On Tuesday, March 15, a Tyler County jury sentenced Richard Cryer to 20 years in prison, the maximum punishment for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
According to evidence presented in court, on the morning of July 3, 2019, Richard Cryer showed up for his second day of work at Elijah’s Café in Woodville. Witnesses testified that Cryer exhibited strange behavior that appeared to be consistent with meth use.
Longtime Elijah’s employee, Oscar Azcona, was teaching Cryer how to make club sandwiches, when suddenly and unexpectedly, Cryer began to stab Azcona with a 12-inch butcher knife and shouted the words “Go to sleep m—– f—-r”, according to a statement shared by the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office. Azcona was stabbed in the upper abdomen and slashed across the forearm just below the wrist.
Cryer then fled the restaurant with the knife. Employees called 911 and Azcona was taken by EMS to Tyler County Hospital.
Officer Arin Dees with the Woodville Police Department, and Investigator Chase Nalley, with the Tyler County Sheriffs Office, responded to the call. The two officers spotted Cryer on foot, heading north on Hwy 69. When Cryer saw the two officers, he dropped the butcher knife and was detained.
According to the press release, at trial Cryer attempted to claim self-defense. The jurors, however, found no evidence that Azcona, at any time, laid hands on Cryer or made any verbal threats or provocations towards him. Cryer stated he “has no regrets” and that getting stabbed was “good” for Azcona.
Evidence showed that Cryer, 34, had a history of drug abuse and criminal activity, including violence.
District Attorney Lucas Babin said of the outcome, “I believe justice was served today. This defendant is dangerous and unpredictable. Our county is safer with him behind bars. I’m thankful for the jurors’ service and their attentiveness to the facts. I’d like to thank Woodville Police Chief Mike McCulley, Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, and Elijah’s Café. Without their help, this would not have been possible.
Cryer still faces additional assault charges in Tyler County.
The trial was presided over by District Judge Delinda Gibbs-Walker.
Written By: Stephanie Frazier for KTRE Woodville, Texas
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