On April 18, Democrat County Commissioner Billy Ray Thompson was indicted on felony charges and later convicted on a lower charge for stealing utility services from the City of Kermit.
The case was prosecuted by the attorney general’s office after District Attorney Amanda Navarette recused her office from the case.
Texas Scorecard spoke with Winkler County officials, who said the record indicated that both Thompson and his wife were indicted on felony charges.
The charges against Thompson’s wife were dismissed; however, Thompson was ultimately convicted on criminal mischief — a class A misdemeanor.
As part of the plea deal to reduce the charges, Thompson was required to resign his office, which he did on September 26.
However, the plea arraignment did not prohibit Thompson from running for re-election, and he was already on the ballot as the Democrat nominee. With no Republican opponent, Thompson was easily re-elected.
Thompson is serving probation in lieu of one year of jail time and must pay restitution to the City of Kermit.
According to a post on the Winkler County Facebook page, County Judge Charles Wolf made an announcement during a commissioners court meeting explaining how the plea deal would allow Thompson to be re-elected, and that the stipulations of the plea deal “were not the doing” of any county official or the district attorney.
Texas Scorecard will continue to monitor this story as it develops.