An East Texas man has been sentenced to 33 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder on Monday.
Christian Sibley, 22, of Longview, will spend the next 33 years in prison for the February 2015 murder of 22-year-old Jerrad Hunt.
Sibley entered his guilty plea in the 188th District Court of Judge David Brabham in Gregg County.
On Tuesday, February, 3, 2015, Longview police responded to a shooting around 10:30 a.m., at an Exxon gas station in the 3000 block of Estes Parkway.
While on scene of the shooting, police said Hunt showed up at a Longview hospital, by way of a private vehicle, with a gunshot wound. The injuries were life-threatening.
Longview Police Department Detective David Cheatham went to the hospital the day of the shooting because other detectives were at the crime scene at the convenience store, according to the Longview News-Journal.
After arriving at the hospital, Cheatham was directed to a man who initially gave a fake name. The man, later identified as Larry Pleasant, detailed his account of what happened at the convenience store.
Pleasant said he and Hunt stopped at the convenience store. He said after the pair were inside the store, Sibley came inside with another person.
Pleasant said he and Hunt then walked outside and were followed by Sibley. Pleasant told Cheatham he knew Sibley carried a gun in his car.
Hunt then walked toward Sibley and began hitting him to try to keep him from getting his gun, according to Pleasant. Pleasant said Sibley then shot Hunt in the stomach.
Cheatham states in an arrest warrant for Sibley that police reviewed surveillance video from the convenience store. He also states that he interviewed Sibley the day of the shooting after he came to the police department with his lawyer.
Sibley said during the interview that he and Hunt had been in “an altercation” three or fourth months prior to the shooting in Kilgore. Sibley said on the day of the shooting he waited for Hunt to leave the convenience store and then walked out to his car. Hunt then came over to Sibley’s car and started “running his mouth,” he said. Sibley said he told Hunt to go away and sat down in his car, but that Hunt then attacked him and that they fought in the car, the warrant states. Sibley then said the gun “fell in his lap.” He said the gun went off as the pair fought over control of it, then Hunt ran off.
Sibley denied having a gun during the altercation. He told Detective Cheatham that Hunt had the gun that went off during the struggle.
Cheatham states in the warrant that a bullet fragment was recovered from Hunt’s body during surgery.
Longview Police Department Public Information Officer Kristie Brian said Sibley was allowed to leave following his questioning because the time limit to make an arrest after the incident had expired. Sibley’s lawyer promised his client would turn himself in to authorities when an arrest warrant was issued.
Hunt died from his injuries on Monday, February 23, 2105.
Sibley was arrested on February 27, 2015 for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the shooting of Hunt. He posted bail on Monday, March 2, 2015.
Sibley was arrested again on March 25, 2015, when the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge was upgraded to murder by Gregg County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace B.H. Jameson following Hunt’s death, according to the Longview News-Journal. He was released on $250,000 bond the same day.
On Monday, April 27, 2015, Sibley was arrested and had his bond increased on a misdemeanor escape from custody charge and one county of unlawfully carrying a weapon stemming from a 2013 shooting incident in which Sibley, still handcuffed, ran away from officers as they were escorting him from a local hospital to a patrol car. Police caught up with Sibley shortly after his escape. His bond was increased to $20,000 for an escape from custody charge, up from the original $10,000 amount. Due to bond rules of an affidavit of incarceration, in order to make bond, Sibley would have to post the $20,000 for the escape charge in addition to again posting a $250,000 bond for the murder charge, reported Longview bail bondsman Thomas Snoddy, according to the Longview News-Journal. Sibley eventually pleaded guilty to the escape from custody charge. The unlawful carrying of a weapon charge was dismissed.