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Port Arthur man pleads guilty to shooting woman in face

John Fitzgerald Rice faced 2-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if a jury had found him guilty.

BEAUMONT, Texas — A Port Arthur man changed his plea to guilty just as opening statements began in his trial Tuesday afternoon.

John Fitzgerald Rice previously faced 2-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if a jury had found him guilty of aggravated assault for shooting a woman in the face.

On March 1, 2022 Shaquitta Hill accused Rice of shooting her in the face during an argument.

Hill said on the day of the shooting she was trying to defuse a fight outside her neighbor’s house when a man pulled out a gun and shot her.

Hill previously told 12News that the shooting impacts her everyday life.

“I've just been traumatized by it,” Hill said. “I can't sleep. When I work, if somebody drops something, it scares me. I try to go home because I need to be somewhere where I feel safe.”

Now that he has changed his plea to guilty, Judge Raquel West will determine his sentence. The maximum she can give him is 12 years in prison. Probation is also a possibility.

Judge West ordered a pre-sentencing report before she decides his sentence.

A sentencing day has not been set.

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This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information. 

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