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HUNTSVILLE — A Coldspring man has been sentenced to 70 years in prison for a robbery at a New Waverly laundromat.

Michael Dewayne Smith, 53, was arrested after video surveillance showed him robbing a woman at the New Waverly Washteria of approximately $80 on Jan. 10, 2020. During last week’s three-day trial, jurors heard testimony from the victim, who detailed Smith’s demands for money and threats to shoot her and her dog if she didn’t comply.

After stealing the money, Smith fled the scene, leaving a bright red ski cap, which was discovered by deputies with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office. DNA analysis of the cap and calls from witnesses helped to confirm Smith as the prime suspect, prosecutors said.

Deputy Ryan Byrd and Detective Todd Barrow of the Walker County Sheriff’s Office handled the investigation.

“The jury was able to hear a perfect storm of evidence — surveillance video, DNA and testimony from a victim who was terrorized by this defendant — leaving no room for doubt that this defendant committed a serious crime in our county,” said felony prosecutor Taylor Carter. “Their diligence in listening to that evidence ensured that this defendant would not escape the justice that he has earned.”

Before assessing the 70-year sentence, jurors heard that Smith was a habitual offender, who had twice previously been convicted of robbery and aggravated robbery in Harris and San Jacinto counties. The jury also learned about the defendant’s “significant prior crack cocaine use and his history of selling drugs to others.”

“My office takes robbery cases seriously, and especially ones where the defendant is habitual with prior robbery convictions,” Walker County Criminal District Attorney Will Durham said. “Significant prison time is the only thing that keeps some defendants from continuing to rob our citizens. This 70-year sentence will hopefully send a message that crime like this will not be tolerated in New Waverly.”

The trial was heard in the 12th District Court before Judge David Moorman. 

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