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Ray sentenced to 99 years for burglary, theft  

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On August 24, 2022, a Limestone County jury found Daniel Paul Ray guilty of Burglary of a Habitation. Theft of Copper and Theft of Aluminum. During the punishment phase of the trial, the jury found that Ray had previously been convicted of Aggravated Sexual Assault and Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration and then assessed his punishment at 99 years for the Burglary of a Habitation and 20 years of each of the Theft cases, which was the maximum sentence available for those offenses. Ray, who is 44 years old, will be eligible for parole when his actual time in TDCJ, along with any good conduct time earned, is equal to 25 percent of his sentence.  

On January 6, 2022, the Limestone County Sheriff’s Department arrested Daniel Paul Ray and charged him with Burglary of a Habitation and multiple thefts in connection with a burglary in the Prairie Hill community. The owner of the residence, upon receiving information that someone was on the property, confronted Ray and held him at gunpoint until the arrival of Limestone County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) Captain John Salazar and LCSO Investigator Scott Logan. Ray’s truck and the trailer attached to it was filled with the property owner’s items including copper wire. It was determined that Ray was also on the property the day before when the burglary of the home occurred and numerous other items were stolen, including aluminum wheels. Investigators also learned that Ray had recently sold scrap to metal dealers in Waco and Fairfield. 

A Limestone County grand jury indicted Ray on February 23, 2022. The burglary and theft cases were consolidated for trial, which began with jury selection on Monday, August 22. 

The jury heard from a witness who saw Ray’s vehicle on the property on January 5 and 6, then telephoned the owner’s family, and the property owner.  The jury also heard from officers who were involved in the investigation including Deputy Allan Stewart, Inv. Logan and Inv. Britney Knight, Capt. Salazar, Groesbeck Police Department (GPD) Officer Paul Cardenas and GPD Detective John Blanco, On Wednesday, August 24, the jury deliberated a short time before returning a guilty verdict on all charges, and the punishment phase of the trial began. 

During the punishment phase of the trial, the jury heard from 18 witnesses. Several of these witnesses described encounters with Ray during which he invaded their personal space, exposed his genitals, made unwanted sexual advances, and touched his own genitals. 

The State introduced evidence of Ray’s previous felony and misdemeanor convictions, including his aggravated sexual assault of a child, burglary of a habitation, and failure to comply with sex offender registration. LCSO Jail Captain David Turrubiarte, a former TDCJ assistant warden, testified as to Ray’s lengthy disciplinary history while serving his previous TDCJ sentences. 

Groesbeck Police Department Detective Autumn Cox and Mexia Chief of Police Brian Bell testified about criminal trespass warnings that had been issued to Mr. Ray. Criminal trespass warnings are issued to keep a person off of a business’s premises or away from a building or an individual’s residence. The State introduced 42 criminal trespass warnings that Ray had previously received--32 in Groesbeck and 10 in Mexia.  The Defendant called his ex-wife as a witness in the punishment phase. 

Burglary of a habitation is normally a second-degree felony with a punishment range of two to twenty years in prison. However, when a defendant has two prior felonies in sequential order and commits another felony, the defendant can be punished as a habitual felon which makes the punishment range from 25 to 99 years or life in prison. Theft of metal is a state jail felony and the punishment is normally 6 months to 2 years in a state jail. However, this punishment can also be increased with previous felony convictions as it was in this case making the punishment range from 2 to 20 years in prison. 

After hearing the evidence produced at the trial and at the sentencing hearing, the 7-woman, 5-man jury sentenced Ray to 99 years for the burglary and to 20 years in prison for each of the theft cases. The sentences will run concurrently. 

Limestone County District Attorney Roy DeFriend and Assistant District Attorney Jeff Janes tried the case, aided by Investigator Mark Blankenship.   Presiding over the trial was 87th District Court Judge Deborah Oakes-Evans. 

“Mr. Ray is a sex offender with a long record and a compulsion for indecency,” stated District Attorney Roy DeFriend.  “These verdicts should come as no surprise to Mr. Ray; it is what he deserves. We are thankful to an observant passer-by who saw something out of place and took the time to report it, and to the jury for handing down these maximum sentences. This dangerous individual has been removed from our community for a long time Justice has been served.” 

Assistant County Attorney Jeff Janes said, “I would like to commend the strong and 

courageous punishment witnesses who came forward to tell about their embarrassing and horrific encounters with Ray. Punishment should fit the crime and the criminal. These witnesses provided critical information about this criminal to assist the jury in making its decision.”  Janes also wanted the public to know that “We can’t prosecute cases like this without the cooperation of civilian witnesses so we really appreciate the cooperation of all the civilians who testified in this case.”

The Limestone County District Attorney’s office wishes to congratulate the Limestone County Sheriff’s Department, the Groesbeck Police Department, and the Mexia Police Department on the interagency cooperation and sharing of information which led to this conviction and lengthy sentence. 

Having been in custody since his arrest, Ray will continue to be held in the Limestone County Jail until transported to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Groesbeck Journal

P.O. Box 440
Groesbeck, TX 76642
Phone: 254-729-5103
Fax: 254-729-0362