Orange County man successful in sentence appeal following intoxication manslaughter case

Published 12:12 am Friday, June 2, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

An Orange County man serving time on two counts of intoxication manslaughter successfully appealed his sentence.

Jesse Allen Griffin, 32, of Vidor was originally sentenced to two 14-year sentences in the 2019 deaths of Vernon Morris, 40, and Alvin Beck, 45, both of Mississippi, after pleading guilty to intoxicated manslaughter. The terms were to run consecutively.

According to a document from the Court of Appeals Ninth District of Texas at Beaumont, Griffin made the guilty plea but made no agreement regarding punishment.

“After a bench trial regarding punishment only, the trial court sentenced Griffin to 14 years incarceration for each count to run consecutively,” the document stated.

Griffin believed since he was pleading guilty to a third degree felony he would face punishment of two to 10 years.

A court coordinator with Judge Courtney Arkeen’s courtroom said the next steps are for the court to get a bench warrant and bring Griffin back and placed on the docket. He would also need a new attorney to represent him.

A date for this is not available as of Thursday.

The crash

At approximately 5 a.m. Oct. 19, 2019, the Texas Department of Public Safety responded to a six-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 near Adams Bayou. Preliminary investigation showed westbound traffic was stopped due to an earlier crash.

The driver of a GMC pickup truck was traveling westbound on I-10, failed to control speed and sideswiped a Hyundai passenger vehicle. The GMC then rear-ended a Ford pickup truck, which caused a chain reaction crash involving three more vehicles, according to previous reports.

The driver of the Ford, Vernon Morris, 40, and passenger Alvin Beck, 45, both of Mississippi, died at the scene.

The drivers of the other vehicles were not seriously injured but were taken to local hospitals for observation.

At the crash site, Troopers reportedly saw several signs of intoxication by the driver of the GMC and found the driver, Griffin, to be intoxicated. He was arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter. After he was medically cleared, he was brought to the Orange County Jail.

Griffin is currently incarcerated at the Goree Unit in Huntsville, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

— Written by Mary Meaux