Nearly four years after the robbery of a Navasota liquor store that killed the Brenham man who owned and operated it, the chief suspect is expected to go on trial Monday at the Grimes County courthouse. There will be a pre-trial hearing Friday however, that could delay the trial yet again.
Grimes County District Attorney Tuck McClain says it took law enforcement officers almost three years to track down 22-year old Joshua Dewayne Ragston for the robbery and murder of 57-year old Don Stolz. McClain says Ragston was only captured after his alleged cohort in the crime called 911 to confess. The two were arrested in June of 2012.
Ragston and 28-year old Christopher Boulds allegedly robbed the store on July 17th, 2009.
McClain said this liquor store had been robbed at least five times and he and the sheriff had encouraged Stolz to install a video surveillance system. The prosecutor says such a system would not have prevented this crime, however.
McClain said Ragston would not be facing the death penalty or even life without parole. This was a central problem in prosecuting this case, because the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that Ragston, who was 17 at the time of the crime could not receive either punishment. That took the district attorney’s office through a long road through the Legislature and three special sessions.
State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst was instrumental in getting this punishment range into law.
Ragston, if convicted could be eligible for parole after forty years.