WOOD COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – The former sheriff in Wood County has had charges dismissed in connection to a 2015 shooting on his property.
In court on Friday, a visiting judge ruled in favor of Jim Brown and former deputy William Tucker. The two were previously indicted on charges relating to the shooting but, because of their right to a speedy trial, they now walk free.
It’s been a lengthy process.
It all started four years ago in 2015 when an oil company was accessing a well on Sheriff Brown’s property. While on his land, a neighbor shot those oil workers, claiming they were trespassing.
Two years later, that neighbor, the sheriff, and his deputy were indicted in 2017.
The sheriff and deputy at the time were accused of using their authority to prevent the workers from accessing the land owned by the sheriff.
A grand jury indicted them on several charges surrounding the shooting after an investigation.
From there, the case was handed to the prosecutor. For years, it sat untouched. That’s because the Wood County Commissioner’s Court wasn’t paying the prosecutor to pick up the case.
Both Sheriff Brown and Deputy Tucker never saw their day in court. Due to the lack of a speedy trial, all charges were dismissed Friday.
“There was an old joke back years ago, if you want to do a crime without the time, go to Wood County,” Sheriff Tom Castloo said. “What it does at the next level is out of our hands, but we’re going to keep doing what we’re supposed to be doing at the sheriff’s department.”
But for the former sheriff deputy involved, they say it never should have taken this long to have the charges wiped from their names.
They say the charges should have never been brought against them in the first place.
“This is a sham that started four years ago,” Former Sheriff Jim Brown said. “It should have never happened.”
“I’ve never seen such a thing,” Attorney Brett Harrison said. “This whole nightmare has been one strange event after another.”
Former Sheriff Brown says there should be an investigation from an outside agency into corruption within Wood County. The current sheriff agreeing with that, actively looking into bringing someone in to make sure this never happens again.
Sheriff Castloo says this is the first time he’s ever seen such a bizarre case as this one where people are indicted on charges and because a prosecutor wasn’t getting paid, after the former district attorney recuses himself, the charges end up getting dismissed.