By Michelle Guffey

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON – Friends and family packed the courtroom at the Bell County Courthouse in downtown Belton on Tuesday to witness the swearing-in of 15 newly elected and re-elected county officials.

One by one, each stood before Chief Justice Ken Law of the Third Court of Appeals. With right hand raised, each took the oath of office.

For Shelley Coston and John Mischtian, the oath of office was the beginning of a new journey in their lives.

Coston was elected to the position of county clerk in the November elections, a position held by Vada Sutton from 1987 until her retirement in September 2005. The position had been vacant for more than a year after Sutton suffered a stroke four months prior to her retirement.

Following her swearing-in, Coston thanked her former employer, Belton attorney Jim Hewitt, for his support and guidance.

"He's the one who got the ball rolling and me headed in this direction," she said. "2007 is going to be a great year."

Temple attorney John Mischtian, elected to the county Court-at-Law No. 2 judgeship, said the oath of office ceremony was the end of a long journey.

Mischtian, an attorney for 15 years, replaced Judge John Barina, who announced his retirement from the bench in 2005.

"Judge Barina was as fine a judge as we've ever had," Mischtian said. "The county clerk law system is in good shape due in large part to Judge Barina."

The following re-elected officials also were sworn in:

n Judge Gordon Adams of the 169th District Court

n Judge Martha Trudo of the 264th District Court

n County Judge Jon Burrows

n Judge Ed Johnson, County Court-at-Law No. 1

n Judge Gerald Brown, County Court-at-Law No. 3

n District Clerk Shelia Norman

n County Treasurer Charles Jones

n Precinct 2 Commissioner Tim Brown

n Precinct 4 Commissioners John Fisher

n Justice of the Peace Ted Duffield, Precinct 1

n Justice of the Peace Donald Engleking, Precinct 2

n Justice of the Peace G.W. Ivey, Precinct 3, Place 2

n Justice of the Peace William Cooke, Precinct 4, Place 2.

Contact Michelle Guffey at

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