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Shooting suspect changes mind on guilty pleas

Royce William Tawater

On second thought, a local man will leave it up to a jury to decide whether he is guilty of multiple charges in connection with two shootings in Greenville last summer.

Royce William Tawater, 27, had been scheduled to plead guilty Wednesday to two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one charge of deadly conduct, during a hearing in the 354th District Court.

Tawater instead rejected plea offers from the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office. Tawater is now scheduled for trial Monday on all three counts.

Tawater was found guilty February 27 of one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. The jury  sentenced Tawater to 20 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional Division, with a $10,000 fine.

The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the three remaining counts and Judge Richard Beacom set the new trial for April 21.

Tawater was alleged in the assault indictments to have shot and wounded a Greenville man, and to have pointed a handgun and/or fired a gun at a male victim on July 1, 2013. The deadly conduct indictment alleged Tawater fired in the direction of a residence in the 3900 block of Sayle Street on July 27, 2013.

Tawater had one previous felony conviction listed on the indictments, for injury to a child by an act in 2008.

The aggravated assault indictments are punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from two to 20 years in prison, while the deadly conduct charge carries a maximum sentence upon conviction.

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