A Corsicana man plead guilty to two separate cases of aggravated robbery Monday, accepting a plea agreement that contained 25 years of prison time.

David Lara, 18, formerly of Edinburg, entered his plea of guilty before District Judge John Jackson in the 13th Judicial District Court of Navarro County.

His willingness to plead guilty negated a trial scheduled to begin with jury selection on Nov. 14. Had Lara gone to trial, he could have faced punishment that ranged from five to 99 years or life in prison.

District Attorney Steve Keathley represented the state in the hearing that made the agreement official. Local attorney Chris Martin represented the defendant.

Lara admitted to his actions of Jan. 27, 2005 in which he robbed Analisa Passons, 20, and Joseph Francia, 18, both of Corsicana, on the Whataburger parking lot in Corsicana.

According to the victims’ statements, Lara grabbed Passons, pulled out a knife, held it to her throat, and asked Francia, “Which is more important, your girlfriend or your truck?” Francia chose his girlfriend and threw the keys inside the truck. Passons was released.

When Lara tried to get the keys in the truck, Francia struggled with him and was stabbed in the arm. Lara escaped on West Seventh Avenue and Corsicana police were called. They located Francia’s truck later, abandoned at Nature Park.

According to police records, police were informed on Feb. 3 of last year that a person wishing to claim responsibility for the robbery wanted to turn himself in. That person was Lara.

CPD Detective Becky Simpson interviewed Lara and received a written confession from him claiming responsibility for the robbery.

The case was presented to the grand jury on March 24. The grand jury issued an indictment that day.

Martin had filed a motion to have Lara tested to establish if he was competent to stand trial. Competency is defined generally as whether an accused person understands the nature of the legal proceedings that affect him or her and if he or she has the ability to rationally communicate with their attorney to aid in their defense.

Dr. Paul Andrews of Tyler evaluated Lara and in early October reported he could find no indication of deficits or disabilities which would support any finding of incompetency of Lara.

Lara had no felony criminal adult history. However, he had a lengthy criminal juvenile record and was wanted at the time of the robbery for escaping from a juvenile Texas Youth Corrections facility in Brownwood.

At sentencing, Lara expressed remorse for his actions to both victims and told the court he “had some problems going on that night.”

The district attorney was pleased with the results from Monday’s proceeding.

“This office feels a 25-year sentence will give Mr. Lara the appropriate quality time to reflect on his actions of that evening, as well as previously, that landed him ultimately in this predicament,” Keathley said. “It hopefully will send a message to other would-be violent crooks that if your are caught, you will pay serious consequences.”

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