The Police NewsGalveston County District Attorney
Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Strangling and Leaving Victim Unconscious on Roadside
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 charges.
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