James Paul Calvert, a Henderson man who spent six days fleeing from law enforcement, was sentenced to life in prison Thursday by Rusk County District Judge Clay Gossett.
The sentence was issued following a revocation hearing for the sexual assault of a child charge. Calvert, 47, is still facing charges of burglary of habitation, escape, aggravated assault of a peace officer, aggravated kidnapping, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and several more charges.
The six-day manhunt ensued Oct. 22 after dispatch received a tip on Calvert’s possible location. The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office located Calvert at a cemetery on Texas Highway 64, where a vehicle chase began.
“We chased him for miles around multiple county roads before he wrecked into a creek, but by the time we got there he was gone,” said RCSO Sgt. David Roberts. “That is when he fled to the woods and we were able to spot him three or four times, but after it got dark we didn’t have anymore sightings.”
The RCSO spent the next few days talking to people they knew Calvert was associated with and followed tips that were called in.
“We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday visiting residences and following tips,” Rusk County Sheriff Jeff Price said. “The only day we actually did not have a tip on him was Friday.”
Law enforcement spent Saturday searching and on Sunday Price said they got a tip on Calvert’s location.
“By the time we gathered enough people to go out we had just missed him, but this time we had a vehicle description,” Price said.
Shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday, Henderson Police spotted the vehicle in the 2300 block of U.S. Highway 79 South. According to a probable cause affidavit, when HPD Sgt. Brian Graham attempted to make contact with the driver of the vehicle, they fled the scene and lead officers on a chase throughout Rusk County at speeds of 100 miles per hour.
The vehicle stopped on County Road 414 and Calvert and the female driver exited the vehicle. Calvert ran into the woods and the female was arrested for evading arrest and hindering apprehension, both third degree felonies. She has since been released from the Rusk County Jail on bond.
The RCSO, HPD and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice canine handlers pursued Calvert for more than seven hours following his second escape into the woods.
“When he hit the woods he didn’t stop because later we found out that before we could even get the perimeter set he had already crossed Highway 79,” Price said. “We called the TDCJ dogs out of Palestine and they picked up his scent across 79 so we collapsed that perimeter and re-established a new one.”
Price said the TDCJ dogs came up to the back of a house off of County Road 462.
“The back door of this residence was open and no one was home,” Price said. “A neighbor was able to give us a vehicle description and we found out that Calvert kidnapped the homeowner at gunpoint and forced him to drive him to another location on County Road 481.”
The RCSO sent the tactical team to clear the residence on County Road 481, but Calvert had just left the location.
“TDCJ said they would stay until we found him or called it off, whichever came first so they took the dogs and horses to the house on 481 and as soon as the dogs made a lap around the house they took off,” Price said. “They went about 150 yards toward a pond and when the handlers couldn’t get them to come back they got closer and found the dogs diving into the water,” Price said. “By the time the handlers got around to the dogs Calvert pops up out of the pond.”
According to a probable cause affidavit, Calvert was ordered out of the pond and to place his weapon on the ground, which he refused repeated commands. Calvert exited the pond with the pistol under his chin instructing law enforcement to shoot.
After a 45-minute standoff with more than 26 officers from the RCSO, HPD, TDCJ, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Overton Police Department, a less than lethal bean bag round was deployed striking Calvert in the right hand.
Three RCSO deputies were able to take Calvert down and take him into custody.
“We’re thankful that it went the way it did and no one was hurt,” Price said.