Just weeks after being indicted by a Somervell County grand jury, several offenders, including Ricky Don Hankins and Edwin Earl Smith, appeared before Judge John Neill in the 18th District Court July 1.
Smith, along with his attorney Dick Turner, pleaded guilty to two counts of cruelty to non-livestock animals.
Smith was accused of shooting and killing two dogs from a deer stand in November 2008. The dogs were family pets and work dogs that belonged to Samantha and Don Rebstock.
The Rebstocks also pursued, and won, a civil case against Smith earlier this year. He was ordered to pay more than $2,500 in restitution.
Smith received five years deferred adjudication on the two criminal counts.
Hankins, represented by attorney Richard De Los Santos, entered pleas of not guilty to charges of failing to comply with sex offender requirements and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
Clifton Fred Bise, who was indicted on four counts of burglary of a habitation, one count of engaging in organized criminal activity and three counts of theft of a firearm, also pleaded not guilty.
Brice Jamison Mitchell, represented by Bob Glasgow, entered a plea of not guilty on charges of burglary of a habitation and engaging in organized criminal activity.
As one of the terms of his bond, Mitchell had to submit and pass a urine analysis drug-screening test. Glasgow told Neill that his client had something important to tell the court in the spirit of honesty. Mitchell then admitted to the judge that he had smoked marijuana on June 12.
“Here’s the deal, Mr. Mitchell, if you’re honest with me, I’ll be fair with you,” Neill said.
The judge went on to say that he would not hold a positive test result against Mitchell, but any future faulty test results would violate the terms of Mitchell’s bond and would land the teenager back in jail.
“This is the one break I’m going to give you,” Neill said.
Eric Blaine Humphreys also appeared in court on charges of burglary and engaging in organized criminal activity, but received a pass because his attorney Bill Mason could not be present.
Mitchell and Humphreys are accused of stealing a safe from a county resident before heading to Oklahoma, where Mitchell is a student at Oklahoma State University.