District Judge Jason Cashon has sentenced Bruce Duane Vannoy to 34 years in prison for the March 10 shooting of Erath County resident Cody Dickson.
Vannoy, 43, pled guilty to aggravated assault, a second degree felony, which carried a range of punishment of two to 20 years in prison. Because of Vannoy’s criminal record, which included a conviction for burglary committed in 1993, the punishment level was enhanced.
District Attorney Alan Nash recommended a sentence of 34 years based on the defendant’s criminal history and plea of guilty.
This past March, the Erath County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call after Dickson was shot in the neck with a shotgun on County Rd. 539 near his home.
Dickson had pulled up to a pickup truck driven by Vannoy, whom Dickson had known since they attended high school in the early 1990's in Grayson County. Vannoy shot Dickson with a single-shot shotgun. Dickson survived the blast and drove himself to his home, where his long-time companion, Lacey Terry, also resided. Terry dialed 911 and drove Dickson toward Stephenville.
Dickson and Terry were intercepted by Chief Deputy Heath Crossland, who escorted them to the hospital in Stephenville. Before losing consciousness, Dickson was able to identify his assailant to Crossland as “Bruce”.
Investigators and deputies immediately responded to the scene of the shooting. Vannoy had fled. An extensive investigation and manhunt ensued, with Vannoy being identified as the assailant and taken into custody in Collinsville, Texas with the assistance of the Texas Ranger Brad Oliver.
The shooting occurred during a period of methamphetamine use by Vannoy coupled with his efforts to rekindle a past romantic relationship with Terry.
“Mr. Dickson is fortunate to be alive and back at home and work after suffering such an assault,” Nash said in a statement. “This defendant is fortunate, despite his attempt otherwise, not to have been facing a murder charge.”
Vannoy will not discharge his sentence until 2051. Because of his use of a firearm in the assault, Vannoy will not be eligible for parole review until, at the earliest, 2034.
“The swift work of Sheriff’s Department, together with the work of the joint Special Crimes Unit formed by the Sheriff’s Department and Stephenville Police Department, ensured that Vannoy was taken into custody and neutralized as a danger within hours of the assault,” Nash said.