Denton County jury convicts man of paying for attempted capital murder

Ponder, Texas resident John Franklin Howard was found guilty of paying to have his wife of 30 years murdered in 2012, The Dallas Morning News reported on August 19.

After a two-week trial and only two hours of deliberation, the Denton County jury convicted Howard of attempting to commit capital murder. Nancy Howard was in the hospital after the alleged murder time when she found out through a telephone conversation that her husband was having an affair. The prosecution further gave evidence of text messages that Howard’s mistress sent him telling him to be with her, as evidence of why he might have committed the crime.

However, the defense is not satisfied by this conviction. According to Howard’s defense attorney, there is no direct evidence that suggests Nancy’s husband hired the man who shot her.

Sometimes, overzealous prosecutors can sway a jury to convict a suspect without sufficient evidence. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter in Dallas believe that every individual is entitled to a fair trial, and we aggressively fight on behalf of our clients. If you are facing serious charges, call our offices today at 214-845-7007 to begin building your defense.

DNA proves man’s innocence after 24 years

Dallas resident Michael Phillips, 57,  has recently been exonerated of a 1990 rape charge that he did not commit, The Dallas Morning News reported on July 25.

Phillips was released from prison in 2002 after a 12 year sentence and is now living in a nursing home due to his sickle cell anemia.

Phillips pled guilty to the charge 24 years ago when the 16-year-old rape victim identified him as her attacker. According to the Dallas County district attorney’s office, Phillips always insisted he did not commit the crime, but he plead guilty because he was warned he could get a harsher sentence from a jury trial.

In 2009, the Conviction Integrity Unity of the Dallas County district attorney’s office reviewed old cases using DNA evidence to verify the convictions made in cases like Phillips’, thus resulting in 34 exonerations.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter believe that every individual is due a fair trial, and we are dedicated to protecting the rights of clients like you who have been charged with a criminal offense. To confidentially discuss your case, call our Dallas offices at 214-845-7007 today.

Rape convict in Dallas exonerated due to DNA testing

Dallas County Criminal District Court Judge Gracie Lewis recommended that fifty-seven-year-old Dallas resident Michael Phillips, who served 12 years in prison for a 1990 rape conviction, be exonerated from any crimes on the grounds of recent DNA testing, the Associated Press reported on July 25.

The Conviction Integrity Unity of Dallas County has been going through old cases using DNA testing that was not used before. Through this process, it was discovered that Phillips was innocent.

A criminal conviction in Texas can make life hard for any person – not only will he or she be ostracized by society, employment opportunities may also be limited, and the person may face imprisonment and hefty fines. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Lassiter understand that many cases are prosecuted over-zealously, and we are dedicated to defending Dallas residents against the charges laid against them. Our criminal defense legal team aggressively fights to win the best possible result from our clients’ cases. To discuss your situation, call our offices at 214-845-7007 today.

Convicted murderer found competent for death penalty trial

Fifty-three-year-old convicted murderer Kenneth Wayne Thomas was found competent to stand trial for the death penalty by a Dallas County jury on July 9, The Dallas Morning News reported.

According to court records, Thomas has a low intelligence quotient level and is suffering from brain damage and mental illness.

Thomas was found guilty in separate trials in 1987 for the murders of 66-year-old attorney Fred Finch and his 64-year-old wife and math professor Mildred Finch. Thomas repeatedly stabbed Fred 20 times and stabbed Mildred 80 times in the burglary of their South Dallas home in 1986.

Thomas was sentenced to death in these trials but was given a new punishment hearing in 2010 by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals because the jurors in his original case did not consider whether or not he was mentally competent.

If you are facing a criminal charge, it is essential to acquire competent, aggressive, and effective legal counsel to represent you. Contact our experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter in Dallas today by calling 214-845-7007, and learn more.

Jury to decide competence of death penalty candidate Kenneth Thomas

The defense attorneys of 53-year-old Texas convicted murderer Kenneth Wayne Thomas are scheduled to argue in front of a jury that their client is mentally unstable, thus rendering him incapable of understanding the legal proceedings affecting his future and not eligible to stand trial in a death penalty case, The Dallas Morning News reported on July 7.

Another jury, whose members have already been chosen, will decide whether Thomas is competent enough to be handed the death sentence or should instead be given life imprisonment without parole. Thomas was convicted of killing 66-year-old lawyer Fred Finch and his wife, 64-year-old community college professor Mildred Finch, in their South Dallas home in 1986.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Dallas, you need reliable and competent legal counsel. Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter are dedicated to representing clients in their criminal court cases. Call our offices today at (214) 845-7007 to discuss your situation and how we may help you.

Texas death row appeal rejected by Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court rejected the appeal of 50-year-old Texas inmate Duane Buck to be removed from death row due to racist testimony used in his trial 17 years ago that may have influenced the jury, NBC DFW reported on May 28.

The ruling was similar to a November 2013 ruling decided by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal court. Buck was convicted of capital murder for killing his ex-girlfriend and a man at her apartment in Houston in July 1995. He is scheduled for execution.

Buck’s supporters believe that his actions were a crime of passion, and therefore it is unlikely that he would commit a crime like this again. His attorneys argued that racist testimony unfairly prejudiced the jury against him.

A murder or homicide charge carries with it serious consequences, especially in states like Texas where the death penalty is legal. Call our attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter today by dialing (214) 845-7007 to ensure that you have superior criminal legal representation by your side to fight these charges.

Autopsy confirms police officer’s close-range shooting of victim

According to a confidential autopsy report recently obtained by the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV, Austin policeman Detective Charles Kleinert had his gun muzzle in direct contact with the back of victim Larry Eugene Jackson’s neck. An imprint of the gun remained on Jackon’s skin, providing solid proof of their close proximity.

Kleinert, now retired from the police force, faces manslaughter charges as a result of the altercation. The autopsy report showed gunpowder substance around the bullet entrance. Several injuries to Jackson’s body were also confirmed but have not been conclusively tied to the fatal interaction between Jackson and Kleinert.

A murder or homicide charge in Texas is a serious one with permanent effects on one’s freedom and reputation. Acquire competent legal representation to combat such a criminal charge and ensure that your rights are protected by contacting the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter today by dialing (214) 845-7007.

Appeals court stopped execution over mental impairment

The three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the execution in Texas of 41-year-old convicted killer, Robert James Campbell, 2 ½ hours before he was set to be strapped in the lethal injection chamber, The Dallas Morning News reported on May 13.

Campbell and his attorneys appealed on the grounds that he is mentally impaired and therefore not eligible for execution. Campbell tested at an intelligence quotient level of 69. The Supreme Court in 2002 ruled that the minimum threshold of IQ level for a criminal to be executed is 70. According to the court, Campbell must be afforded the chance “to develop claims of ineligibility for the death penalty,” and must be given the opportunity to provide evidence for their claims.

If you need aggressive legal representation for your criminal case in Dallas, get in touch with our legal team at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter today by calling (214) 845-7007.

Ex-Dallas cop indicted in last year’s shooting of unarmed civilian

Former Dallas, Texas police officer Amy Wilburn was indicted by a grand jury on Thursday, April 24 on charges of aggravated assault for shooting an unarmed man, an incident that was caught on police dash camera, in December 2013.

Wilburn was terminated from her post as a police officer three weeks after the incident took place.

The dash camera video had footage of police officers chasing two carjacking suspects. At the end of the chase, one of the suspects was seen getting out of the vehicle and continuing to run on foot, with one officer following.

Wilburn was then seen going up to the vehicle, and fired upon seeing that a person was inside the car.

The victim, nineteen-year-old Kelvion Walker, spent several days in the hospital as a result of the shooting.

Violent crimes charges can have an extremely negative impact on one’s reputation, be it a personal or professional one, and the consequences of a conviction can be devastating. If you have been charged with aggravated assault or another criminal charge, contact the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter for the experienced defense you need by calling (214) 847-7007.

Convicted murderer put to death after Supreme Court rejects lawyers’ demand

Forty-nine-year-old convicted serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells was executed on Thursday, April 3 in Texas after the United States Supreme Court turned down his defense lawyers’ demand that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice reveal its source of the lethal injection drug used on prisoners sentenced to death, the very same drug that was used on Sells.

Sells’ lawyers argued that they needed to know and verify that the pentobarbital that will be used for the execution had not yet expired. This contention stemmed from rumors that similar drugs, which came from a compounding facility in Houston, were of substandard quality.

However, prison officials were of the contention that the pharmacy’s identity and whereabouts must remain undisclosed to protect people affiliated with the company from being exposed to violence from other parties.

A criminal conviction, especially one for murder or homicide, can result in a person being saddled with life-altering penalties, from hefty fines to life in prison, or worse. As such, when facing such a serious charge in Dallas, make sure to enlist an attorney from the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter to give yourself the best possible chance at avoiding conviction or the most severe penalties. Call us at (214) 845-7007 to begin working on your defense.