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Life sentence for robber previously convicted of murder

DA PRESS RELEASE:
CONROE – Brian Keith Balentine was sentenced to Life in prison this morning for a March 20, 2008 robbery at the Conroe Wal-Mart located at 18700 Highway 105 West. Loss prevention officers observed Mr. Balentine hiding five compact discs down the front of his pants. Once he left the store without paying for the merchandise, loss prevention officer Robert Rhodes attempted to detain him. Mr. Balentine fought with Mr. Rhodes until Conroe police arrived. Mr. Rhodes sustained minor injuries in the struggle.

During punishment, jurors heard shocking details from Mr. Balentine’s prior trip to prison some 25 years earlier. Mr. Balentine and his brother were convicted of the brutal kidnapping and murder of a LeRoy Larson in 1984. The defendant and his brother staged a scene by the side of the road pretending their vehicle was broken down. The victims, returning from their honeymoon, stopped to assist. The Balentine’s kidnapped them at gunpoint, drove them to a remote location, and attempted to sexually assault Mrs. Larson. Leroy Larson, attempting to prevent the assault, intervened and was shot and killed. Ms. Larson, sustaining two gunshot wounds to the arm, fled and flagged down a passing DPS trooper. The Balentines were arrested in another stolen vehicle. Brian Balentine received three life sentences for murder, attempted capital murder, and aggravated robbery. He served twenty one and a half years of his sentence before being paroled out in 2006.

Since his parole, prosecutors Andrew James and Brett Peabody, showed that he had been involved in at least three additional theft cases. He committed this robbery less than a week after being released from the Harris County jail after being convicted of theft. Judge Kathleen Hamilton stacked the life sentence received for this Robbery on top of any time Mr. Balentine is ordered to serve as a result of a parole revocation on the 1984 murder, capital murder and aggravated robbery charges.

“Shoppers and employees at our local establishments deserve to shop and work in an environment free of violent criminals like Mr. Balentine,” said District Attorney Brett Ligon. “This jury made a conscious choice to send Mr. Balentine somewhere where he will never again torture, kill, or steal. Other parolees in Montgomery County need to understand something; living in our community is a privilege. Step outside the bounds of the law and we will do our very best to send you back to prison.”

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