People like this do NOT deserve to walk the streets of OUR town! I hope they throw the book at this other piece of dung as well and give the 16-year-old whatever they can - you know and I know he is on his way to the big house!

Justice For All
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