Liberty County judge sentenced habitual offender to 40 years for DWI

Ponder, Jaycob Morris

Jaycob Morris Ponder, 33, was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, after he was convicted of Driving While Intoxicated Third Or More. Generally, a person found guilty of this third-degree offense would serve between 2 to 10 years in prison. Due to his criminal history, Ponder faced a punishment range of 25 to 99 years in prison.

The conviction and sentence stem from a March 9, 2019, traffic stop by the Texas Highway Patrol in which Ponder’s tires were observed crossing the center lane divider twice while northbound on SH-321 in Dayton.

Upon contact, Ponder was observed to have slurred speech and trouble keeping his balance. After field sobriety tests indicated intoxication, Ponder was arrested. Lab reports showed his blood alcohol content at .266, more than three times the legal limit.

Ponder was indicted by a grand jury on May 1, 2019. He pled guilty of the offense and “True” to the punishment enhancement allegations.  The case was set for a contested sentencing hearing before Judge Chap B. Cain III, Presiding Judge of the 253rd District Court. At the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Nicole Washington presented evidence that Ponder was not a suitable candidate for probation.

The Court heard testimony that Ponder had five prior DWI convictions, re-offended while on probation, while on bond, and while on parole for DWI offenses, had not accepted responsibility for his recidivism, and never successfully completed any alcohol treatment program.

In closing arguments, ADA Washington stated, “There isn’t a momma or daddy in this county who would put their child on the same roadway as Ponder.”

Because there was neither program, class, nor sanction that would protect the citizens of Liberty County, ADA Washington implored the Court for a lengthy prison sentence.

Defense Counsel argued that Ponder had never received treatment for alcohol abuse and implored the Court for probation with a SAFP (pronounced “Safe P”) condition. SAFP is a three-part substance abuse treatment program for individuals on felony probation who have been identified as having either a drug and/or alcohol problem. The initial phase is a six-month confinement in a secure facility. Phase two is residence in a transitional treatment center, or halfway house, for successful transition back into the community. In the final phase, the participant is released to the community to complete an outpatient treatment program while continuing to adhere to probation conditions. Defense Counsel presented several letters from supporters, who urged the Court to give Ponder a second chance.

Judge Cain agreed with the State. Ponder will have to account for once-fourth of his sentence, before becoming eligible for parole.

“Ponder has repeatedly refused to take responsibility for his actions. His selfishness could have easily maimed or killed innocent bystanders as well as the brave men and women of law enforcement who has been tasked with the duty of keeping us safe. Thankfully, justice was served and Ponder will be separated from our community for the foreseeable future,” said Washington.

District Attorney Jennifer Bergman added, “Ponder is a habitual offender who has made it a habit of trying to avoid accountability. On Tuesday February 22, 2022, Judge Cain helped make sure that accountability finally caught up to him, and he will have at least a decade to think about his actions and bad choices. Our office will continue fighting to keep our roads safe and making sure that impaired drivers are held accountable for their poor choices.”

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.


  1. Texas is bat sh** crazy. While I understand his poor choices and he should be punished, Texas weilds entirely too much power over the people. It’s like a mini Russia. Stay away from Texas!! You risk your freedom.

      • Right, stay away from Texas with that attitude. We value our loved ones and won’t tolerate this behavior!

      • My point is, the rest of the country truly believes Texans are idiots. Secede from this nation like you’ve always wanted to do. We don’t need you assisting WOMEN losing any more of their rights. Your stupidity in going along with Trump as President shows you’re not capable of critical thinking. You like oligarchs? Go to Russia and take your beloved SOON TO BE CONVICT Donnie with you. Until you can learn this country is FREE. Not texamerica. Your school books suck too. You don’t represent anyone but texass. Small t. Byeee.

    • Lisa, you are an idiot, yes, stay out of Texas. Last we thing we need is another out of town idiot thinking they are above the law. 4 people died this weekend when a drunk driver ran a stop sign and hit them. I guess in your eyes this is ok.

      On a separate note, I know this man “Ponder”. His is a good man, just had a baby girl right before this happened. I hope he gets the help he needs so he can get back to his family, but he will need to do the time.

      • Oddly enough, you promote his being a “good man”, yet you allow him to abandon his family without repercussion. He didn’t kill anyone. But he’ll leave scars on his wife and kids. Men from everywhere can now freely spread their seeds and have a free ticket to walk away from any and all responsibilities that tie them to their offspring. Including drinking like a lush, going to prison, staying away during the hardest times for that poor mother to handle alone. Now what do you suppose he should be charged with for being absent for the next 10 to 20 yrs from his kids life? I mean, after all, you require a woman to have that baby, yet you won’t require a man to tend to his responsibilities. There MUST be a law for men to be responsible for their offspring for the first 18 years. ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSES. HE MUST DO ANOTHER 10 FOR ABANDONMENT!!! PERIOD. TIT FOR TAT. My body, my choice. We’re coming for the men now. Keep your ducks in yours pants. Quacks

  2. Ps. Your state is so full of bigotry and racism. And you’re proud of it!! You imprison MINORS FOR LIFE!! You are just like Russia. So many, many similarities. You ought not be too proud of your state’s poor reputation. It really is bad. Go take more books from the library that will actually teach TRUTH to the people instead of running away from subjects that make you feel ashamed of being white. In not ashamed.
    I’m also not afraid of knowing the truth about what your forefathers did to this country of supposedly free people. To black people. Get over it. They’re here to stay and thrive. Like they did in Selma Oklahoma before Y’ALL bombed the shit out of them. Jealous much? It’s really embarrassing more than shameful. Well, both, but we know Texans are narcissists so I doubt you’ll even see my point. You’ve got it bad. So proud. Of what???? Take more women’s rights. Take our constitution and wipe with it. That’s how I see you, Texas. Sorry if it stings.

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