Upshur County man sentenced to life for aggravated assault and driving while intoxicated

UPSHUR COUNTY (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Upshur County District Judge Lauren Parish sentenced an Upshur County man Wednesday to life in prison for the charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and felony driving while intoxicated, also with a deadly weapon, according to a press release from Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd.

Joseph Donald Smith, 58, will have to serve at least 30 years before he is eligible for parole, according to the release. The District Attorney's Office filed an enhancement notice to change the sentencing range to 25 years to 99 years or life in prison because of multiple felony convictions, the press release stated.
The trial took place in the 115th District Court. Judge Parrish assessed life in prison for the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and 50 years in prison for the felony driving while intoxicated charge.

According the press release, on July 23, Smith rammed his truck into the car of Brandi Randel on U.S. Highway 271, causing her to spin off the roadway 400 feet before coming to a stop. Before running into Ms. Randel, Smith had bumped her car from behind on as she traveled on the highway.

After he was arrested, Smith's blood alcohol was found to be two times the legal limit, according to the press release. Evidence showed the defendant did not know the victim and that the defendant committed this crime without being provoked, the release stated.

Smith has committed multiple felony offenses going back to 1975, according to the release.

Defense attorney Dwight Brannon represented the defendant, and Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd and Assistant District Attorneys Natalie Miller and Camille Henson prosecuted the case.


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