• July 25, 2014

Coryell DA gets down to business

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Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2013 4:30 am

GATESVILLE — Newly elected District Attorney Dusty Boyd wasted no time getting started on his new job.

Boyd was at the Coryell County Courthouse at midnight Dec. 31, and took the oath of office right after the courthouse clock finished ringing in 2013.

“When the clock struck 12, my right hand went up,” Boyd said. He was sworn in by County Court-at-Law Judge John Lee.

“We wanted to hit the ground running,” Boyd said. “I am excited how we got out of the gate. Everyone was voluntarily here on the first, eager and excited to get started.”

A day after he and his staff started work, Boyd joined other elected officials at the courthouse Wednesday for a ceremonial swearing-in by Justice Rex Davis of the 10th Circuit Court of Criminal Appeals.

There are no substantive court settings until the end of January, Boyd said, as the 52nd Judicial District Court staff gives him time to get a grasp on the caseload he inherited.

“January is an inventory month for us,” he said. “We will inventory our office needs as well as inventory the cases.”

Boyd unseated incumbent District Attorney David Castillo in the Republican primary election last spring and was unopposed in the general election.

The newcomer got no transitional hand-off from his predecessor. Boyd said he and Castillo have not spoken since before the primary campaign.

Boyd has 350 felony cases to re-evaluate, along with all new cases filed with the district clerk.

Looming large on the calendar is the capital murder case of David Allen, who is charged with the March 2011 death of his wife in a fire at the family home.

“Capital murder is obviously a high priority,” Boyd said. “We will evaluate the case and make an honest assessment of when we can be ready.”

The nine-member staff is settling in and working around some minor building renovations aimed at providing more office and filing space in the county annex in Gatesville.

As the court docket fills up, Boyd will handle cases involving assaults, driving while intoxicated and evading arrest.

He has two assistant district attorneys, Scott Stevens and Ryan Lawton, to help with the caseload. Stevens will focus on appeals, writs, financial crimes and sex crimes. Lawton will handle cases involving narcotics and property crimes.

Three legal assistants help the attorneys prepare for trial. Melissa Tull works with Boyd. Chris McHargue works with Lawton and Brandy Johnson assists Stevens. Todd Culpepper and Shane Kielyka are office assistants. Misty Biddick is the crime victim coordinator, and Linda Snively is the office receptionist.

To remind him that no big job is insurmountable, Boyd keeps the skull and horns of a giant steer in his office.

The steer, Booger Red, ran wild and free on the sprawling McElroy Ranch in West Texas where Boyd grew up.

Cowboys on horseback could never pen the big steer, Boyd said. It took a helicopter to help corral old Booger Red.

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