News

A Denton County jury has found Magdiel Valencia GUILTY of Attempted Sexual Assault. Valencia faces two more trials for Sexual Assault & Attempted Sexual Assault. He committed these criminal offenses while working as a massage therapist. Great job by ADA’s Sarah Wood & Kathryn Lowe along with the Frisco Police Department for putting together this complex case. Thank you to the courageous victims who came forward to testify.

On February 13th, a Denton County jury sentenced Ricardo Lara Martinez to 50 years in prison for the murder of Maria Isabel Romero Medina. This has been a very long journey for all of us who are personally involved with the case. It was a collaborative effort with the Denton Police Department, Donna Bloom, and Federal Authorities both in the U.S. and Mexico. When we met with the Romero family, a promise was made that we would get Richie back from Mexico. Despite many roadblocks and sometimes long periods of silence, ADA’s Michael Graves & Lindsey Sheguit along with Sgt. Brad Curtis were able to bring Richie here to face justice. We know Isabel’s family was frustrated with how long it took to get Richie back to the U.S., but they never gave up hope and they rested their faith in us. We pray today’s verdict brings some closure to the family of Isabel. While we can never bring Isabel back, her memory will live on with her son Alek.

http://www.dentonrc.com/news/news/2018/02/13/lara-martinez-receives-50-year-sentence-2014-murder

This week the Second Court of Appeals affirmed Jennifer Nalls’ conviction for DWI. In August of 2016, Nalls was sentenced to 35 years in prison for her 5th DWI conviction. Jurors heard evidence that Nalls’ blood alcohol concentration was 0.285 g/mL, more than 3 1/2 times the 0.08 per se intoxication level. In the punishment phase of trial, jurors learned that this arrest was Nalls’ 5th DWI overall, and that she had been to prison twice before for felony DWI. The jury also found that Nalls used a deadly weapon–her car–in committing her crime. The Highland Village PD made the arrest, ADAs Lauren Marshall and Paul Hiemke presented a strong case at trial, aided by Inv. Jerry Pomposelli, and ADA Matthew Whitten argued the case on appeal.

DA Paul Johnson’s Office Participates in Human Trafficking Summit

Last night, more than 100 people came out to Dan’s Silver Leaf in Denton to hear about the dangers of Human Trafficking.  Assistant District Attorney Sherry Wolf, Denton City Councilwoman Keely Briggs, Kristen Howell from the Denton Co. Children’s Advocacy Center, George Lynch of Traffick911, and Lt. Chris Summitt of the Denton Police Department participated in the discussion and took questions from the audience.  The event focused on the threat of Human Trafficking in our community and what is being done to address it.  Thank you to everyone who attended!

 

 

Honored to be part of the Denton County Children’s Advocacy Center Ground Breaking yesterday in Lewisville. We are excited to see the positive changes made in children’s lives with this new addition!

Another beautiful Saturday out knocking on doors and meeting so many AWESOME Denton County Voters!

Last week the Second Court of Appeals affirmed David Wilbanks’ conviction for sexually assaulting his relative multiple times over a five year period. Judge Sherry Shipman sentenced Wilbanks to 50 years on one count of the indictment and 20 years on another. Judge Shipman also “stacked” the sentences, so that one must be completed before the other begins. ADAs Michelle Dobson and Lauri Frohbieter presented a strong case at trial, with the help of appellate ADA Brendan Hyde defended the conviction on appeal. Good work by The Colony PD and all involved.

Not only were our walk teams working hard last weekend but so were our call teams. Thank you to the call team members helping my campaign reach the most voters possible. We enjoyed talking to folks and look forward to your vote! Don’t forget early voting starts February 20th!

… Rain or Shine, we’re getting the word out …

A BIG thank you to Denton County Voters for all your support!

Ranch Hands Rescue

We are so proud to support such a great cause!

VICTIM ADVOCATE TRAINING:  Veronica Brunner, our Chief Victim Advocate, was asked to teach at today’s lunch and learn for CASA.  24 CASA volunteer advocates attended today’s event.  Mrs. Brunner educated the volunteers on the Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund.

We are always proud to partner with CASA to help the children of Denton County that are victims of abuse.

 

HUMAN TRAFFICKING TRAINING FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT: January is human trafficking awareness month. As part of our efforts to combat the rise of trafficking incidents, The Denton County District Attorney’s Office partnered with the Office of the Attorney General to educate law enforcement on emerging issues and investigative tools to assist in their trafficking cases. Thank you to Kirsta Melton and her staff from the Office of the Attorney General. Also, many thanks to the City of Denton Police Department for co-hosting this event.

ON JANUARY 17, 2017 at approximately 3:30 pm, LEPD and the community of Little Elm suffered a tremendous loss when Detective Jerry Walker was killed in the line of duty. To honor his memory, the Little Elm Police Department will hold a memorial service at 3:30 pm on January 17, 2018, in the Public Safety Building, 88 W. Eldorado Parkway. LEPD would consider it an honor if you would join us that afternoon, and if you cannot attend, please keep the men and women of LEPD and LEFD in your thoughts and prayers that day.

Special thanks to Bob Weir for giving me the opportunity to discuss why I am running for re-election as your District Attorney. Check out the interview and The Cross Timbers Gazette article. Thank you Bob!

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PAROLE DENIED: After serving the first 10 years of his 20 year sentence, Stephen Mole had his first parole hearing on his Intoxication manslaughter sentence in the death of Marilyn Gates yesterday. Several members of the Gates family traveled from New Hampshire to attend the hearing along with our Investigator, Brent Robbins, that worked the case. The parole board said they would have a decision within the next 7 days. However, just 24 hours later, the family received the good news that the Board has denied parole and that he will not be eligible again until 2021. Justice continues for the Gates family.

FAMILY LAW DRUG COURT: The Child Protective Services Division within the Denton County District Attorney’s office partnered with Judge Tiffany Haertling of the 442nd District Court, The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, CASA, Solutions of North Texas and Friends of the Family to try to impact the children of Denton County who have been removed from the custody of their parents due to drug use. Denton County Family Drug Court was developed to try to have a more hands on approach to the lives of these children. Parents with their agreement are provided with an intensive team approach to allow them to beat the horrible monster called addiction. Currently there are twelve parents who are participating. Since the development of the court in March of 2017 – one child has been reunified and there are several more who are getting close to that ultimate goal.

Paul enjoyed attending the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County’s 20th Anniversary Breakfast on November 2nd. Paul is pictured here with new Exec Director, Kristen Howell.

Sunday, October 29th, Paul joined other “celebrity” waiters @ the 19th Annual Evening of Elegance benefiting CASA of Denton County, Inc. Chef Morris Salerno Jr. hosted the event at Bistecca an Italian Steakhouse in Highland Village … $82,375 was raised to support the CASA mission. AMAZING!
DA Provides Law Enforcement Training ~ District Attorney Paul Johnson and members of his staff provided specialized training this week for Denton County law enforcement. DA Investigator Brent Robbins and prosecutor Lauren Marshall presented the 3 day Advanced DWI course, which included topics on investigative tactics in Intoxication Assault and Manslaughter cases, obtaining blood draws, and effective courtroom testimony. Thank you to the Denton Police Department for hosting this important event and to all of the local law enforcement who attended.

Criminal District Attorney Paul Johnson invites you to attend a Community In Control Luncheon on October 27th at 11:30 a.m. This luncheon will focus on educating the public about Domestic Violence. Members of the Denton County DA’s Office, the Denton Police Department, and Friends of the Family will speak and provide information how you can help end the cycle of abuse. #DenCoSaysNo

Food is being provided free of charge by our good friends at Chiloso!


Assistant District Attorney Ali Horton spoke to Lewisville/Flower Mound Teen Court volunteers on September 26th. These are students who volunteer their time to participate in punishment hearings for juvenile class c offenders. This is a great way for high school students to learn how the justice system works and to gain an understanding of court room procedures. The volunteers fill various different roles: prosecution, defense, bailiff, and jurors. Ali spoke to them about what our DA’s Office does on a regular basis, basic criminal procedure, and how to give opening statements and closing arguments. Thank you Ali, for volunteering your time to help these students.

DAVID THAMES SENTENCED TO 60 YEARS : September 15th, a Denton County jury found David Thames guilty of Burglary of a Habitation for breaking into the home of a pregnant woman and brutally raping her. Today, that same jury sentenced David Thames to 60 years in prison. Thames was indicted for Burglary of a Habitation, a first degree felony, and faced up to Life in Prison. During punishment, the State was able to prove that four days after this Burglary, Thames entered a home in Farmer’s Branch and beat a woman while attempting to sexually assault her. The woman’s 2 year old child was present. DNA evidence connected Thames to both crimes. The State also presented evidence of Thames past criminal history. ADA’s Michael Dickens and Rachel Nichols prosecuted the case for the State with help from Inv. Eddie Huckabee. We’d like to thank Dallas PD Detective Todd Haecker for all of his hard work investigating this case. We’d also like to thank the jurors for putting away this monster.
CHILD MOLESTER SENTENCED: August 23rd Judge Brody Shanklin of the 211th District Court sentenced James Cottle to Life Without Parole for the offense of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child. ADA’s Rick Daniel and Jesse Eyer presented evidence and argument for the State of Texas. Detective Rick Crociata of the Lewisville PD did an excellent job Investigating this heinous crime. Our office will continue to work relentlessly prosecuting and bringing to justice those who prey on young children.
ERIC JOHNSON SENTENCED FOR MURDER:  Yesterday, a Denton County jury found Eric Johnson guilty of Murder for the shooting death  of UNT student Sara Mutschlechner.  Today, that same jury sentenced Eric Johnson to 44 years in prison.  Johnson was indicted for firing two shots at the car in which Mutschlecnher was driving. This followed a dispute after a party that the occupants of the car had attended.  The loss of Sara effected not only her family, but the UNT community as well.  ADA’s Tony Paul and Michelle Dobson prosecuted the case for the State of Texas.  Inv. Joe Erwin from the DA’s Office also assisted in the successful prosecution of Eric Johnson. We’d like to thank the Denton Police Department for all of their hard work investigating  this case. We’d also like to thank the Yuma PD and NCIS for assisting in the investigation.

It was our honor to attend the 21st Annual Denton County Fallen Officers Memorial. May we never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

EDUCATING OUR FUTURE ~ Every year the District Attorney’s Office helps the Aubrey High School Law Enforcement Class with their Mock Trial.  The juniors and seniors enrolled in the class come to the Courthouse, and with the help of our prosecutors and investigators, put on a Mock Trial.  This year ADA Paul Hiemke and Dustin Gossage along with Investigator Dale Chegwidden assisted the students.  We also had the help of Judge Brody Shanklin, District Judge of the 211th District Court.  The students and their teacher, Jim Siano, prepare for this case presentation and do a wonderful job.  We are delighted to help these promising students!
SMART ON CRIME ~ The United Way of Denton County donated a total of $30,000 to Denton County’s Specialized Treatment Court programs through the generous support and donation from Joe Mulroy.  These Treatment programs include Veteran’s, Mental Health and Drug Treatment Courts.  None of these specialized treatment dockets would be possible without the assistance and cooperation of the District Attorney’s Office.  Criminal cases are prosecuted solely by the DA’s office, and therefore, the DA’s office chooses the eligible participants.  These defendants  get specialized treatment based on their particular need, and if they successfully complete their program, their case(s) will be dismissed thus keeping their records clean. PICTURED WITH PAUL JOHNSON ARE GARY HENDERSON WITH UNITED WAY AND JOE MULROY.
Veterans Honored at Special Event ~ On Friday, May 12th, DA Paul Johnson attended the “22KILL” veteran event hosted by the the Denton County Republican Party.  The 22KILL movement started in 2013 after the VA released the staggering statistic that an average of 22 veterans are killed by suicide every day.  22KILL, the name referencing this statistic, works to raise public awareness of this important issue and educate the public on mental health issues facing veterans.  This issue and organizations such as 22KILL is why Paul devotes his office’s resources to support the Denton County Veterans Treatment Court Program.  Paul was honored to be invited to attend.  For more information on 22KILL, please visit:  www.22Kill.com

Campaign Kickoff a Huge Success! ~ Thank you to all my supporters – Our May 11th Campaign Kickoff was just amazing – and we are just getting started! We had a great turnout, and I was honored and humbled by all the words of encouragement, not to mention the donations. It was great to see so many of my fellow Elected Officials, law enforcement officers, and members of our community partners. What was even more encouraging was to get to meet so many new supporters. We had citizens that came out because they had been personally impacted by the work we do at the DA’s office. They wanted to make sure we felt their appreciation and support going forward. I could not have asked for a better kick-off. I can assure you all, I do not take it for granted, and no one will work harder than me to continue serving you.  Thank you! Let’s keep it rolling!

Congrats to ADA Lauri Frohbieter! She was chosen as Team Member of the Year today at the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County. Many thanks for all your hard work!!

Polo on the Lawn 2017 ~ Paul Johnson and members of his staff spent the afternoon on Saturday, May 6th supporting the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County @ Prestonwood Polo Club in Oakpoint.

HELPING HAND ~ Some of our police agencies in Denton County need additional funding to adequately protect their officers. Recently Lake Dallas Chief of Police Daniel Corolla reached out to DA Paul Johnson for assistance in purchasing bullet proof vests for 8 of his officers. His budget would not cover the costs of these life-saving vests. Fortunately, the DA’s office was able to help by using funds seized from criminals.

 A GREAT WAY TO SHAPE OUR FUTURE LEADERS ~ Every year DA Johnson is invited to Camey Elementary’s Career Day to speak to the kids about being a lawyer, prosecutor and an Elected Official. DA Johnson enjoys telling the kids all about his career and the opportunities that a good education will bring each of them. His message – Your dreams are possible if you make good grades and make good decisions.

ADA Caitlin Milmo received the Heroic Protector Award April 28th at the Friends of the Badge Luncheon.

DA Observes Crime Victim’s Rights Week ~ Every year in April, the Denton County Criminal District Attorney observes National Crime Victim’s Rights Week (NCVRW). During the week, organizations that assist and serve crime victims in Denton County join together to honor victims of crime and promote greater public awareness about the rights and needs of crime victims. This year, DA Paul Johnson and members of his Family Violence Unit and Child Abuse Unit conducted a day long training for local law enforcement titled “Seeking Justice for Victims through Strong Investigations”. The event was hosted at the Denton Police Department and organized by Veronica Brunner (DA Director of Victim Services), Cassidy Baker (UNT Social Work Department), and Sgt. Jeremy Oliver (D.C.S.O.).

 March Against Child Abuse ~ on March 31st, District Attorney Paul Johnson and members of his office joined CASA of Denton County and the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County in a march for awareness of child abuse.

Paul enjoyed attending the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County’s 20th Anniversary Breakfast on November 2nd. Paul is pictured here with new Exec Director, Kristen Howell.

Paul enjoyed attending the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County’s 20th Anniversary Breakfast on November 2nd. Paul is pictured here with new Exec Director, Kristen Howell.