Port Arthur man changes plea in shooting case after female victim shot in face

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2023

A Port Arthur man who pleaded guilty to shooting a woman in the face is set for sentencing in September.

John Fitzgerald Rice, 58, was set for trial Tuesday afternoon in Judge Raquel West’s courtroom on a charge of aggravated assault, but changed his plea to guilty before the trial began.

West ordered a pre-sentencing report and is scheduled to hand down a sentence at 9 a.m. Sept. 11, according to information from the court.

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Rice’s sentence is capped at 12 years, and probation is also a possibility.

Rice allegedly shot a 31-year-old woman in the face during an argument on March 1, 2022.

A warrant was issued for his arrest, and he turned himself in to authorities April 6, 2022, and later was released after posting a $150,000 bond.

The case was then forwarded to the Jefferson County District Attorneys’ office for review.