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Polk County Enterprise - Local News

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Leggett given 99 years

 

BY BRIAN BESCH
Enterprise staff
pcenewsroom@gmail.com

LIVINGSTON -- It took just under an hour for a jury to return the sentence of 99 years imprisonment for the trial Timothy Leggett at the Polk County Judicial Center in Livingston Monday. Leggett was found guilty Monday morning in the Oct. 12, 2012 shooting death of 16-year-old Rhett Cyrvin Lathan. He will serve at least 30 years before he is eligible for parole. The same jury returned in the afternoon to hear additional evidence before returning the maximum sentence "I am just very pleased," District Attorney Lee Hon said. "I think that it is certainly justice for the loss that was caused by the defendant in this case. I'm happy for the Lathan family and I hope this gives them some healing and some closure for the tragic loss on their part. I feel sorry for Timothy Leggett's family. They didn't do anything to deserve this, but he's responsible." Leggett, 32, was arrested May 20 and charged with first-degree murder. He has remained in jail since that time. Rachel Nicol Leggett, Timothy's wife, was originally arrested on Oct. 13 after she claimed responsibility for the shooting. She is expected to plead guilty to a third-degree felony tampering with evidence, Hon said. She is facing a punishment of up to 10 years in prison, which will be determined by a judge at a later date. Evidence shows Leggett waited 22 minutes before calling 911 for emergency help the night of the shooting. He had been perturbed about bottles and beer cans in the yard from some of the house parties that had taken place at the residence. "The yard was all trashed out and there's people sleeping in your bed," Leggett said in a recorded police interview. Leggett described the two boys in the truck as, "hollering, cussing and screaming" and "all hopped up on something." "I did not start firing shots until they spun around," Leggett said in the recording. "I did it just to scare them." Tanner Martin, who was with Lathan that night, exited the truck, went around to the driver's side and yelled out for someone to call 911. Upon his arrival to the emergency room, Martin said that Leggett had shot Lathan. Martin testified that the first two shots Leggett fired hit the truck, with five shots total. Leggett told police earlier that day he shot a rabbit, when asked the reason for gun residue on his hand. After checking in for probation on May 20, Leggett voluntarily met with Polk County Detective Craig Finegan and Texas Ranger Ron Duff. In the first hour of questioning, Leggett maintained the story of Rachel performing the shooting. After he was told of recordings police possessed, Leggett admitted to the shooting. Defense attorney Tom Brown established that Leggett had "below normal intelligence" and attended special education classes throughout his time in school. Lathan's father, Brian, was the last to testify, giving an emotional testimony of how his son's departure has left a void in his family's life. "The pain and misery is all still the same," Lathan said. "We don't feel any joy at all. That coward over there (looking at Leggett) can't look at me when I talk, but he could look at my son through a scope." Hon told the jury when a person commits crimes repetitively or perpetuates a crime of great magnitude, that person should be considered for a maximum sentence. "He shows an unwillingness to conform to our laws," Hon said. "At his property, he (Leggett) was the judge and jury. What justice did Rhett Lathan get? He (Leggett) has sentenced the parents to a life in prison." At the end of the hearing, Hon played a portion of the police interview with Leggett from May 20. When asked by officers what Leggett thought should happen to him, Leggett responded, "I should pay for what I did."

 

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