Man Sentenced to 99 Years For Kicking Police Officer
|thenorthstar||Oct 15, 2019|
A man in Texas was sentenced in September to 99 years in prison for kicking a cop and drunk driving, authorities said.
Donnie Mills, 59, was speeding on a highway in Denison, Texas in April when he was pulled over by police officer Chris Bell, who smelled alcohol on his breath, KXII reported. While Mills was in the hospital to give a blood sample, he allegedly threatened the police officer and kicked Bell in the face.
Police body cam footage obtained by the news station shows Mills kicking Bell in the face while officers attempt to secure him to a gurney. The officer was not severely injured, the news station reported. Court records obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram state Mills was charged with driving while intoxicated, assaulting a police officer, and obstruction or retaliation.
Mills pleaded not guilty, causing the case to go to trial. On September 26, Mills was sentenced to almost 100 years in prison.
“Assistant District Attorney Don Hoover prosecuted the case and states that ‘Mills’ actions and behaviors that night endangered not only citizens on our roadways but law enforcement and EMS personnel who were just doing their jobs.’ Mills‘ blood alcohol content was nearly two and a half times the legal limit,” a statement from the Grayson County Criminal District Attorney’s Office read following Mills’ sentencing.
Mills was previously imprisoned for drug offenses, aggravated assault on a public servant, burglary, and driving while intoxicated, the Herald Democrat reported. Prosecutors said this was Mills’ fifth offense of driving intoxicated, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He will be eligible for parole only after serving 24 years.
Earlier this month, former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was convicted of the murder of her neighbor Botham Jean. On October 2, Guyger, 31, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
On September 6, 2018, Guyger murdered the 26-year-old accountant in his apartment in Dallas after allegedly mistaking the apartment for her own and thinking Jean was a burglar. The former police officer was fired from the Dallas Police Department after the murder.
After the jury delivered the guilty verdict, Guyger was booked into the Dallas County jail, The Dallas Morning News previously reported. She is the first Dallas police officer to be convicted of murder since the 1970s.
Another odd sentencing occurred earlier this month when a 21-year-old Black man was sentenced to 10 days in jail for missing jury duty.
Deandre Somerville from West Palm Beach, Florida told WPTV earlier this month that he had been sworn into a civil case as a juror in August, but overslept the day he had to return to trial. Somerville said he did not call that day to notify the jury office and was subsequently served with a subpoena to appear before a judge a few days later.
“I should have called,” Somerville previously told NBC News. “But I was kind of nervous. I also went online to look up what could really happen, and I didn’t really see too much there.... [It looked like] nobody actually ever really went to jail for it.”
Somerville, who works for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, told WPTV that he apologized to the court that day for not returning to the trial.
“I said, ‘Sir, honestly I overslept and I didn’t understand the seriousness of this.’ He asked me if I had a criminal record. I said, ‘Sir, I’ve never been arrested,'” Somerville told WPTV.
But the 21-year-old’s apology did not go over well with the judge. Court records obtained by the news station stated that the office tried to contact Somerville that day but could not reach him, and ultimately, the court was delayed for over 45 minutes. Palm Beach County Circuit Judge John S. Kastrenakes held Somerville in criminal contempt of court.
“When a juror is selected and sworn, the administration of justice in this courthouse depends on you following the orders of the court,” Kastrenakes said, according to court records obtained by NBC News.
Somerville was sentenced to 10 days in jail, placed on probation for a year, ordered to complete 150 hours of community service, and had to write an apology letter to the court, WPTV previously reported. He was also required to pay $223 to cover court costs.
“This was an immature decision that I made and I paid for with my freedom,” Somerville wrote in his apology letter. “I am extremely sorry for my actions. I also sincerely apologize for delaying the trial by 45 minutes and not being considerate of other people’s time.”
“I know I may have to live with a record that follows me for the rest of my life,” the letter continued. “This was definitely a learning experience and a wake-up call for me.… I’m determined to not let this define who I am and what my future will be.”
After Somerville’s case garnered national attention, Kastrenakes rescinded the probation order and cleared the conviction from Somerville’s record, The Washington Post previously reported.
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.