Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the sentence was probated.
TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Former Smith County Precinct 1 Constable Curtis Traylor-Harris has been sentenced to a term of five years probation after being found guilty of theft by a jury last week.
He was sentenced to two years in state jail probated, meaning if he were to violate the terms of his five-year probation period, Traylor-Harris would then serve the state jail sentence.
Earlier in sentencing on Monday, Traylor-Harris offered a public apology to the family he was found guilty of stealing from, and said this case has been “devastating” to him.
“I would like to issue a public apology to the Poster family,” Traylor-Harris said. “I also would like to apologize for the actions of my deputies and the inaction of me.”
He said he stepped into a role he wasn’t 100% ready for, and “it cost me.” Traylor-Harris also said he offers an apology to the citizens of Precinct 1 and Smith County.
When asked about his actions during the eviction by DA Jacob Putman, Traylor-Harris said in sentencing that he lied during the trial and did see former deputy LaQuenda Banks steal sunglasses from the home but did not see her take the other items.
“I made a lot of mistakes that day,” Traylor-Harris said. “I didn’t stop her from doing what she was doing. I ignored it.”
In the defense’s opening statements during the second day of sentencing, Traylor-Harris’ attorney Andrew Dammann, said they are asking the jury to give him the minimum sentence of six months in state jail and a period of probation to be determined by the jury.
When asked about previous testimony where Traylor-Harris reportedly cursed at an officer in Terrell and told him “I don’t have to listen you,” he said the officer lied about the interaction.
“That was completely untrue,” Traylor-Harris said. “He called me two weeks later and asked for a job. He said he was sorry for being an a-hole that night.”
Putman also asked him about Officer Kevin Petty’s testimony, and Traylor-Harris said “there’s officer courtesy where we don’t do that.” Traylor-Harris said that after sending the email, he called Petty’s boss on the phone to talk to him about the situation and said they laughed about it.
Traylor-Harris said he would be able to follow conditions of probation even though he violated his bond conditions in the past to attend a graduation in uniform.
“I wanted to be able to take pictures with her,” Traylor-Harris said. “That was bad judgement.”
In addition to Traylor-Harris’ testimony during sentencing, his mother Patricia Crockett, testified that he would be living with her after release and would follow the conditions of his probation.
Crockett said she understands her son was found guilty of theft, and that he is responsible for his deputies who stole. When asked if she would assist in his rehabilitation, Crockett said she does not believe Traylor-Harris stole from the family, eviction is a choice and that he needs a chance to live his life.
“Incarceration would be defeating the purpose because what’s he going to learn there?” Crockett said.
Traylor-Harris said after serving his sentence he plans to move into a career in education, now that he is disqualified from a position in law enforcement. He said a family friend agreed to hire him for their shipping and delivery company while he puts himself back through school.
“It’s hard, but I have to do it,” Traylor-Harris said.
Prior to his trial, Traylor-Harris served five-months in jail, and that time would be credited towards his sentence.
In closing arguments, Dammann asked the jury to probate the sentence and “send him home for Christmas” before they began their deliberations.