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Jefferson Co. jury convicts aggravated robbery suspect
JEFFERSON COUNTY - by Lauren Huet
A jury found a Port Arthur man guilty of aggravated robbery today. The robbery was caught on surveillance video and played a key role in the trial of James Botley.
Prosecutors say, although Botley tried to disguise himself, the surveillance videos unmask him. The video was taken on Thanksgiving Day in 2012, at the Conoco Service Station in the 8900 block of 9th Avenue. It shows a man crawling over the counter and pointing a gun at the clerk. The man was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and his face is covered with a ski mask. He stole money from the cash register, ran out of the store, and drove away in a white Chevrolet Malibu. The clerk wasn't hurt, and testified on Tuesday.
Another video shows the man getting out of a white Chevrolet Malibu in the back of the convenience store before the robbery. His face is visible on camera.
The jury began hearing testimony Tuesday in Judge John Stevens' courtroom. A couple of Port Arthur Police officers gave testimony during the trial. Botley is represented by attorney Tom Burbank, who brought up in court that neither the gun nor the money were recovered.
"I feel that a couple of the elements of the crime weren't proven beyond a reasonable doubt. [Botley] probably will file a notice of appeal, but I think we're getting the cart before the horse," said Burbank.
The prosecution argued that the video clearly identifies Botley and there is DNA evidence tying him to the crime. The defense argued the DNA evidence was mixed.
The punishment phase begins Thursday morning. Botley was convicted of aggravated robbery in 2002, and the prosecution plans to bring that up tomorrow. Botley faces up to life in prison.