Cherokee County's top prosecutor position is up for grabs as voters head to the polls Tuesday.
He said he's the only candidate to successfully prosecute capital murder cases such as those involving Buenka Adams and co-defendant Richard Cobb, both of Rusk, who were sentenced to death for their role in the murder of a Rusk man during a September 2002 robbery, kidnapping and sexual assault. Adams was executed in April, and Cobb is on death row.
Beckworth said he's also prosecuted a variety of cases throughout the years, including felony driving while intoxicated cases, organized crime cases and child-molesting cases. He also noted a recent case where a Jacksonville man received two life sentences for his involvement in the robbery and injury of an elderly man.
Earlier this year, he was named Prosecutor of the Year by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. The award is given by the special rangers for prosecution of agribusiness crimes and cattle rustling as well as general rural crimes, according to a news release.
“I feel I'm the most qualified candidate. I care deeply about the county and people in the county,” Beckworth said.
If re-elected, he said his goals are to continue working hard, increase efficiency in his office and work with personnel to make the office a success.
“I continue to keep trying cases. I stay with it and don't quit,” Beckworth said.
Former Cherokee County First Assistant District Attorney Rachel Patton, 36, has a private practice and does a lot of work with child cases.
If elected, she said her main focus will be the efficient prosecution of felony cases.
“I intend to make it a priority to (work on) the backlog of cases still pending,” Ms. Patton said. “Some have been pending for years. The main priority is to work on clearing those out and institute policy to keep those cases from building back up.”
Beckworth said the case log in Cherokee County is no different than other comparable counties, and prosecutors in his office are working to stay on top of it.
Additionally, Ms. Patton said in order to determine the appropriate disposition, she feels cases should be evaluated on their strength and the evidence.
“I will never take into consideration who the (defense) attorney is or who (the defendant is) in the community. I will focus solely on evidence and the case and treat all cases fairly and justly,” she said.
“I believe it's time for some fresh ideas and some enthusiasm in the DA's Office. A lot (of residents) agree.”