Better East Texas: State trooper shooting tragedy

(KLTV) - Recently there was a shooting of a Texas State Trooper – Damon Allen - that in itself was a tragedy. But soon after the shooting, it was discovered that the accused shooter had ties to East Texas and had a lengthy criminal history.

In fact, there was a warrant out for his arrest at the time of the shooting.  The warrant was issued after a local judge increased bail after the most recent offense by this criminal DaBrett Black.  It was also discovered that Smith County Assistant District Attorney, Jacob Putman, took a plea deal that reduced a previous charge on Black.

Now, that reduction is something that can happen through an appropriate specific process but Assistant DA Putman did not follow clearly stated policy and procedure on that plea deal.  Per District Attorney Matt Bingham, these types of moves have to be approved by him or the First Assistant District Attorney.  And in this case the plea deal wasn't.

And, Bingham has admitted that he would not have approved it if it had come across his desk. Assistant DA Putman apologized to Bingham and Bingham accepted it but there are still questions.

Jacob Putman is running for District Attorney in Smith County and citizens need a complete audit and disclosure on any other plea deals that mirrored DaBrett Black's case. It is a matter of public safety and it could prevent future tragedies. Protecting citizens is the highest priority of law enforcement and that priority needs to be respected, without question, and that will make for a Better East Texas.

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