Vance Ray Gwinn, formerly of Morton Valley, is now an inmate awaiting transfer to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Institutional Division on four separate sentences for his crimes. On May 17, 2017, Gwinn was sentenced to 99 years confinement for the offense of Aggravated Assault Causing Serious Bodily Injury; 99 years for the offense of Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity and 99 years for the offense of Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine, 1 gram or more but less than 4 grams.
Additionally, Gwinn entered a plea of guilty to Bail Jumping and Failure to Appear and received a 20 year sentence.
Previously on September 30, 2016, Gwinn was set in the 91st District Court to be sentenced on the three original felony cases and subsequently failed to appear. Gwinn had been on an electronic monitor but removed the device and fled. His bonds were declared insufficient and warrants for his arrest were issued.
The Eastland County Sheriff’s Office working with the Texas Rangers and U.S. Marshall’s Service located Gwinn and his wife, Debra Joy Smith Gwinn, shortly thereafter in the Nuevo Laredo area of Mexico. The U.S. Marshall’s office worked with Mexican authorities to arrange for the capture of Gwinn and his wife and on May 12, 2017, both were taken into custody and transported to the United States. The Eastland County Sheriff’s Office took custody of Gwinn on May 16, 2017 and brought him to the Eastland County Jail.
Debra Joy Smith Gwinn also entered a plea of guilty to Hindering Apprehension and Prosecution of Known Felon and was sentenced to ten years confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, suspended with community supervision for a period of ten years. Mrs. Gwinn was probation eligible because she had not previously been convicted of a felony.
Criminal District Attorney Russ Thomason stated “Fleeing from justice is an overall bad idea – in fact, additional charges and punishments can apply.” “Criminals who flee to another state or country will eventually be caught and face extradition back to the jurisdiction where the crime occurred.”
91st Judicial District Judge Steven R. Herod sentenced Gwinn to prison in the 91st District Courtroom of Eastland County. Criminal District Attorney Russ Thomason prosecuted the case with John Stickels of Fort Worth representing Gwinn.