Whitehouse man, 42, gets life sentence for third DWI case

SMITH COUNTY (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - A Smith County jury sentenced a Whitehouse man to life in prison Wednesday after he pleaded guilty that same day to a charge of driving while intoxicated, third or more offense.

Samuel Gentry, 42, had faced a punishment range of 25 years to life, and he will be eligible for parole after he serves at least 30 years of that sentence, Smith County Assistant District Attorney Jason Parrish said on Monday.

Smith County District Judge Jack Skeen of the 241st District Court took the plea on Wednesday, and a jury decided punishment on the same day. Although the DWI third or more charge is usually considered a third-degree felony, previous felony convictions bumped the charge up to a first-degree felony, Parrish said.

Gentry’s prior convictions date from 1987 with offenses such as robbery and burglary of a habitation, a felony escape from a jail in Franklin County and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, Parrish said.

U.S. Marshals arrested Gentry in Whitehouse on May 6 after he failed to appear for his court date on the driving while intoxicated charge, Parrish said. Gentry committed the offense on Oct. 3. Defense attorney Reeve Jackson is representing Gentry in his appeal.


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