Bethany Meade

Bethany Meade

A Cooke County jury found 43-year-old Bethany Allison Meade guilty this week of theft of property with two prior convictions and gave her the maximum sentence of 10 years, according to a news release from District Attorney John Warren.

Meade, of Gainesville, was sentenced on Tuesday, Nov. 6 before 235th District Court Judge Janelle Haverkamp during a jury trial at the Cooke County Courthouse.

The theft charge stemmed from an incident at Walmart, 1800 Lawrence St., on Nov. 22, 2017, Warren said.

Meade was banned from Walmart in 2009 for theft, and this is her 10th theft conviction, according to the release.

Theft of property with two prior convictions is a state jail felony offense, but Meade’s charge was enhanced to a third-degree felony because she has previously been sentenced to confinement twice for theft, Warren said.

A third-degree felony carries a punishment range of 2 to 10 years in prison.

Warren said the jury sent a “strong message” to Meade by giving her the max sentence.

“Theft from any place or person will not be tolerated,” states Warren in the release. “Given her record, I believe the defendant received the proper punishment.”

Meade’s earlier criminal history includes being arrested on charges of assault, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and burglary of a habitation, according to the release.

First Assistant District Attorney Eric Erlandson and Assistant District Attorney Lisa Decker prosecuted the case.

Denton-based attorney George Mitcham represented Meade.

“I presented my client’s case to the jury vigorously, but the jury made a decision that I have to respect whether I agree with it or not,” Mitcham, who was court-appointed, said via an email interview Thursday. “I believe the jury system is a valuable tool to the citizens of Cooke County and I’m convinced they ruled in a manner that they believed was best for the county.”