Houston Teen Sentenced to 30 Years for Chinatown Attack Leaving Woman Paralyzed
Joseph Harrell, 18, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Thursday for his involvement in three violent attacks, one of which occurred in Houston’s Chinatown and left a 41-year-old woman paralyzed. The announcement was made by Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.
Harrell pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery causing serious bodily injury for the mid-day attack on Nhung Troung, which took place on February 13. Surveillance footage captured Harrell picking up the victim and slamming her to the ground, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.
The incident shed light on the alarming crime trend known as “jugging,” where robbers target bank or shopping area customers, following them to steal their money or valuables at a different location.
District Attorney Ogg emphasized the importance of community safety, stating, “People should feel safe in our community and not have to worry about looking over their shoulders whenever they go to the bank or run errands.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Harrell must serve at least half of his sentence before being eligible for parole. He is also prohibited from appealing the conviction or the sentence. In exchange for his guilty plea, two other charges related to separate attacks were dismissed.
Assistant District Attorney Sean Kozar-King from the DA’s Organized Crime Division prosecuted the case. He praised the Houston Police Department’s Robbery Division for their thorough investigation.
Describing the victim’s ordeal, Kozar-King said, “She was going about her daily routine and had taken money out of the bank to go see her family in Vietnam, and that’s when he attacked. He not only stole a significant amount of money, but he paralyzed her, maybe forever. It’s still unclear how long she will be in a wheelchair.”