(FOX 44) – A San Saba man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for Aggravated Kidnapping.

According to the 33rd/424th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, District Judge Evan Stubbs sentenced 35-year-old Joseph Cox on Thursday. This was announced after a brief hearing including testimony of five witnesses – including Cox – who testified on his own behalf.

Cox was placed on ten years deferred adjudication probation in 2016 after pleading guilty to luring a fellow San Saba County resident, identified as Asa Harbour, into a vehicle – driving him out to a rural part of the county, assaulting him and threatening to kill him.

The state filed a motion to adjudicate Cox’s guilt on April 13, 2022 – after he failed to report to his probation officer several times and continued to use illegal narcotics while on probation.

At an adjudication hearing, a court determines whether a defendant has violated the conditions of his probation; the defendant’s guilt is already established when he is granted probation. The
hearing before the 424th District Judge was held on Thursday morning.

Assistant District Attorney Tanner Barnes presented the State’s case, with help from fellow Assistant District Attorneys Emily Sterling and Martin Strahan.

At the hearing, the State called San Saba County Sheriff David Jenkins and Brett Walker, who
manages the high risk case load for the Burnet County Adult Probation Department. Sheriff
Jenkins handled the original investigation into the case and testified to the evidence showing that Cox was a party to assaulting the victim while he was held by Cox and others.

Cox gave testimony that conflicted with his 2016 plea, and admitted to using methamphetamine
while on probation. After hearing Cox’s testimony, Judge Stubbs ordered him to take a drug test
to determine if he would be positive for methamphetamine, but he refused to comply with the order.

Following the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Tanner Barnes said, “The sentence assessed
by the Judge in this case was appropriate, and San Saba County is safer because of it. The
Defendant never took ownership of the violent acts he committed, and didn’t take seriously the
opportunities he was given on probation. I credit this result to the hard work of the San Saba
County Sheriff’s Office and the Burnet County Adult Probation Department.”

District Attorney Sonny McAfee agreed with Barnes and added, “If a defendant is not going to
take responsibility when given a second chance, he can expect to have his probation revoked,
and go to prison. The choice is his.”