Smith County Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Biggs said 37-year-old Nicky Charune Agnew failed to report back to the court after lunch. In his absence, a jury found the man guilty and sentenced him to life behind bars.
Biggs said Agnew was arrested in March 2011 following a traffic stop by a Department of Public Safety trooper on Interstate 20.
He said that during the stop there were certain indications of criminal activity, so the trooper asked for a canine to be brought to the location.
In less than a minute, the canine alerted to the presence of narcotics, so troopers began searching.
“It took more than an hour before they found the hidden compartment in the car, but when they got into the metal box inside the compartment, they found three ounces of crack cocaine,” he said.
Biggs said he believes Agnew must have thought that the trial was not going well.
“I guess he figured his tricks wouldn’t work. It’s uncommon for a defendant to fight that hard and then not return to court. He and his family had been in court all week, but none of them returned after lunch when we were to begin the guilt innocence part of the trial,” he said.
Biggs said Texas law allows a trial to continue even if the defendant fails to show.
Biggs said the jury found Agnew guilty on the second-degree-felony charge, which had been enhanced because he had served time in prison twice.
Russell sentenced Agnew to life in prison, but Biggs said Russell cannot formally sentence Agnew until he is back in court.
Biggs said when Agnew is located he also could face failure to appear and third-degree felony bail jumping charges.