Tyler woman avoids jail for attacking elderly man

Tyler woman avoids jail for attacking elderly man

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A Smith County district judge has sentenced a Tyler woman to deferred adjudication in connection to her attack on an elderly man in June.

Judge Christi Kennedy approved the sentence recommended by the state on Friday. The sentencing comes on the heels of Laeja Harper, 17, entering a guilty plea in October.

Harper was arrested in June after she had exchanged heated words with the man at a gas station, located on US 271. Harper struck the man several times in the face and the side of his head, causing a laceration on his ear and scratches on his face and neck.

In court Friday, Harper explained the third person they were with had told Harper to tell the man to put extra gas in the vehicle. Harper said when she did that, the man called her the b-word and to "get out of my face." Harper said after that she "blacked out" and attacked the man.

Kennedy asked if she admitted to hitting the man three times and Harper said she did.

"People say things and you can't just hit them for what they say," Kennedy said.

"Yes ma'am," Harper replied.

In addition to the standard terms of probation, Harper is not allowed contact with the victim and must attend anger management classes.

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