Burglary of Habitation in Hull

HULL, May 30, 2015 - On Thursday, 05/14/2015, at approximately 11:30 AM, the Liberty County Sheriff's Office received a call regarding an intruder in the residence of Cory & Jenna Brett off CR 2046 in the Community of Hull, Liberty County, Texas. Jenna Brett had returned home, with her young child, and reported that she heard someone exit the rear door of the residence as she came in the front.

Jenna Brett stated that she noticed a white male, mid to late thirties, approximately six feet tall and 180 pounds, wearing a dark ball cap, dark t-shirt and blue jeans walking around to the front of the residence. The victim stated that she called out to the man and asked him what he was doing on her property and, at that time, the actor changed direction and began walking toward the residence and toward her. The victim stated that she could now see that this person had brown hair and he was unshaven (describing him as not exactly beareded but he looked as if he just hadn't shaved in a couple days). She stated he was carrying a plastic shopping bag.

The victim stated that when she believed that the man intended on making contact with her she then retreated into the residence, locked the door, armed herself and safeguarded her child. Jenna Brett then alerted the Liberty County Sheriff's Office by calling 9-1-1 and requesting immediate law enforcement assistance. The victim reported that the actor tried to turn the door knob several times before fleeing.

Multiple agencies, including the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, Liberty County Precinct #2 Constable's Office and the Daisetta Police Department responded immediately to the scene. Upon arrival it was learned that the actor had apparently already fled the scene on foot in an unknown direction of travel.

Law enforcement investigating the initial call created a perimeter and began house by house citizen-assisted searches in an effort to locate the suspect, however, after approximately 2 hours no suspect could be located. It should be noted that this is a sprawling rural area containing multiple acres of tall grass and trees or wooded areas with a railway running east and west just south of the Brett residence and neighboring properties which provided numerous places to avoid detection. During the search, however, signs of forced entry to a travel trailer located in near proximity to the Brett residence was also discovered.

The Liberty County Sheriff's Office received witness statements and filed an offense report in regard to Burglary of a Habitation. The case was assigned to Liberty County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division Sergeant Investigator Billy Knox for further investigation. Prior to disembarking from the scene, officers ensured that all assisting agencies received a clear description of the alleged suspect. A list of all known stolen items was obtained which included a diamond ring. Sergeant Knox would later view a photograph of the ring.

On Thursday, 05/14/2015, at approximately 3:30 PM, Daisetta Police Department Officer Terry Cosgrove was monitoring school zone traffic on FM Hwy 770 at FM Hwy 834 in the City of Daisetta, Liberty County, Texas when she observed a white male walking southbound into the city. This person was coming from the general direction of the residence which had just been burglarized. Officer Cosgrove contacted Daisetta Police Chief Mike Parrish to confirm the description of the burglary suspect and then advised Parrish that she may have located the suspect entering the City of Daisetta. Parrish immediately proceeded to Cosgrove's location to assist.

Officer Cosgrove then detained the suspect, identified as 37-year-old Phillip Henry Freeman of 2 Twin Springs, The Woodlands, Texas, in the parking lot of Liberty County EMS, and was maintaining the detention when Chief Parrish arrived.

The officers quickly surmised that Freeman was not a known resident of this area and when asked where he was coming from Freeman repeatedly answered, "From down the road." The officers observed that Freeman's pants and feet were covered in mud and water from just below the knee area downward and further noted that he displayed all the usual signs of advanced intoxication. Freeman was carrying a backpack which he did grant Officer Cosgrove consent to search. Officer Cosgrove discovered two large bottles of alcohol, two plastic shopping bags and several pieces of jewelry including an expensive diamond ring.

As Cosgrove continued the search of the bag, Freeman continued to avoid answering Parrish's question in regard to where he was coming from. Freeman, who was wearing shoes known as "Crocks," slowly stepped out of his shoes then stepped backward just before darting toward Parrish (between the officers) and began running northbound along the shoulder of FM Hwy 770. Parrish and Cosgrove quickly apprehended the suspect and brought him to the ground approximately 20 feet from the original detention location. Freeman used physical force against the officers but was successfully handcuffed and taken into custody after a brief struggle. Freeman was then secured in Officer Cosgrove's patrol unit and Sergeant Knox responded to the scene.

Sergeant Knox arrived and positively identified the diamond ring while it was learned that the suspect possessed a lengthy criminal history including a conviction for robbery, theft by check, theft of service and the suspect was currently wanted on outstanding felony and misdemeanor theft warrants issued via Harris County Sheriff's Office.

The evidence was recovered at the scene by Sergeant Knox while Officer Cosgrove transported Freeman to the Liberty County Jail where he was released to the jail staff for booking.

The following week Freeman pled guilty, in County Court, to the charges of public intoxication (C Misdemeanor), evading arrest or detention (A Misdemeanor) and Resisting Arrest (A Misdemeanor) and received one-year's probation while remaining incarcerated at the Liberty County Jail. Sergeant Knox completed his investigation and obtained warrants charging Freeman with Burglary of a Habitation and a separate Class B Theft.

Burlary tools such as a small crowbar and a screwdriver were also recovered during the initial arrest.

"Officer Cosgrove did an outstanding job by being mindful of the description of this suspect and vigilent by keeping a sharp lookout for him just in case he happened to enter the city while on patrol on May 14, 2015," said Chief Parrish. "Freeman's criminal history and the actions he reportedly took toward the victim as well as his thwarted attempt to evade and resist arrest are indicative of a potentially very dangerous person."

Parrish went on to say, "Even though the Daisetta Police Department is a small law enforcement agency we are always willing to assist other agencies, whenever requested, to help provide a safer environment for Daisetta and greater Liberty County. Sergeant Knox' investigation was handled in an extremely professional manner and I'm confident that we'll see convictions in these two cases as well."

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