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Theft yields 5 years


Eagle Staff Writer

A serial shoplifter was handed a pair of five-year prison sentences Thursday after pleading guilty to theft, robbery and assault of a public servant.

Brenham resident Mary Denise Jackson, 27, will serve the multiple sentences concurrently with a separate five-year theft sentence from Washington County.

The bulk of punishment delivered Thursday out of Brazos County stemmed from a September 2002 shoplifting incident at Dillard’s department store in College Station.

The charge was upgraded to felony robbery when Jackson and accomplice Tanya Ruiz sped from the parking lot to escape an off-duty College Station police officer who was moonlighting as a security guard for the department store.

Officer Kevin Roby still was positioned in their car window, trying to wrestle the car keys away from the duo, when the vehicle took off, he testified during Ruiz’s trial in April. The incident left a temporary red mark on his arm, he said, which made the upgrade possible.

Both women could have faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the robbery charge. Ruiz was sentenced to four years in prison during a contested sentencing hearing last Friday.

In addition to the five-year sentences, Jackson also was given two 90-day sentences for misdemeanor thefts that occurred after the Dillard’s incident. One of the thefts occurred at J.C. Penney in the same College Station shopping center as Dillard’s.

Jackson had pleaded guilty to the various charges in October and was offered the five-year sentences as part of a plea agreement for testifying against Ruiz if asked, prosecutors said. She also had the option of requesting a contested sentencing hearing.

“ It was left on the table and today she accepted,” Assistant District Attorney Bill Ballard said of the plea agreement.


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