Rains County Jury Believed the Children not Jimmy Ardell Harden
Office of the County Attorney
Robert F. Vititow
Rains County, Texas
220 W. QUITMAN SUITE D EMORY, TEXAS 75440
TELEPHONE (903) 473-5000 * TELECOPIER (903) 4743-5085
JULY 25, 2023
A jury was selected on Monday, July 17, 2023, in the Eighth Judicial District Court of Rains County in Cause Nos. 6260, 6261, 6453, 6454, 6455, and 6456, entitled The State of Texas v. Jimmy Ardell Harden. Harden, a local citizen of Rains County was charged with the felony offenses of Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon, Assault Family or House Member Impede Breath/Circulation, Continuous Violence Against the Family, and three cases of Injury to a Child (causing bodily injury).
The offenses occurred over an extended period of time; the offenses charged covered a period ranging from March 2013 to July 2021. The defendant was 49 years old at the time of the trial and the victims were 17 and 19. Kent Starr of McKinney represented the defendant.
Rains County Attorney Robert Vititow began presenting the evidence Monday afternoon after the jury was selected. The State and the defense closed their cases Wednesday afternoon, and after hearing the evidence, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on five of the six cases and a not guilty verdict in one of the Injury to a Child cases.
The punishment phase began Thursday morning. For the felony offenses of, Continuous Violence Against the Family, Assault Family or House Member Impede Breath/Circulation and the three cases of Injury to a Child with Intent of Bodily Injury the defendant faced a range of punishment of 2 years to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine on each case. For the felony offense of Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon, the defendant faced a range of punishment of 2 years to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. The defendant elected to have the jury assess his punishment.
The jury determined the punishment in these cases as five years in prison for Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon, two years in prison for Assault Family or House Member Impede Breath/Circulation, ten years in prison for Continuous Violence Against the Family, two years in prison for the remaining two Injury to a Child with Intent Bodily Injury cases. The jury also assessed a $2,000 fine on each of the cases.
Although the defendant denied all the allegations the jury was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did cause injury to his children by placing their hands on hot coals or embers as punishment for buying a book at the school book fair. In another instance, the defendant chased his son because he did not paint boards properly and impeded his airway by placing his arm across his son’s throat, slammed his face into the ground several times and repeatedly hit him in the head with a metal pipe. From the period of February 2021 to July 2021, the defendant continuously slapped his children, pulled their hair out, threw tools at them, hit them over the back with a large stick and impeded their airways.
The jury believed the children and found the defendant not credible. Although a man weighing in excess of 200 pounds, he said he pulled out his daughter’s hair out in “self-defense”, even though she only weighed 90 pounds. This instance occurred when the defendant was choking his son and the daughter tried to remove the defendant’s hand when her brother began gasping for air.
Vititow commended the court personnel and the citizens of Rains County who served as jurists for the excellent job they did. The jury obviously took their job very seriously. Law enforcement is a joint effort which includes the officers, the prosecutor’s staff, all of the court personnel and the citizens of Rains County who served as the jurists.
Rains County Attorney, Robert Vititow