Conroe, March 22 – 435th District Court Judge Patty Maginnis sentenced James Dwayne Crowley, Jr., 49, to life in prison for Aggravated Robbery, a first degree felony after a jury trial.
During the trial, the Montgomery County jury learned that at 5:30 a.m. on October 18, 2015, Crowley entered the Flying J truck stop in New Caney, Texas and held store employees at gunpoint demanding they open the store’s safe. Evidence at trial showed that in the process of emptying the safe, Crowley discharged his firearm which ricocheted and struck the victim, Connie Prior of New Caney. Video surveillance showed that Crowley had entered the store multiples times in the hours preceding the Aggravated Robbery, stealing store merchandise and casing the store to determine the location of the safe. In an attempt to conceal his identity, Crowley changed parts of his wardrobe each time he entered the store. The jury heard DNA evidence linking Crowley to the crime scene and saw the internet search history on the defendant’s phone showing that in the hours following the robbery he searched for local defense attorneys as well as news stories relating to an Aggravated Robbery at the Flying J. The jury found Crowley guilty in about seven minutes.
During the punishment phase of the trial, the judge learned that Crowley had been to prison at least twice for a total of six different felony offenses, including Burglary of a Building, Burglary of a Habitation, Theft, Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Possession of a Weapon in a Penal Institution, and Attempted Murder. In 1989, a jury sentenced Crowley to 99 years for Attempted Murder. The defendant was released on parole on February 14, 2012. Due to Crowley’s extensive criminal history, his range of punishment was 25 years to Life in prison. Following the punishment phase, Judge Maginnis sentenced Crowley to Life in prison on this charge.
Amy Waddle, Lead Prosecutor, said “Despite his efforts to conceal his identify, the jury had no issue determining Crowley’s guilt. Crowley has demonstrated his lack of regard for the lives of others by repeatedly committing violent crimes and I believe the Judge recognized that the only way to prevent him from endangering anyone else was to sentence him to Life in prison. Violent offenders should know that Montgomery County does not take these crimes lightly.”
Wesley Leroux, Deputy Prosecutor added, “Crowley has long history of deadly conduct, which did not change after sitting in prison for almost 23 years. The hard work of Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office detectives made this a quick decision for the jury, and Judge Maginnis sent a strong message to violent offenders in Montgomery County.”