Sheriff Jeff Lyde found guilty

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 7:22 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Twelve jurors unanimously found Former Sheriff Jeff Lyde guilty on one count of official oppression and one count of tampering with governmental records.

Before the verdict, the jurors heard closing arguments from District Attorney Staley Heatly and Defense Attorney Robert Estrada. Heatly said Lyde’s actions were intentional. He argued that 17 days before Lyde released another person from jail Aaron Saldana with the help of a judge. Heatly reminded jurors that Judge John Swenson made several attempts to magistrate Landon Goad and Sara Johnson that weekend but was unsuccessful because Swenson was told, a probable cause affidavit was not ready.

“It’s an important case, and a case where someone needed to be held for account for abusing their office and we owe a duty to the constitution whether we’re prosecutors, whether we’re police officers to make sure we follow the rules that are set forth and that didn’t happen and in this case and the jury here in Montague County said we’re not going to accept that,” said Heatly.

In closing arguments, Estrada, said the case was based on mistakes, misconceptions and confusion. He told the jury Lyde’s actions were not intentional. He said Lyde wanted to make a lawful release.