A Bryan man was sentenced in Brazos County district court Thursday to life in prison for assaulting a family member in January of 2019.
42 year old Craig Burleson, who has prior convictions for that crime, pleaded guilty earlier this week after a jury was selected.
The trial judge determined punishment after hearing more than two days of testimony.
That was the first of seven trials for Burleson, who has been in prison four prior times.
Other trials yet to be held include a murder charge in Houston and an armed robbery at a Bryan apartment.
News release from the Brazos County district attorney’s office:
Judge Kyle Hawthorne sentenced Craig Burleson, 42, of College Station, to the maximum sentence of life in prison for the offense of Assault Family Violence with a Previous Conviction.
On January 5, 2019, officers from the College Station Police Department responded to a local residence after several bystanders reported that a male was assaulting a female in the front yard of a residence.
One of the bystanders began recording the Defendant breaking out the windows of the victim’s SUV with a golf club and threatening his victim with the metal club. The camera footage also captured the defendant kicking the victim to the ground and assaulting her.
Before police arrived, the Defendant fled the scene. The College Station Police Department issued a warrant for the Defendant’s arrest and began looking for the Defendant’s whereabouts.
A few weeks later, Bryan Police were called to the victim’s workplace after a suspect matching the Defendant’s description vandalized the victim’s vehicle, slashing her tires, smashing her repaired windshield, and damaging the paint. The suspect fled prior to police arrival.
Because of their concerns for the victim’s safety and difficulty finding and arresting the Defendant, the College Station Police Department placed the Defendant on the Brazos County Domestic Violence High Risk Team List.
On May 6, 2019, a different victim who was seeking shelter at Phoebe’s Home, the local domestic violence shelter, outcried about being recently abused by Craig Burleson. The staff at Phoebe’s Home recognized the Defendant’s name from the High Risk Team and — with the victim’s permission — notified the Brazos County District Attorney’s Office and the Bryan Police Department.
An officer with the Bryan Police Department interviewed this victim. She revealed that the defendant admitted to her that he had committed a murder in Houston two weeks prior at the Economy Inn and Suites.
The victim also reported that Defendant had threatened a different male victim with a firearm two days prior to the interview and had stolen his money. The victim stated that she was in fear of Burleson due
to his violence and these incidents.
The officer contacted Houston Police Homicide and discovered that the Defendant was the lead suspect in a murder in Houston at the Economy Inn and Suites which was committed on April 21, 2019. Bryan Police also interviewed the victim of the Aggravated Robbery and sought their own warrant for his arrest.
With this new information, Bryan Police immediately began searching for Burleson. They located him in the early hours of the next morning at the bathroom of Henderson Park.
When confronted by law enforcement, Burleson attempted to hide a firearm in his possession. This firearm was later matched to the shell casings and bullets recovered at the scene of the Houston murder.
Prosecutors presented evidence of these offenses during the punishment phase at trial. They also presented evidence of the defendant’s extensive criminal history, which included previous convictions for Manslaughter, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, and multiple charges related to violence and stalking towards multiple ex-girlfriends and an ex-wife.
In total, the defendant had previously been sentenced to prison four times.