A fifth person has been convicted in the attack and robbery of an elderly Wise County resident last summer.
Charles Ray Murrell, 53, of Fort Worth pleaded guilty earlier this month in 271st District Court in Decatur to burglary of a habitation and received a 32-year prison sentence. The charge was a second-degree felony enhanced, meaning he faced 5 to 99 years in prison. The enhanced charge was due to the fact that Murrell had previous felony convictions, according to Assistant District Attorney Tim Cole.
He will receive time served for the nine-and-a-half months he has spent in county jail since his arrest July 23 of last year.
Murrell did not take part in the actual assault or robbery of Marvin Zimmerman last June but was involved in other ways.
“He was not present at the scene,” Cole said. “His involvement was in the planning and recruiting of some of those who did participate. It’s my understanding he was going to share in what was found as a result of the robbery. Under Texas law, that makes him a party to the offense.”
Murrell was originally indicted last August for injury to the elderly with intent to commit serious bodily injury and aggravated robbery, both first-degree felonies, as well as theft of a firearm, a state jail felony. Prosecutors filed a new charge of burglary of a habitation May 7, and Murrell pleaded guilty the same day. In exchange, the district attorney’s office dropped the other three charges.
Jimmy Ray Murrell, 50, and Roger Lee Hammons, 49, both of Fort Worth, pleaded guilty in January to aggravated robbery. Jimmy Murrell received a 50-year prison sentence, and Hammons got 40 years.
Michael Anthony Cordova, 33, of Fort Worth, also pleaded guilty earlier this year and received a 10-year sentence. Prosecutors have said Cordova, like Charles Murrell, did not take part in the actual robbery or beating, but he assisted in the crime in other ways.
Sheri Lynn White, 48, of Fort Worth was also arrested and indicted for aggravated robbery, but prosecutors dropped that charge when she pleaded guilty to theft of a firearm and was sentenced to seven months in state jail. The firearm was stolen from Zimmerman Oct. 15, 2011.
Zimmerman lived in the 1400 block of New Hope Road in far southern Wise County. On June 8, 2012, officers found him bound and gagged, lying on the floor of his home. Investigators said Zimmerman had been tied up for several days before he was discovered.
Investigators say the suspects tied up Zimmerman and tortured him while demanding he tell them where valuables were hidden. They ransacked the home and left Zimmerman handcuffed to the chair, with his head duct-taped.
Zimmerman never recovered from his injuries. He died Feb. 3 at the age of 82 at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Bedford, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s website. The ME’s office listed the cause of death as “complications of subdural hematoma, dehydration and renal failure due to being assaulted, bound and abandoned in residence.” It ruled the death a homicide.
With the latest conviction, Cole said everyone responsible for the crime has now been prosecuted. The district attorney’s office is not expected to pursue murder charges on those involved in the crime since they have already been convicted.