An 18-year-old Port Arthur man pleaded guilty Monday, May 13, to two counts of assault on a public servant after attacking two teachers in what the victims say was a violent and brutal display of aggression at Memorial High School in Port Arthur.
Jaylon Marquis Trahan was indicted Nov. 1, 2012 for the assaults on Richard Gohlke and Dr. Brenda Brooks-Coleman, two teachers who were trying to calm Trahan down after he returned to school October 15, 2012.
After watching video footage of the assault, Judge John Stevens said Trahan should be in jail.
“You rang a bell that can’t be un-rung,” Stevens said. “When you assault an educator, you can’t take it back.”
Stevens said Trahan deserves to have the third-degree felony on his record, adding his own mother was an educator in Port Arthur.
“My mother reared five children, went to college afterwards and was a teacher in the Port Arthur school district,” he said. “I can’t even imagine someone coming to punch her out for no reason.”
Trahan’s defense attorney said his client’s assault was an isolated incident as he has no criminal history. He said Trahan had experimented with synthetic marijuana that October day and was having a negative and violent reaction to the drug.
Stevens was unconvinced and sentenced Trahan to 10 years probation and 180 days in jail before he was taken into custody Monday.
After Trahan’s sentencing, Dr. Brenda Brooks-Coleman gave the court an impact statement, saying she’s been permanently scarred by Trahan’s brutal assault.
“I’ve been doing this for 27 years,” she said. “Even when I’m sick, I don’t miss work.”
Coleman said she had never met Trahan — who was 17 at the time — and didn’t know why he repeatedly beat her and other educators.
“He never stopped,” she said. “He just couldn’t stop.”
After 27 years of educating Southeast Texans, Coleman said for the first time she’s questioning her ability to work in education, having been permanently altered by the ordeal.
“I am not the same,” she said. “In the beginning, I didn’t sleep at all.”
Coleman went on to say 180 days in jail as a result of Trahan’s guilty plea isn’t enough.
“I work with at-risk students. I try to work with students. I understand they make mistakes,” she said. “But I also believe students should pay for the mistakes they make. There should be consequences.”
Clay Thorp can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 225, or by e-mail at clay [at] theexaminer [dot] com.