By the time he was 53 years old, Jerry Dean Billington had already been convicted eight times in Parker and Wise Counties for driving while intoxicated.
But apparently he still had not learned his lesson.
On Dec. 2, 2010, Billington was drunk – and behind the wheel again. This time he was in Tarrant County on his way to Lynn’s Saloon in Azle.
Azle police stopped Billington just before midnight in the 700 block of Boyd Road after noticing he failed to use his turn signal and had expired registration. Billington, who lives in Decatur, told the officer that he drank a six-pack of beer after work, was on his way to the bar, and had just bought beer so he could drink more when he got home.
During Billington’s trial last week in state district Judge Everett Young’s court, prosecutors Allenna Bangs and Dawn Ferguson presented evidence that Billington’s blood alcohol concentration was .14 – more than 1 1/2 times the legal limit. The jury also heard that he had at least eight previous DWI convictions and had been to prison six times before – four trips were for DWI.
The largest prison sentence he ever received was six years in prison – well, until last week.
On Friday a Tarrant County jury, obviously fed up with his reckless behavior, hammered Billington with a 35-year sentence.
“The jury sent a message that this sort of repeat behavior will not be tolerated in Tarrant County,” Bangs said. “It is time Mr. Billington understands that we are not going to let him take chances with other people’s lives anymore.”
Too bad he didn’t get the message the first eight times.
- Melody McDonald, Public Information Officer