Antonio Jerrlee Ary, age 26, was sentenced on June 28, 2019, to a term of life without the possibility of parole in connection with a 2015 Capital Murder case in Liberty County.

On September 13, 2015, Cori Javaunn Cadoree, Jennifer Lynee Paddy, Kay Lynn Chambers, Dre Addison Bush, and Antonio Jerrlee Ary were hanging out at Paddy’s apartment in Liberty when they hatched a plan to rob Thomas Charles “TC” Duncan of his money and drugs. Cadoree had purchased methamphetamine from Duncan earlier that day and told the group that Duncan had $13,000.00 and more drugs. Cadoree then began to call and text Duncan about coming over to buy more, which seemed suspicious to Duncan as Cadoree had never asked to purchase a large amount before. The five co-defendants, armed with three handguns, traveled to Dayton in Paddy’s Dodge Magnum around 10:30 PM that night. After visiting Westside Grocery on FM 1960 and circling the residence multiple times while waiting for Duncan to answer, Paddy knocked on the front door. When a friend of Duncan told Paddy to come in, she returned to her vehicle to get Ary and Bush. The three ran in the open front door, each armed with a handgun.

During the robbery, Ary, who was armed with a Glock .357 Sig, struggled to get into the bedroom where Duncan and the victim, Ray Von Burger III, had barricaded themselves. Burger and Duncan were pushing on the door as Ary kicked and shoved from the other side, eventually ripping the bedroom door from the hinges. Ary was unable to enter the room and instead fired the .357 Sig round through the door, striking Burger between the eyes. He was killed instantly.

After the single gunshot, the three fled the scene empty handed in Paddy’s vehicle. Chambers had jumped into the front seat while the others were inside, and the five drove back to Liberty. Once in Liberty, Cadoree got out of the car with all three guns in an attempt to hide the evidence of the crime.

Witnesses of the botched armed robbery were eventually interviewed by Dayton Police Department, whereupon Duncan and others described the event as they experienced it. Ultimately, Chambers and Cadoree turned themselves in, admitted their involvement, and agreed to cooperate with the investigation. Their cooperation helped to identify the three remaining culprits as Ary, Paddy, and Bush. All five co-conspirators were charged with Capital Murder and Burglary of a Habitation with Intent to Commit Aggravated Robbery.

Prior to the Ary’s jury trial, the other four co-defendants accepted plea agreements for reduced sentences. In exchange, they provided full cooperation and truthful testimony in their co-defendant’s remaining case. Chambers and Cadoree, neither of which wielded a gun or entered the home, pled guilty to the Burglary of Habitation. Each received 15 years in TDCJ. Jennifer Lynee Paddy and Dre Addison Bush, who were both armed and went inside of Duncan’s home, pled guilty to the lesser included charge of Murder in the armed robbery that resulted in the death of Ray Von Burger III. They received 20 years in TDCJ for their involvement.

The case was heard in 75th District Court, Judge Mark Morefield presiding. The jury convicted Ary of both Capital Murder and Burglary of a Habitation with Intent to Commit Aggravated Robbery after over four hours of deliberation. In the State of Texas, life in prison, without the possibility of parole, is the only punishment for a defendant found guilty of Capital Murder when the State does not seek the death penalty. Thus, Ary will have to serve the remainder of his life in the state penitentiary without the possibility of ever getting out.

Assistant District Attorney Koby Hoffpauir said, “I was very pleased with the jury’s diligent work and attention to detail . . . this was a long and complicated case. Even so, the jury stayed engaged and arrived at a just result. This case included over 300 exhibits and included the testimony of more than 20 witnesses in five days. Most of the witnesses with critical information had criminal histories, including the four co-defendants: Chambers, Cadoree, Paddy, and Bush. The jury ultimately decided that DNA and ballistic evidence, independent but corroborative of the co-defendant testimony, was enough proof that Antonio Jerrlee Ary had committed Capital Murder and Burglary of a Habitation. The jury sent a message that this community values human life no matter the circumstances. Further, this verdict spells out, in no uncertain terms, that Liberty County will not tolerate this type of violence. Period.”

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