A 28-year-old Dallas man was convicted of aggravated robbery and sentenced to 65 years in prison and a $10,000 fine in a trial that concluded last week in district court in Weatherford.
Kenneth Dewayne Mayes was found guilty April 15 of robbing a 60-year-old woman in the parking lot of her Weatherford apartment complex at 1 a.m. on Sept. 30, 2014.
According to trial testimony from the victim, Mayes followed the woman as she came home from work and approached her, asking to borrow her phone. Minutes later, Mayes produced a revolver and demanded that she give him her purse. When she said it was in her apartment, Mayes grabbed her by the back of the shirt, pushed the gun into her back and began walking her in that direction. However, he changed his mind, took her driver’s license, credit cards, and cash out of her pocket, kept her iPhone, and fled from the scene.
“Before he left, he had the victim get down on her knees, facing away from him, while he stood behind her with the gun,” said Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain, who tried the case with Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Catania. “She begged him for her life, fully believing she was about to die. She told our jury how she prayed at that moment, thanking God for giving her a long life.”
When the victim and her family called 911, they had a partial description of Mayes’ vehicle that they gave police. Fifteen minutes later, a Hudson Oaks police officer heard the dispatch and attempted to stop a vehicle that appeared to match the description. The white Dodge Avenger refused to stop and led officers on a chase at speeds of over 120 mph, during which time the car cut off semi-trucks, slamming on his brakes in front of them and weaving in and out of traffic.
“Officers finally called off the pursuit in south Fort Worth when the car had gotten off the interstate and was going over 50 mph through a residential area, ignoring stop signs,” Swain said. “They felt that it was just too dangerous to continue the pursuit at that point.”
About 15 minutes later, Fort Worth police officers located the fleeing vehicle in a driveway in the neighborhood, according to trial testimony. Mayes and a passenger were located hiding in the yard next door. When he was searched, a .32 Smith & Wesson revolver, the victim’s bank cards, license and cash were found in Mayes’ pants pockets. Her iPhone was found in the vehicle.
“The difficult thing about this case was that the victim was shown a photo lineup which included Mayes’ picture, and she picked out a different person with a 60 percent degree of certainty,” Swain said. “We argued to the jury that the defendant’s possession of the victim’s stolen items an hour after the robbery as well as a gun that matched what she described and his association with a vehicle matching the description of the getaway car was sufficient to convict as a strong circumstantial evidence case.”
Jurors deliberated about 45 minutes before finding Mayes guilty of aggravated robbery.
During the punishment phase of trial, a Dallas woman testified that, about four hours prior to the Weatherford robbery, a man meeting Mayes’ general description, stole her car from her at gunpoint. The same car was used hours later to flee from the Weatherford robbery. She could not pick Mayes out of a lineup due to the fact that he was holding some white clothing over most of his face at the time of the robbery.
“Due to the tight timeline, the defendant’s use of the stolen vehicle at the time of our robbery, and with the testimony of a woman who was in the car with Mr. Mayes who said she’d never seen him in that car before that day, we believed that we had circumstantially proven that he carjacked the woman in Dallas,” Swain said.
Court documents were also introduced showing that in Dallas County in 2005, Mayes had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for an aggravated assault involving a gun.
“I want you to send a message to thugs in Dallas or Fort Worth to not come to our community to rob people or commit violent crime because we won’t tolerate it,” Swain asked jurors in closing argument. “Send a message to victims of violent crime like our victim in this case that we, our community, have got their back.”
After jurors returned with a verdict sentencing Mayes to 65 years in prison, 43rd District Court Judge Craig Towson ordered that the sentence assessed by the jury be served consecutively with the portion of his sentence that Mayes had previously been allowed to serve on parole.
“I am grateful for the convictions and, based upon the defendant’s history of violence and the facts of the case, I am also pleased that the jury returned with a very lengthy sentence and that Judge Towson stacked the sentence,” said Parker County District Attorney Don Schnebly.
Mayes will be eligible for parole after he has served 30 calendar years in prison, Schnebly said.