TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – A man, who Fort Worth prosecutors call a “habitual criminal,” has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for biting a jailer.
It was in November of 2018 when Gary Cole sat in Tarrant County Jail lock-up. The 55-year-old was awaiting trial on charges for assaulting his girlfriend.
During trial, detention Officer Kalonji Foster testified Cole refused to get out of an unneeded wheelchair to be moved to a cell reserved for inmates at risk for suicide. As Foster tried to move Cole to a cell bunk he was bitten several times on his right side.
The attack put the entire unit on alert and forced the shutdown of the jail while the cell block was secured.
Officer Foster was treated for his injuries at a local hospital and released.
During trial defense lawyers argued Cole suffered “from numerous medical difficulties and was demanding treatment.” Jailers testified Cole hadn’t been denied treatment and was walking unassisted moments before requesting the wheelchair.
After finding Cole guilty, and before sentencing, the jury heard about Cole’s prior criminal record, that included federal and state convictions for armed robbery, auto theft and mail threats.
Prosecutor Chris Dewitt said, “With this 25-year sentence, the people of Tarrant County are sending a message that it’s important to protect all of our law enforcement officers.”