Jesus take the wheel — convicted felon Willie Smith Ward was sentenced to 50 years in prison for stealing a $35 rack of baby-back ribs from the H-E-B store in Waco, TX. The Waco Tribune reports Willie Ward Smith tucked the large rack of ribs under his shirt and tried to leave the store without paying in September 2011.
A jury in Waco’s 19th State District Court also didn’t like the 43-year-old Ward’s previous five felony and four misdemeanor convictions and recommended that Ward be sentenced to 50 years in prison as a habitual criminal.
Jurors took two minutes Wednesday to convict Ward on robbery charges and about an hour to decide his punishment.
Ward’s theft of the $35 rack of pork ribs turned into a robbery when he threatened a grocery store employee who saw the huge bulge under Ward’s shirt and tried to stop him in the parking lot.
“This verdict shows that the citizens of this county will not tolerate a continued disrespect and disregard for other people and their property,” said Assistant District Attorney J.R. Vicha, who prosecuted Ward with Chris Bullajian. “People who choose to do so will be dealt with seriously and appropriately.”
The employee testified that he asked Ward what was under the shirt and the slab of ribs fell to the ground. He asked Ward what else he was hiding and Ward said, “I got a knife.” Source: Waco Tribune
Willie Smith Ward rap sheet includes convictions for burglary, attempted robbery, aggravated assault, possession of cocaine, four misdemeanor convictions, among other crimes.