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Rockwall jury sentences ex-con to 35 years in prison on drug charges after police chase

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ROCKWALL – A Rockwall County jury convicted an Arkansas resident and ex-con to 35 years in prison last week on the charge of Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine, after he was arrested in a police chase last year with a backpack containing 63 grams of cocaine and three loaded firearms.

James Marquette Bradley, 22, was arrested behind Loves Truck Stop Feb. 17, 2011 after he fled from a vehicle in a chase that involved Rockwall Police, Garland K-9 officers and a Department of Public Safety helicopter crew.

After an hour-long search he was found in a marsh behind the Loves Truck Stop suffering from hypothermia and was taken to the hospital.  Two officers also suffered injuries during the search.

He had been a passenger in a vehicle that was initially detained by Rockwall PD Officer Craig Goff on a traffic stop on I-30.

Bradley surprised prosecutors by changing his plea to “Not Guilty” in the middle of the hearing, after agreeing to plead guilty and go to the jury for punishment.

But, according to Rockwall Co. Assistant District Attorney Damita Sangermano, prosecutors were able to make last minute strategy decisions in order to successfully present the extra testimony necessary to prove the guilt of the defendant.

“That’s part of our job,” she said.  “Prosecutors have to be ready for the unexpected during trial.  I was proud of the way the office worked together to deal with the situation.”

Rockwall County Criminal District Attorney Kenda Culpepper lauded the extra effort officers exhibited at the scene.

“We citizens need to remember that law enforcement put their lives on the line every day for us,” she said. “By their verdict, the jury paid tribute to the bravery of the officers involved and appropriately punished the criminal.”

By J.J. Smith

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