Joseph Harrell, a 17-year-old teen who was arrested in connection to a violent robbery in Houston, Texas, that left a Vietnamese mother paralyzed, was sentenced to three decades in prison.
Harrell’s sentence: On Thursday, Harris County District Court Judge Kristin M. Guiney sentenced Harrell to 30 years in a state correctional facility after he pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated robbery causing serious bodily injury to 41-year-old Nhung Troung.
In a plea deal, Harrell agreed to plead guilty to the robbery charge. In return, prosecutors agreed to dismiss two other charges related to the robbery, including an initial charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
About the attack: On Feb. 13, Harrell was captured on surveillance footage physically attacking Truong, 44, during a robbery at the 9800 block of Bellaire in Houston, Texas. Truong, who had withdrawn a large amount of cash for an upcoming trip to visit her family in Vietnam, suffered broken ribs and a severe spinal cord injury that has left her unable to walk.
Authorities said Harrell observed Truong withdrawing from a bank in Chinatown before following her for more than 20 miles to Bellaire.
“We were snatching purses,” Harrell confessed. “I hopped out, snatched the purse, the lady ran with the money, I grabbed her, slammed her and she was paralyzed. The lady probably wants justice and some more (expletive). They’ll try to max me out 20 years basically. That (expletive). I ain’t going for it. The (expletive) already ran up $230,000 off GoFundMe. (Expletive) better run on with her life.”
Eligibility for parole: District Attorney Kim Ogg noted that Harrell must serve at least 15 years of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
“People should feel safe in our community and not have to worry about looking over their shoulders whenever they go to the bank or run errands,” Ogg said in a statement. “Our organized crime division was ready and willing to go to trial and that is why this defendant decided to plead guilty.”