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Polk County Enterprise - Local News

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Gardener get 75 years for murder


Enterprise staff

LIVINGSTON – Several sentences were handed down in Judge Elizabeth Coker’s 258th District Court Tuesday. Among them was Nigel Gardener, found guilty in mid- October for the murder of his step-father Raymond Howell, and sentenced by Coker to 75 years for the murder charge and 10 years for retaliation, which will be served as concurrent sentences. During the hearing, District Attorney Lee Hon said at age 31, Gardener had accomplished “absolutely nothing” calling his work history “inconsistent” and “insignificant.” He added that Gardener had admitted during the presentencing investigation to smoking marijuana virtually every day since age 13 and also smoking meth. Based on that and the history of criminal behavior, Hon’s conclusion was that he had “no chance of being a productive member of society” and “plenty of opportunity to learn from his mistakes.” Hon also mentioned that there is a pending first degree felony charge of tampering with evidence in regard to the burning of Howell’s body and vehicle, which were found on a logging road off of FM 2500. The fire burned several acres of the heavily forested area before being spotted by a Texas Forest Service aircraft. Volunteer firefighters found the burned vehicle with the body inside. Investigators had to collect DNA samples from Howell’s family members to make a positive identification. No witnesses were called to the stand by either side. Poledore sentencing The final stone was laid in a series of murder trials and sentencing hearings for the perpetrators of the Kimberlin home invasion murder, perpetrated by five young men from the Houston area. Anthony Joshua Poledore was sentenced to a deferred adjudication probationary period of 10 years in accordance with his plea bargain, lowering the charge to aggravated robbery in the first degree. The leniency was given in light of complete cooperation in bringing the others involved to justice and the circumstances of the crime which Coker summarized as “the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people.” Poledore took the stand and told of his opportunity to meet with the Kimberlins, for which he was “truly grateful,” and offered a formal apology to the family for being involved in the crime. The prosecution did not cross examine him. Coker addressed Poledore, saying “The Kimberlins are practicing one of the basic tenants of Christianity – forgiveness. You are going to get a second chance, but it’s going to come with some conditions.” The conditions include: a $1,000 fine, the minimum community service hours mandated by the law for his offense, regular letters to the Kimberlin family during his probation, a visit to the grave of the deceased victim, Billy Kimberlin Jr., continuing his pursuit of a college education, and adhering to a 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. curfew. In a victim impact statement, Billy Kimberlin Sr. told Poledore, “I want you to know it’s been a tough journey for this family... Our son can never come home, but you can.” Kimberlin said. “You have a lot to make up for. You go and do what’s right. Please do that. Make something of yourself, because you’ve got your whole life ahead of you, and my son had [his] taken.” Kimberlin also told Poledore that he had a family that loved him “every one of them” and encouraged him to remember that. Poledore and many in his family wept. Afterward, Poledore’s mother and other members of his family hugged the Kimberlins and thanked them for forgiving their son. David Wayne Davis sentencing The plea and sentencing of David Wayne Davis was interrupted when he mentioned that he was about to pass out. Coker quickly directed her bailiff to bring up a chair. Once seated, Davis appeared to black out and became unresponsive to questions from his attorney and Coker. After a period of 30 seconds to a minute, Davis revived and assured the court that he was capable of continuing, citing low blood-pressure as the cause. Davis also said that it had happened several times in the past year, but that he didn’t have any medication for it. Coker was not satisfied, however, and insisted that Davis sit down and recover while another cause was processed. The court proceeded with Davis’ cause after he waited out another sentencing hearing with no apparent ailment. Coker sentenced him to 90 days in jail for his guilty plea to possession of a controlled substance: methamphetamines. Should Davis fail to present himself at the jail on the scheduled day he will be looking at a minimum twoyear prison sentence.


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