Robertson Trial Hinges On Meaning of "Public Servant" - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/22/06-Van Zandt County

Robertson Trial Hinges On Meaning of "Public Servant"

Two different pleas yesterday, for two different charges in the trial of Jeff Doyal Robertson. Robertson entered a guilty plea to carrying a deadly weapon onto the Canton High School campus April 7th. However, he entered a not guilty plea to the charge of aggravated assault on a public servant.

The prosecution says Robertson shot Gary Joe Kinne while he was both the high school football coach and athletic director, qualifying him as a "public servant".

DA Leslie Dixon said, "I expect the evidence to show, that Gary Joe Kinne was at school as a public servant, and he was in the performance of his duties on April, 7th 2005."

Robertson's defense attorney, Robert Perkins, disagrees.

He said, "What the evidence is going to show you is that the word 'teacher' is not included. The words 'employee of the school district' are not included."

If the jury decided Kinne was a public servant the day he was shot, it would mean the difference between a first degree or a second degree felony conviction for Robertson.

"Jeff Robertson made bad decisions under bad circumstances, and he's going to have to pay the price. What I'm asking each of you [the jury] to do, is to have the conviction to follow your oath, and follow the law," Perkins said.

If convicted of the first degree felony, Robertson could face life in prison.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting:


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