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Rains given maximum for aggravated assault
Trinity Standard -
GROVETON – The “trigger-man” in a 2008 shooting that left one woman wounded and lead to the death of a sheriff was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Trinity County jury last week. Ricky Dalon Rains was found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on Wednesday, April 11. Assistant District Attorney Bennie Shiro asked the jury to give Rains the maximum punishment allowed by law for the crime and they did. In addition to sentencing him to 20 years in prison, the jury also assessed a $10,000 fine. The incident began during the early morning hours of Nov. 27, 2008, in the Pinecrest Estates subdivision south of Trinity when Rains was asked to leave a gathering at a residence there. Testimony indicated that before leaving, Rains used his car to strike two other people at the residence and attempted three times to strike another by putting his car in reverse and then forward and then turning around. The evidence at the trial indicated that Rains then went to the residence of Joey Gray where he enlisted his help and the help of another to commit a drive-by shooting at the Pinecrest residence. Gray subsequently entered a guilty plea to his part in the crime and is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence. During Rains’ trial last week, Gray testified that the three left his residence in a pickup and drove to the Pinecrest residence. As they drove by the residence, Gray said Rains fired an SKS assault rifle into the home. One person, Chason Breward, was hit by one of the bullets and was transported to East Texas Medical Center-Trinity before being transferred to ETMC-Tyler where she was treated for several days. Breward also testified during last week’s trial. Former Sheriff Brent Lee and a deputy had initially responded to the hit and run incident and later returned to the scene after the shooting. Lee returned to Trinity to check on Breward at the Trinity hospital and was traveling back to the scene for the third time that night when he lost control of his patrol car in the early morning fog. He was killed when his car struck a tree near the entrance of the Pinecrest subdivision. The investigation into the shooting incident went “cold” for a time, according to Texas Ranger Pete Maskunas, who testified during the trial. The case started gaining momentum when Rains was on trial for running into the three people at the residence. At that trial, an informant approached the District Attorney Investigator Travis Haygood with a name of another who had information that could tie Rains and others to the shooting. Another break was received when the person identified by the informant was arrested in connection with a homicide investigation in Huntsville. While in custody, this person gave information to Haygood and Maskunas that lead to the arrest of Gray and Angelia Fannin, who provided investigators with information about the shooting. “I am glad that this is finally done after nearly three years,” Shiro said. “I hope this brings a little closure to all those families involved in this sad day for Trinity County. “This case started a long time ago, but Travis (Haygood) would never give up looking for that one piece of evidence to bring Rains to justice. He did a great job and without his persistence, this case might very well remain unsolved. “Like I told the jury this was always a maximum case to me. They agreed and sentenced Rains to the maximum 20 years and a $10,000 fine,” Shiro added.