GALVESTON – On Thursday, November
15, 2018, a Fort Worth resident, Jeramy Ray Birchell, was found guilty by a
Galveston County Jury and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for strangling his
girlfriend, and 5 years for grabbing, striking or pushing the victim out of her
car. These sentences will run concurrent. The defendant was charged
with two counts of assault, one for Assault Impeding Breath/Circulation with a
Prior Conviction (Strangulation), facing a range of punishment of a minimum 5
years in prison to a maximum of 99 years or life as enhanced. The second
count was for Assault by Dating Violence with a Previous Conviction, facing
between 2 and 20 years in prison as enhanced.
On December 12, 2016, a dazed,
disoriented and disheveled victim woke up on the side of the road after her
then-boyfriend, Jeramy Ray Birchell, punched, kicked and pushed the victim out
of her own car. He then strangled the victim and left her unconscious and
alone in the grass. After leaving the helpless woman on the side of the
road without her purse, keys or cellphone, he then absconded to Fort Worth in
the victim’s vehicle. A Good Samaritan encountered the victim after she
had regained consciousness, and called the police for help. Officer
Crosson with League City Police Department testified about the frail state of
the victim, and photographed the injuries he observed around her neck.
Nellie Loewen, a forensic nurse at The University of Texas Medical Branch,
described the dangerousness of strangulation, and how visible injuries only
appear in approximately 15% of strangulation cases. The jury also read a
letter the defendant had written the victim where he begged her to drop the
The defendant elected to have the
jury decide his punishment. During punishment, the jury learned about the
defendant’s extensive criminal history, which included 3 prior convictions for
assaulting women, the felony offenses of Burglary of Habitation, Driving While
Intoxicated with a Child Passenger, and multiple thefts. Assistant
District Attorney Neha Casturi argued the defendant’s prior convictions,
spanning over two decades, displayed the defendant’s total disregard for other
people or their property. The victim also testified about prior instances
of abuse inflicted by the defendant, including a prior episode where the
defendant left the victim stranded at a restaurant by taking her vehicle after
the victim had tried breaking up with the defendant.
Violence Against Women Prosecutor
Rebekah Saunders argued how the defendant’s version of the night of the attack
was illogical and not credible, which proved to be a critical piece of evidence
since domestic violence crimes occur in secret places at the defendant’s
choosing. At the conclusion of the punishment phase of trial, the jury
sentenced the defendant to 15 years in prison for strangling the victim, and 5
years for the other assaultive acts he committed against the victim that night.
Sentencing was held on Thursday, November 15, 2018 in the 56th
District Court. The defendant will be eligible for parole after he serves
one-quarter of his sentence in prison.
Birchell was prosecuted by
Assistant District Attorney Neha Casturi and Assistant District Attorney
Rebekah Saunders in the 56th District Court, with Judge Lonnie Cox presiding.
The District Attorney’s Office would like to thank the League City Police
Department and The University of Texas Medical Branch for their excellent work
in investigating this case.
Patrick H. Gurski
Assistant Criminal District Attorney
Galveston County Criminal District Attorney’s Office