A former Sherman attorney was sentenced Monday to Safe P, a lock-down state-run substance abuse rehabilitation facility, after pleading true to allegations that he had violated some of the terms of his deferred adjudication probation.
Lester Vance, 63, was placed on deferred adjudication back in September of 2018 after pleading guilty to charges of obstruction and or retaliation and assault causing bodily injury in the 397th state district court.
He was sentenced to eight years of probation with 200 hours of community service on the obstruction and retaliation charge and a year in county jail on the assault charge, which was pleaded down from the injury to an elderly/child/disabled person. The sentence on the assault charge was suspended for a year and he was put on probation for two years.
In October of 2017, Vance was indicted on charges of assault on a security officer, assault of emergency personnel, injury to a child/elderly/disabled person with bodily injury and obstruction or retaliation.
The charges of assault on a security officer and emergency personnel stem from an incident at Wilson N. Jones Regional Medical Center from back in February of 2017.
In a statement to the Herald Democrat at the time of that incident, Sherman Police said officers were called to WNJ and found Vance was involved in a disturbance inside the ER. An SPD representative said a security guard intervened and Vance started kicking the guard.
In court on Monday, Vance said he had been admitted in September into a privately run rehab facility called “The Last Resort” down near Austin.
Vance’s friend, Timothy Ayers, testified that he took Vance to the facility and checked him in after he found Vance living in a local motel. Vance testified that he was robbed and his car was stolen at that motel. He said he got the car back, but not the large sum of cash that was taken from his room.
Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Donnie Carter asked Vance a number of questions about the robbery and who had access to his possessions and/or room key. Carter said the incident sounded like something that might have happened after a long night of partying. Vance said he wasn’t partying, and he had taken three pain pills, used the hot tub in the room and then fell asleep. When he woke, he said, his money and his car were gone.
Carter also asked Ayers if he knew that Vance had not receive permission from probation to leave the county and go to the facility.
Ayers said he didn’t know the specifics of those discussions, but he would have thought that probation would have wanted Vance to get the help he needed.
When questioning others in the hearing, Carter pointed out that Vance wasn’t complying with other portions of the probation including having an alcohol monitoring system. Vance testified that the ankle monitoring system was medically a problem for him. Carter countered that he could have had another device issued and Vance said he tried a couple of times to pick up that other device but he was too late for the appointments. Vance also testified that the $75 a month for that alternative monitoring system was too much for him to pay.
Vance testified that he wanted to stay in the rehab he was currently in and then move from that into that program’s sober living program. He said he was getting both substance abuse counseling and counseling for his mental health. He said he suffers from anxiety. Vance broke down in tears talking about issues he said he faced.
Under questions from Carter about why he didn’t get a mental health evaluation completed as ordered by the court, Vance said he talked to a Dallas doctor but there was a problem with his payment for the services and he didn’t complete the evaluation.
Carter then asked Vance if he was told by court to get that evaluation at the Texoma Community Center. Vance said that the TCC evaluation was suggested to him.
In his closing argument before visiting Judge Carmen Rivera-Worley, Carter argued against allowing Vance to stay at the drug treatment facility he had picked for himself.
“He doesn’t get it,” Carter said of Vance. “He doesn’t get that he doesn’t get to pick” (and choose which orders from the court he will follow). Carter said Vance was a high risk probationer and he needs the kind of intensive supervision he will get a Safe P.
Rivera-Worley said she hopefully the help that Vance had found at “The Last Resort” will still be available to him after he is finished with Safe P. She remanded Vance into the custody of the sheriff until he could be transferred to that facility.