Texas man sentenced to 50 years in prison for stealing a rack of ribs

Forty-three year old Willie Smith Ward was sentenced earlier this week, by a jury of his peers in Waco, Texas, to 50 years in prison for stealing a $35 rack of ribs from a grocery store and threatening a cashier with a knife.

Take a minute to process that one, and to also consider the fact that Jean Valjean only got 19 years for his crime of stealing a loaf of bread in ‘Les Mis.’ Yep. 21st Century Texas– actually worse than the slums of Paris before the French Revolution.

The harsh sentence was imposed as a result of Ward having a five-item long rap sheet, including cocaine possession, attempted robbery and leaving the scene of an accident. He will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least a quarter of his sentence.

For their part, Texas officials are very proud of the decision, and do not appear to find it weird or horrifying at all:

“This verdict shows that the citizens of this county will not tolerate a continued disrespect and disregard for other people and their property,” said Assistant District Attorney J.R. Vicha, who prosecuted Ward with Chris Bullajian. “People who choose to do so will be dealt with seriously and appropriately.”

That sure is true. Texas is number one in both prison population and executions in the country. I’m pretty sure that you can be sentenced to death there for jaywalking, so technically, this guy got off pretty light.