Cryer gets life for Aggravated Sexual Assault

Posted by : admin | On : November 22, 2017

James Ray Cryer

Special to The News
ATHENS–After entering a plea of guilty in October, James Ray Cryer, Jr., 42, was sentenced by Judge Dan Moore of the 173rd District Court in Athens, to life in prison for Aggravated Sexual Assault. Cryer was also convicted of Unlawful Restraint, for which he received a sentence of 10 years.
Henderson County Sheriff’s Deputy Keon Mack, jailers Clayton Teel and Brittney Owens, along with the victim testified at the Nov. 8 sentencing hearing.
On Aug. 10, 2016, Cryer was “working security” at the Exxon game room in Dogwood City located in Smith County. Also present at the game room was a 60-year-old Frankston woman, who Cryer approached, asking for a ride home. After directing her into the Briarwood Bay subdivision, he directed her to a darkened street, where he grabbed her by the hair and held a knife to her throat, forcing her to perform a sexual act. He then ordered her to drive to a different location, where he intended to abuse her further.
As she drove slowly down the street, Henderson County Sheriff’s deputy Keon Mack passed the car going the opposite direction and noticed the car’s slow speed and failure to lower its lights from high beam. After turning around he also observed a defective tail light for which he initiated a traffic stop. When he got alongside the driver’s side window, Mack noticed the woman was extremely nervous and when asked if everything was OK, she whispered the words, “Help me.”
Recognizing the woman was possibly in danger, Mack had her step out and move to the rear of the vehicle, so she could tell him what was taking place. Shortly after that, he got Cryer out of the car, removed the knife and placed him under arrest.
The woman, visibly shaken and upset, told the deputy several times that he had saved her life, a belief which she reiterated to the court.
Both Teel and Owens testified about threats Cryer had made while in the Henderson County Jail. In particular, he had made the statement that if he got a life sentence, he would kill one of the [expletive] guards.
Assistant District Attorney Jessica Bargmann, who prosecuted the case for the State, introduced Cryer’s prior convictions for Aggravated Criminal Mischief, Sexual Assault, Unlawful Possession of a Deadly Weapon in a Penal Institution, and Possession of a Prohibited Item in a Correctional Facility. He was sentenced to 15 years for his first Sexual Assault in 1993 and while in prison, he received two additional felonies, resulting in his incarceration for a total of 23 years.
Cryer had been out for only 10 weeks before committing this assault.
Bargmann said that the sentence brought peace to the victim and justice for the community. “James Cryer has a long violent history, and a life sentence is the only way to ensure the continued safety of the public,” she said.
District Attorney Mark Hall commended Bargmann for an excellent job presenting the case, and was gratified that the court assessed a sentence that will keep Cryer in prison, and away from other potential victims for at least 30 years.
“When a person has been in prison over half his life, and then commits another violent crime immediately after getting out, you know that he can’t adapt to society. James Cryer is back where he belongs.”