Collins sentenced to 15 years incarceration for double intoxication homicide

Published 8:27 pm Thursday, July 27, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Travis Collins wife, Nicol, broke down in tears as the sentencing was announced in court on Thursday.

Collins, 30, was sentenced by a jury to 15 years of incarceration plus $5,000 fine in each cases of intoxicated homicide.

The terms will run concurrently according to Judge Courtney Arkeen of the 128th District.

Collins was found competent to stand trail in April of this year and pleaded guilty on July 13 to driving while intoxicated leading to the death of Riley Portie, 52, and his wife Emily Portie, 50.

According to investigators, Collins is accused driving drunk on May 24, 2015 in the 1200 block of Park Street in Orange. Collins allegedly took off at a high rate of speed causing his vehicle to jump the railroad tracks, and go airborne landing on the Porties.

The couple was traveling west on Park Street near the intersection of 12th Street when they were struck by Collins pickup truck. Both were killed instantly at the scene.

“It has been very emotional on both sides,” Arkeen said prior to victim impact statements on Thursday.

The jury had to also decide on a ‘special issue’ which was if the vehicle Collins was driving was considered a deadly weapon.

Deadly Weapon applies to felony offenses and is defined in Texas Penal Code Section 1.07 as:

(A) a firearm or anything manifestly designed made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury (i.e. deadly weapon by design); or

(B) anything that in the manner or its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury (i.e. deadly weapon by use”).

Under subsection (B) objects that are generally not considered dangerous by design may become so by the manner in which they are used in the offense. Thomas v. State, 821 S.W.2d 616, 620 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991). The object must be used in a manner capable of causing death or serious bodily injury to fall into the deadly weapon class. McCain v. State, 22 S.W.3d 497, 503 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000). To sustain a deadly weapon finding the evidence must demonstrate: (1) the object meets the definition of a deadly weapon; (2) the deadly weapon was used or exhibited during the transaction on which the felony is based; and (3) other people were put in actual danger.

“Firearm” means any device designed, made, or adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy generated by an explosion or burning substance or any device readily convertible to that use.

“Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, according to

If a person is convicted of a crime involving a deadly, the person is ineligible to receive probation from a judge.

If a jury recommends probation and finds a deadly weapon was used or exhibited the judge may place the convicted in prison for a term of 60 to 120 days.

A deadly weapon finding also requires a person serve at least one-half of their prison sentence before being eligible for parole.

“Today I witnessed two families courageously face overwhelming grief – one lost a loving couple in a senseless tragedy and the other – grieves a husband/father sentenced to prison for the unintentional deaths of the beautiful couple,” Pastor Robert L. Edwards said. “As a pastor and minister, I have noticed that many people try to ignore the pain of a traumatic encounter and hide behind hate and mistrust, boisterous and obnoxious statements, and superficial antidotes, but today just the opposite happened in our local courtroom. I watched two families, bonding through a gut-wrenching tragedy, do something godly and amazing – they actually “acknowledged” the humanness of each other and earnestly prayed for one another.”

He said he saw the sentencing as mercy and justice for both sides.

“I saw biblical HOPE – that hope that is “confident expectation” that God will and “is” seeing us through. Unfortunately many people in tragic situations loose hope and mercilessly pass blame and spew accusations without regard for a “confident expectation” that tomorrow will be better. Experience has taught me that when someone or anyone fans the flame of blame many – innocent and guilty alike – rarely recover,” Edwards said. “In death, especially unexpected and tragic, hope needs a friend called “compassion” to show up. Not only was hope in our courtroom but also compassion. I witnessed two families “suffer with” each other through their respective loss – not in judgment over or condemnation of – but an earnestness and desire to relieve and reduce the emotional pain each family was experiencing.”

Mallorie, the Portie’s daughter-in-law, said during victim impact statements, “Every choice effects us and everyone around us. Think of us, then pray for us. We will never heal. We will try to forgive but we can never forget.”

“Today I saw that “overwhelming grief” was not the victor in our courtroom. Joy, though not completely visible, is on the horizon for these families,” Edwards said. “As we prayed one and for each other, God allowed us to witness repentance, remembrance, gratitude and resilience rising from the ashes. Today, we found that we can find ways to support each other just as easily as we can find ways to tear down. The truth is – death hurts, people make grand mistakes but good can come out of hopeless situations when we choose to confidently expect tomorrow to be better.  Truly our God gives beauty for ashes, strength for fears, gladness for mourning and peace through despair. It also doesn’t hurt if we do our part – to give hope and share compassion.”