UPDATE: Man sentenced to 3 life terms for robbery after disrupting courtroom

Published on Tuesday, 10 June 2014 16:20 - Written by PHILLIP WILLIAMS, Special Correspondent

GILMER--A Leander man who had to be subdued Monday when he disrupted the courtoom was sentenced to three concurrent life terms Tuesday morning upon pleading guilty to three counts of aggravated robbery, said Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd's Office.

Robby Brian Stevens, 43, was sentenced by 115th District Judge Lauren Parish after a jury had been selected for his trial on Monday, and testimony was to open Tuesday. She ruled that he was a habitual offender, and made an affirmative finding that he used a deadly weapon in the robberies, said Lisa King, manager of the District Attorney's Office.

The defendant admitted the Dec. 28, 2013 robberies of the Family Dollar store in Diana, and two customers who were there at the time, pleading guilty to a two-count indictment and a one-count indictment, Byrd's office said.

Monday's disruption occurred when Stevens began calling Byrd and Judge Parish expletives, and tried to rip the defense table out of the floor, thus spilling water, Byrd said Monday night. Sheriff's Deputy Anthony Taylor and former Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Curtis Hollis subdued the defendant, who had to be tackled and was shackled, the district attorney said.

The disturbance occurred outside the jury's presence, said Byrd, who had said he expected two days of testimonly in the case, and that Stevens would be shackled during the trial.

Stevens was on parole on a charge of dragging a Houston police officer down a street, Mrs. King said. He was also released to Gregg County authorities at 9:40 a.m. Tuesday to face a robbery charge there, she said.

Gilmer attorney Brandon Winn represented the defendant in the Upshur County cases.