The first trial of newly-appointed Judge Lindsey Scott’s 252nd Criminal District Court has ended in a conviction for a Port Arthur man charged with impersonating a firefighter during a robbery.
John Michael Weatherly, 58, was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury Nov. 17, 2011 for impersonating a public servant, a third degree felony. Weatherly has also been indicted for robbery, a third degree felony and has a considerable criminal history of felony possession and assault.
Instead of allowing a court-appointed attorney to represent him in court, Weatherly entered into the jury selection phase of the trial representing himself without the assistance of an attorney.
Weatherly would later ask he be appointed a defense attorney on Tuesday, Feb. 25, due to what a prosecutor said was Weatherly's inability to "know the rules" of evidence and courtroom etiquette, but a new attorney wasn't able to keep him out of prison for impersonating a public servant. Weatherly was convicted the next day, Wednesday Feb. 26.
According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Examiner, Port Arthur police responded to 2831 Procter Street on Oct. 26, 2011 to find a citizen had detained Weatherly, who they said attempted to rob a store posing as a firefighter.
“The witness advised that the suspect entered the store wearing a yellow coat and a yellow fireman’s helmet,” the affidavit said. “The suspect told the clerk at the store that there was an accident down the street and that he needed to check the breaker box.”
The store clerk told police Weatherly walked to the back of the store and she helped him find the breaker box at which point Weatherly “talked into his hand as if talking into a radio stating 'I’m checking the breaker box,'" according to the affidavit.
But the store clerk became suspicious when she didn’t see a fire truck. It seems the clerk’s suspicions were valid, as the affidavit said Weatherly walked behind the counter and took a stack of lottery tickets.
It seems the clerk and a customer weren’t about to let Weatherly get away. The affidavit said a struggle ensued in which Weatherly was detained by the customer and clerk until police arrived.
Weatherly was arrested April 6, 2012 and booked into the Jefferson County Jail on a $20,000 bond for impersonating a public servant and $200,000 for robbery.
His trial ended in a 25-year sentence in Judge Linsdey Scott’s 252nd Criminal District Court.
According to a prosecutor, Weatherly must serve at least one quarter of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.