GILMER — A former state district judge has been assigned to hear five felony cases against former Upshur County Precinct 3 Commissioner Lloyd Crabtree after the original judge in the cases recused herself.
William (Bill) Porter, former judge of the 276th District Court in Morris and Titus counties, was named last week by administrative judge John Ovard of Dallas to hear the matters, Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said Tuesday.
Judge Lauren Parish of the 115th District Court in Gilmer recused herself June 24 on grounds that her court coordinator was a potential witness in the cases. She is still the judge in three related felony cases against Crabtree's adult son, charges which stem from an allegation that the Crabtrees held a state game warden at gunpoint in a confrontation last Oct. 6.
No trial date or hearing date has been set for the cases, Byrd said.
Lloyd Crabtree, 52, and Todd Allen Crabtree, 29, were indicted last January by an Upshur County grand jury.
In a three-count indictment for "aggravated assault (by) threaten(ing) with deadly weapon against public servant," the elder Crabtree is accused of threatening Game Warden Shane Bailey, Big Sandy Police Officer Gary Pettis and Upshur County Sheriff's Deputy Anthony Brasher while armed with a .22 rifle during the confrontation.
Todd Crabtree was indicted on one count of aggravated assault on a peace officer, and both Crabtrees were indicted on one count each of taking a weapon from a peace officer and unlawful restraint with a deadly weapon, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The department said two armed men disarmed and detained Bailey as he made a routine check for hunting law violations on private property. No shots were fired in the supposed incident.
Crabtree was still a sitting commissioner when the confrontation occurred, but left office at year's end, having been defeated for reelection in the May 2012 Republican primary.