WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) - Family, friends, and colleagues gathered for a retirement ceremony honoring 30th District Court Judge Bob Brotherton.
Judge Brotherton shook hands for nearly an hour as people gave their well wishes and told him about how much he has impacted their lives.
He said it made him feel extremely humble.
“It’s a great feeling to have this many people here. I think most of them are sorry to see me go." Brotherton went on to jokingly say, "Some of them are here just to be sure that I do go.”
Judge Brotherton said he has always tried not to take himself too seriously, but his career required him to make tough decisions in many serious cases.
The manner in which he carried out his duties has earned the kind of respect few achieve in their lifetimes.
Since 1989, He has tried cases that have garnered lots of attention. The one that stays with him the most happened nearly 20 years ago – the capital murder case of serial killer Faryian Woodrip.
“That case is still not resolved. He pled guilty, was sentenced to death, his case is still caught up in the federal writ process. There needs to be closure for the family – people that were victims, and members of the family that were victims. It just lingers for them,” Brotherton said.
He also always strived for transparency in his courtroom, which is why he allowed cameras inside to make sure information was not lost in translation.
Brotherton's legacy is sure to live on in those he worked with and those he mentored in Wichita County's legal community.
District Attorney-Elect John Gillespie remembers, “He was the first judge that I practiced in front of in felony court. I was in front of him for over 16 years. He's such a good man and such a fine judge, and he'll be missed.”
Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said, “His goal was how can we always do things better he's going to be missed. Judge McKnight that's going to be coming in will be good juris also. He'll take a little while to grow to Brotherton’s stature, but I think he will rise to the occasion.”
Jeff McKnight hopes to uphold his duties in the same manner his predecessor has.
“He doesn't know it, but he's been a mentor to me. Just watching him and just watching his presence in the courtroom – he's been a mentor from day one,” McKnight said.
Earlier this year a courtroom was named after Judge Brotherton in Wichita County's Juvenile Justice Center, and his portrait joins other previous judges on the wall of the 30th district courtroom.
Brotherton said of those honors, “It’s nice to know that kids and grandkids even after I’m gone will be able to see that. So, I’m very proud of all that.”