Henderson County jurors have sentenced Raymond Gilbert, 58, to life in prison following his conviction for aggravated assault.

“According to testimony, Gilbert went to the home of his brother, John Whitman in Mabank, on Jan. 4, 2017, to confront him about a work-related issue,” according to a press release from Henderson County District Attorney Mark Hall. “Although the brother was not home at the time, a friend was on the front porch when Gilbert arrived. During an argument between the two, Gilbert made threats to kill everyone in the house and challenged the friend to a fight.”

Gilbert's nephew, Joe Hays, 18, and his fiance, Charity Atherton, were at the home.

“Hearing the disturbance, (Atherton) went outside to investigate,” the press release shows. “Believing Gilbert to be intoxicated, she told him to leave several times before Gilbert hit her in the mouth, knocking her back inside the house. Hays then stepped between his girlfriend and Gilbert, who hit him in the left side of the head with the screwdriver. As Gilbert drove away from the residence, he passed his brother and ... Hays' mother who were returning home and yelled threats while brandishing the screwdriver.”

When Whitman and his wife arrived at the house, Hays was vomiting and bleeding on the front porch. The family drove him to a hospital, where a CT scan revealed that the screwdriver had penetrated his skull behind the left, ear entering the brain.

“During trial, the victim testified to the jury. It was evident that he has suffered permanent injury (that) affects the right side of his body, causing partial paralysis, Bells Palsy and vision and verbal defects.”

Gilbert testified before the jury in his own defense. He will not be eligible for parole until he has served 30 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, including the time he has been in the Henderson County jail awaiting trial.

“Aggravated assault is a second-degree felony, which has a punishment range from two to 20 years. “However, Gilbert’s prior criminal history elevated the range to 25 to life.”

The case was investigated by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, and Assistant District Attorneys Elizabeth Miles and Danny Cox prosecuted the case.

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