FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A man accused of randomly attacking a woman in downtown Fort Worth this week was the inspiration for legislation filed earlier this month aimed to enhance punishments against offenders with repeat misdemeanor convictions.
Georgia Chestnut said she feels numb after seeing David Thomas’s mugshot in the news again Wednesday for allegedly punching a woman.
Friday will mark one year since Thomas assaulted her in a similar manner as Jennifer Leedy.
“Tackled me to the ground, was on top of me, and just repeatedly punched me, and attempted to gouge my eyes out,” she said.
Chestnut initially thought Thomas would face a serious jail sentence for her assault.
“That he was going to go away for a very long time and not something like the 90 days he spent,” she said.
She wasn’t the only one frustrated.
“He has nine prior offenses, convictions. Five of those are assaults, but he always commits misdemeanors,” said Tarrant county District Attorney Sharen Wilson.
Wilson said, Chestnut’s case prompted her to proposed the new legislation that would enhance charges against suspects like Thomas who have repeat misdemeanor convictions.
“It’s like 16 percent of our Tarrant County Jail population have these multiple… they’re our frequent fliers, right?… multiple misdemeanor offenses,” she said.
State Representative Charlie Geren has already filed the bill.
It would allow a judge to elevate a class A misdemeanor charge to a state jail felony, if the defendant has 4 previous Class A misdemeanor convictions within ten years, resulting in a longer sentence.
He told CBS11 he doesn’t expect much opposition to getting it passed.
“There may be some people saying, ‘These are misdemeanors and they shouldn’t be jacked up to a state jail felony’, but if you’re gonna keep doing it, we need to get you off the street,” said Rep Geren.