Man gets life sentence for robberies

James Lee Williams

A Port Arthur man has been sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of robbing multiple Port Arthur residents. 

James Lee Williams was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury Dec. 15, 2011 for aggravated robbery. 

The initial robbery, to which Williams pleaded guilty to in June 2012 and received 10 years probation, stemmed from a December 2010 robbery in Port Arthur. 

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Examiner, Williams and two other accomplices broke into the home of Joshua Arrant, a recently discharged Army veteran who had just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. Arrant and at least four other occupants — one of which was a 9-year-old child — were then held at gunpoint after a short brawl with Williams, who was unmasked in the melee. 

“Arrant was able to remove the mask of this assailant and look directly at his face in the light as Arrant held the robber by the throat up against the refrigerator,” the affidavit reads. 

After cleaning out Arrant’s home, Williams and his accomplices were later caught by police when they tried to sell much of the stolen property. Police were also able to attain a description of the getaway vehicle, which was found at Williams’ residence. 

But after pleading guilty to the crime and being set free, it wasn’t long before Williams was again in trouble with the law. 

Little more than a year later, Williams would be caught up in another robbery. This time, he robbed a 73-year-old elderly woman, dragging her across her home and threatening her life, according to the victim’s testimony in Judge John Stevens’ Criminal District Court. 

Testimony over the course of more than an hour was bizarre, punctuated by Williams’ accusations that he was not being represented properly by his attorney and by pleas that police had forged his statement. Williams also requested to withdraw his earlier plea of guilty in the Arrant robbery, but was quickly denied. Williams said he didn’t sign his name on any statement and offered proof to Stevens’ court in the form of his signature: clearly signed in both cursive and print. Williams also denied testimony by the 73-year-old victim who identified Williams as the clear perpetrator who had dragged her through her house and threatened her life. 

Stevens wasn’t convinced and pointed to Williams’ signatures on two other court documents before revoking Williams’ probation and sentencing him to life in prison. 

“If you’ll look to this second page of the admonishments, you signed twice,” Stevens said. “Once in cursive and once in print. Gotcha!”