NEWS HEADLINES

Ross trial starts Tuesday

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, April 20, 2013

You name it, he’s filed it.

Terry Ross

Terry Ross

In the course of two days this week, Attorney Jerry Loftin filed 16 motions on behalf of suspended Wise County Precinct 4 Commissioner Terry Ross in anticipation of his trial.

Jury selection is set to start Tuesday, April 23, at the courthouse in Decatur with 97th District Judge Roger Towery presiding.

Ross will be tried for tampering with governmental records, theft of $500 to $1,500 by a public servant, and abuse of official capacity greater than $20 and less than $500. The trial has already been delayed twice.

Ross was indicted in May 2012 for tampering with government records and abuse of official capacity for allegedly building a playhouse on public property, using county employees on county time, and using supplies purchased with county money.

It was seized from Ross’ home Feb. 7, 2012, as part of an investigation that started in late 2011.

Towery suspended Ross without pay in August 2012 until the outcome of his criminal trial, which was then scheduled to start Oct. 30.

On Oct. 22 Ross was charged with theft of $500 to $1,500 by a public servant for allegedly building three grubbing plows, two for personal use. The plows were built with material belonging to the county, on county time by county employees, according to the arrest warrant affidavit filed in County Court-at-Law No. 1.

After that charge was filed, his trial was moved from Oct. 30 to Feb. 19. It was pushed back once more, to the April 23 date.

Loftin, who filed as co-counsel in late February, is the lone attorney on the case after Barry Green filed a motion to substitute counsel March 27.

If Ross is found not guilty, he will resume office, and the county will be required to award him back pay for the entire time he was suspended.

As of Wednesday, that amount came to $61,156.92.

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