A stand-off between police and a Texas man, who holed up on his 47-acre ranch for fifteen years after he assaulted a police officer, ended peacefully this week when the man --and the sheriff's department -- were informed that charges against him were dropped back in 2014.
According to WFAA, John Joe Gray was arrested in 1999 for assaulting a state trooper during a traffic stop when he was found carrying a pistol without a permit. Telling the officer it was his God-given right to carry the gun, Gray attacked the officer and bit him.
Although charged with assaulting a public servant, Gray refused to go to court and face charges. Instead he armed himself in his home, warning law enforcement officials if they came looking for him that they better "bring extra body bags. Those who live by the sword will die."
Since that time, Gray has kept to his property -- festooned with anti-government signs, with one reading, "Vaccinations equal annihilation."
Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt said he never sent officers in to extract Gray, saying he feared for their lives if they entered the property.
"It wasn't worth it,” the sheriff said. “Joe Gray has been in prison out there himself, in my opinion, for 14 years."
During that time, Gray, his children and his grandchildren, have patrolled the property with pistols and rifles, refusing to let strangers in.
Unknown to Gray -- and the sheriff's office -- the charges against him were dropped in 2014 when the district attorney left office, meaning he could have left the property during the past year.
Sheriff Nutt calls the end to the 15-year-old standoff a relief.
"Yeah. It takes pressure off people. And it may take pressure off them," the sheriff said. “There's always been the potential for something bad happening.”
Watch the video below from WFAA: