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The Daily Texan
April 25, 2003
Man to appeal 20- and 15-year sentences for assaults on UTPD By Anjali Athavaley (Daily Texan Staff) April 25, 2003
A jury in the 390th District Court issued a guilty verdict to Randy Lee Reece on Thursday, April 10, for the hit-and-runs of two UT Police Department officers a year and a half ago. Reece, 30, of Georgetown, received one 20-year sentence for the aggravated assault of Leeann Magill, a UTPD guard, and one 15-year sentence for the aggravated assault of Don Verett, a UTPD officer. He will serve the sentences concurrently and is eligible for parole in 10 years. Melissa Williams, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, said she believes the jury decided to issue a stronger sentence because Reece committed a double hit-and-run. The number of potential victims nearby also could have influenced the verdict, she said.
The hit-and-runs occurred near Royal-Memorial Stadium during the evening of a UT-Texas Tech football game. “I thought it was a very fair verdict under the circumstances,” Williams said. But Jamie Balagia, Reece’s defense attorney, said the outcome of the trial was far from fair. A psychiatrist testified during the trial that she diagnosed Reece with bipolar disorder after the hit-and-runs occurred. He had taken depression medication before, but it was not specifically prescribed for bipolar disorder.
“We were absolutely stunned by the sentence,” Balagia said. The defense, however, did not plead insanity to the two charges of aggravated assault. Reece did plead no contest to a third charge of resisting arrest. Reece had no recollection of the course of events that occurred that night, Balagia said. He was not intoxicated when the hit-and-runs occurred. On the evening of September 29, 2001, Reece hit Verett while driving a black Dodge pickup in the opposite direction of traffic on Robert Dedman Drive, a one-way street. Reece did not slow down as he approached the officer. “He was going the wrong way on all those streets,” Verett said. He continued onward to the 2200 block of San Jacinto where people were beginning to file out of the stadium. The pickup truck struck Magill while she was on duty, causing her several injuries including a broken ankle and a concussion. Earlier that day, police issued Reece a citation for running his truck through a park gate in Georgetown. About 80,000 people were in the stadium that day, said Donna Maga, the UTPD sergeant in charge of the investigation. Reece drove his car down San Jacinto as the game was drawing to an end. The defense will file a civil appeal and a motion for a new trial. Balagia said he hopes to contact the district attorney to negotiate a different sentence.