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Wichita County court back in session

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 8:00 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Prosecutors in the Wichita County District Attorney‘s Office can check eight jury trials off their list as they continue to work through the county’s backlog of pending felony cases.

“When you have that first burst out of the gate of being able to be in court again, it was very important to prioritize the cases. Now, we’re having to work with the district court and the judges to continue to get through our cases but we’re ready to go,” said John Gillespie, Wichita County district attorney.

Out of those eight felony jury cases that have been heard before Wichita County judges and district attorney’s office counsel, four resulted in life sentences.

“The biggest case that we tried was the Michael Corey sexual abuse of a child case in the 30th district court. He got two life without parole sentences and another 270 years stacked on top of that. He was a true psychopath and a monster,” said Gillespie.

READ: Gillespie announces re-election campaign

Cases like Michael Corey had been in the county’s backlog for the past 15 months due to the pandemic. However, it’s not just those being accused waiting for a final verdict, their victims are also just as eager for a court date as well.

“I can be that person that explains to victims what’s going on with the case and provide resources that they may need,” said Ebonie Daniels, victims assistance coordinator of the Wichita County District Attorney’s Office.

Starting in January, Wichita County judges will have 28 jury trials instead of their usual 22 to help get through more cases.

“With us having jury trials through the end of the year and especially into next year, jury service is going to be very important to us. If we don’t have enough jurors for qualification, we can’t have all five courtrooms doing jury trials at the same time,” said Meredith Kennedy, 78th district court judge of Wichita County.

Judge Kennedy said Wichita County sends out over 500 summons for jury duty qualification but sometimes less than 200 people may show up. So if you get one of those notifications, she’s asking that you please exercise your civic duty unless you have an excusable reason to not participate.

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