A Liberty County jury found Curtis Leon Tarver, Jr., 50, guilty of Manufacture and Delivery of Methamphetamine and sentenced him to 99 years in prison on July 26, 2022. The Honorable Judge Mark Morefield, 75th Judicial District Court, presided over the two-day trial.
Prosecutors Kevin Barnes and Kayla Herrington presented evidence that on July 23, 2019, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ranson Martel, along with other members of the Drug Task Force, conducted an investigation into the distribution of illegal narcotics in Liberty County, Texas. Through the use of a criminal informant (CI), Deputy Martel obtained a search warrant and raided the house of Curtis Leon Tarver, Jr. and Crystal Garcia, seizing over 130 grams of Methamphetamine.
During the guilt/innocence phase of trial, the State sought to protect the identity and safety of the CI and successfully defeated attempts by Tarver’s Counsel to force the State to reveal the CI utilized in this case. Additionally at trial, the State presented numerous witnesses, including Deputy Martel and Sergeant Paul Young, who testified regarding the items recovered in the house, including narcotics, scales, and packaging materials.
Deputy Martel further testified regarding a prior incident in which Tarver exchanged Methamphetamine for sex from a drug addict who was going through symptoms of drug withdrawal. In his defense, Tarver’s Counsel called his girlfriend, Crystal Garcia, to the stand. Garcia unsuccessfully attempted to convince the Jury that all the illegal drugs found in the home were solely hers, and that Tarver was unaware that they were in the home.
During her testimony, the State caught Garcia in numerous lies, as well as the fact that she was illegally being provided the State’s witness’ testimony from Tarver during the trial. In addition, the State also played multiple jail calls between Tarver and Garcia wherein Tarver threatened Garcia with violence and indicated instances of prior abuse. The actions of Tarver demonstrated why Garcia would have taken the stand and made untruthful statements on his behalf. It took the jury less than an hour to find Tarver guilty.
During punishment, the State presented evidence that Tarver had six prior felony convictions, including one for sexual assault. Evidence was also presented that Tarver had threatened to beat his defense attorney and that he had previously posted nude photos of a former girlfriend on Facebook without her consent. After deliberating for a short period of time, the jury returned a verdict of 99 years in prison. In addition to this case, Tarver has seven additional felony cases pending in Liberty County, all of which will be evaluated by the State and a determination made whether to pursue convictions via further jury trials or plea agreements.
“This office doesn’t seek a 99-year sentence on a whim. When we do, it is because the underlying crime or the crime plus the defendant’s history demands that the only rational sentence is to keep this defendant out of our community for as long as possible. I sincerely thank the Jury for their willingness to stand up and ensure that their friends, families, and neighbors will be safe from this one individual for the maximum extent the law allows,” Assistant District Attorney Kevin Barnes.
District Attorney Jennifer L. Bergman said her office is committed to focusing special attention on bringing justice to dangerous criminals and repeat offenders.
“Curtis Leon Tarver, Jr. was a true habitual and career criminal. Let this verdict send a message to career criminals and drug dealers in Liberty County that we do not tolerate crime within our County. In addition, because of the commitment of these jurors and the outstanding work of law enforcement, a lifelong, committed criminal is off our streets. Liberty County is a safer place because of their work,” she said.