A 34-year-old Fort Worth man who failed to return to a courtroom Wednesday where he was on trial in a child sex assault case was apprehended near Lake Worth on Friday afternoon.
Jayson Neil Sparks was caught about 5:30 p.m. Friday as he hid in a wooded area in the 6800 block of Roxanne Way in northwest Fort Worth
Sparks was caught by members of the U.S. Marshals North Texas Fugitive Task Force, a member of the task force told the Star-Telegram. He asked that his name not be published because he was not authorized to speak with the media.
According to one of Sparks’ attorneys, Patrick Curran, authorities discovered he was using a cellphone and tracked down the location.
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“I’m happy he’s caught and no one got hurt,” Curran said. “Someone could have gotten injured.”
Sparks was charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14. He testified Wednesday morning and then was allowed to leave the courtroom for lunch because he was free on bail.
Sparks returned from lunch but left the courtroom before prosecutors could cross-examine him, saying that he was going to make a phone call. He never returned.
The trial continued without him. He was convicted and sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison by state District Judge Robb Catalano.
“Even his mom seemed surprised,” Curran said Thursday. “She was in the courtroom the whole time. It’s difficult for everyone involved.”
Prosecutor Sarah Bruner has said the DA’s office is considering what other charges might be brought against Sparks.
Continuous sex abuse of a child under 14 is a first-degree felony. Because he has no chance for parole, Sparks must spend the full 30 years in prison.