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Prosecuting and Defense Attorneys React to Brooks' Punishment

Jamell Brooks gets 20 years in prison plus a fine after being found guilty of the aggravated assault of a peace officer.
    On September 10, 2011, Wichita Falls police were dispatched to a shots fired call near downtown Wichita Falls.
    James Suter, assistant district attorney and lead prosecutor in this case, says, "Sergeant Sheehan arrived on scene and found a man with a gun. He confronted that suspect, attempted to detain him at that time, but the suspect would not comply with his requests."
    Suter says brooks then fled to his apartment in the 11-hundred block of Austin St., and Sheehan followed.
    "The suspect confronted him with the handgun and raised it in Sergeant Sheehan's direction, which left him no choice but to take action," Suter says.
    Prosecutors say Sheehan shot brooks in self-defense, but defense attorneys argued that Brooks' hands were up when their client was shot.
    The jury ultimately decided Brooks did threaten Sheehan with his weapon.
    Scott Stillson, assistant public defender and co-defense attorney for Brooks, says, "Obviously we're disappointed that Mr. Brooks was found guilty. Mr. Brooks has always maintained his innocence, and I believe that he is innocent, but we do respect the jury's verdict."
    The normal range of punishment for a first-degree felony starts at five years, but Brooks' charge was enhanced because he has one prior felony conviction.
    His punishment range was 15 to 99 years or life in prison.
    Jurors recommended a 20 year prison sentence plus a fine.
    "We're happy that it's only five years off the minimum," Stillson says.  "Hopefully that will give Mr. Brooks a chance to have a life outside of prison."
    "I'm pleased with the jury's verdict," Suter says.  "I think they did a lot to protect the officers of this county and I think they sent a strong message to the community that one of the things you do not do in our society is confront officers with deadly force."
    Brooks' previous felony conviction was for manufacture or delivery of an imitation controlled substance out of Missouri.
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