A Friendswood man accused of shooting his manager at a Dickinson auto shop six times Jan. 12 was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon instead of attempted murder, which angered some area residents.
But the sentencing range for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is the same as the range for an attempted murder charge, Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady said.
Friendswood resident Joshua Allen Lee, 29, has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the shooting of Michael Pavlas, 38, of Alvin.
Pavlas survived being shot several times with a large-caliber handgun Jan. 1 during a dispute about Lee’s work hours, police said.
Michael Pavlas, a father of two, had been a manager at the Gay Family Auto body shop in the 3000 block of Interstate 45 for about two years, his wife, Heather Pavlas, said.
Several Galveston County residents spoke out against the charge, arguing it wasn’t severe enough.
“A prosecutor’s charging decision is always based on the facts of each case,” Roady said. “However, it is common practice in Texas for prosecutors to charge aggravated assault instead of attempted murder because aggravated assault can, depending on the facts of the case, be simpler to prove under the statutory requirements.”
Both attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon are usually second degree felonies that carry a punishment range of two to 20 years in prison, Roady said.
Proving someone is guilty of attempted murder requires the state to prove an intent to kill, however, while aggravated assault with a deadly weapon does not, Roady said.
While prosecutors ultimately brought aggravated assault charges against Lee, they did file Jan. 19 a request to raise his bond amount.
Lee is being held in the Galveston County jail on $90,000 bond, jail records show.
Prosecutors in the Jan. 19 motion requested the judge raise Lee’s bond to $250,000, citing a chase that ensued after the shooting as a reason it’s unsafe for him to be released.
A hearing is tentatively set for Jan. 29 on the motion to raise Lee’s bond, court records show.
After the shooting, Lee fled the dealership in his 2011 Chevy Malibu, Dickinson police Sgt. Tim Cromie said.
A League City patrol officer spotted a car matching the description and a 3-mile chase ensued, ending in the Friendswood-Webster area, Cromie said.
The chase ended when Lee stopped the vehicle and tried to flee on foot, according to a probable cause affidavit in Harris County.
Police stopped him and took him into custody, according to the affidavit.
Lee also is facing a charge of evading arrest in a motor vehicle in Harris County in connection to the police chase, records show.
Police seized a .357-caliber Ruger revolver when they took Lee into custody, Cromie said.
Emergency responders transported Michael Pavlas to Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, where he underwent several surgeries over about seven hours, Heather Pavlas said.