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Re-ordering the Bench

Left to right, George Mackey, Kathy Lowthorp, and Sharen Wilson are all vying for the job of district attorney. Courtesy photos

The Tarrant County criminal justice system is poised for a significant makeover with the March 4 primary election looming. Four of the county’s 10 criminal court judges are retiring and taking about 100 years of combined experience with them. One longtime state district judge is retiring, and another, Sharen Wilson, stepped down last year to run for district attorney.

“This will be the biggest major shift in the criminal justice leadership, when you combine the DA race with the number of judgeships being sought,” said County Criminal Court Judge Daryl Coffey, who is among the judges retiring this year. “The DA’s office can effect systematic change better than anyone, by the way they prosecute crime and implement programs.”

The DA’s office has seen almost 50 years of relatively static leadership under former DA Tim Curry and his protégé and successor Joe Shannon, who decided not to seek re-election after controversy arose over his settlement for a sexual harassment suit in 2012, paid with county funds.


Ex-husband killed in self-defense, attorney tells jurors

John St. Angelo stands in court Monday where he is on trial in the killing of his former wife Suzanne Parsons. (PHOTO: WFAA) WFAA

John St. Angelo was in love with his ex-wife the day he killed her, according to witnesses Monday in his murder trial.

According to his attorney, Kathy Lowthorp, he is still in love with her.

St. Angelo, 50, is accused of fatally stabbing Suzanne Parsons, 49, of Haslet on Dec. 30, 2013, at her north Fort Worth real estate office. He is also charged with three counts of attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping related to events the day after Parsons was killed.


Tarrant County District Attorney’s Race Features Three Experienced Republicans

George Mackey

For the first time in more than 40 years, an incumbent isn’t running for district attorney in Tarrant County. Joe Shannon Jr., the 13th criminal district attorney, announced his retirement not long after a sexual harassment case against him was settled, ultimately costing taxpayers about $500,000.

Three Republican candidates are vying to replace Shannon.

Before we talk names, and qualifications, consider these numbers: The job pays about $200,000. The elected official will manage a budget of more than $35 million. And the office handles roughly 45,000 criminal cases a year.

So, who’s throwing their hat in this race? Republicans Kathy Lowthorp, Sharen Wilson and George Mackey.

Mackey has 30 years of both criminal prosecution and criminal defense experience in Fort Worth, and he used to work in the district attorney’s office.