By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – A 72-year-old woman was booked into the Houston County jail on Friday, Aug. 11 after she was indicted by a Houston County Grand Jury on a charge of first degree theft in an amount equal to or greater than $300,000.

Mary Elaine Stephens, of Waxahachie, was taken into custody Friday in connection to an allegation she stole more than $100,000 from the estates of Vencie and Melba Beard.

The indictment alleges Stephens stole the money over a four year time frame between June of 2012 and Feb. of 2016.

The Houston County grand jury met on June 30 in the 349th Judicial District Court.

According to Section 12.32 of the Texas Penal Code, “An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the first degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for life or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than five years. In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the first degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.”

Stephens posted a $10,000 bail amount and was released from the jail, pending trial.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.