Habitual offender gets 40 years in aggravated robbery

The discovery of a shank under the mattress of an aggravated robbery suspect delayed, but did not stop sentencing Thursday.

James Lee Botley, 32, was found guilty Wednesday in the Thanksgiving 2012 robbery of the Conoco gas station located at 8196 9th Avenue in Port Arthur.  On Thursday a jury sentenced him to 40 years in prison. The trail lasted four days.

Wednesday night after the conviction, officials say they found a toothbrush that had its bristles removed, and that had been sharpened to form a stabbing weapon.  It is not known how long the makeshift knife had been there.

The discovery of the shank delayed sentencing for about 45 minutes Thursday.

The Robbery

According to 12News file stories, a hooded man, later identified by investigators as Botley, jumped over the counter and held the clerk at gunpoint.  He grabbed cash and fled in a white Chevrolet Malibu.  The clerk was not injured in the robbery.

Surveillance video captured Botley taking money from the cash register along with a bank bag

Port Arthur police later found Botley and determined he was the robber.


The stolen bank bag, mask and white glove that Botley was wearing at the time of the robbery were found discarded in the streets in a nearby neighborhood. DNA evidence linked Botley to the mask and glove.  Also, surveillance video from an adjacent business captured Botley approaching the store just before he donned his face mask.

Prosecutors Bobby Ortego and Brittanie Holmes presented the case for Jefferson County, working from an investigative case file put together by the Port Arthur Police Department.

"This jury sent a strong message that they will not tolerate this type of violent crime in our community, and they have put any future criminals on notice," said Ortego.

At the time of the robbery, Botley was on parole for another crime.

Ortego says Botley has 5 previous felony convictions, including 4 drug convictions and one aggravated robbery conviction from 2002. One juror told 12News Botley's criminal history was a major factor in their sentencing decision. Because Botley is labeled as a habitual offender under Texas law, he had to be sentenced to a minimum of 25 years.

The sentence handed down requires that Botley serve at least half of his sentence before he can even be considered for parole.


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