Smith County murder case among possibly compromised by court reporter

Jackson held hearings on all five cases Friday and Reynolds returned to Smith County from prison to appear in court.
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 1:39 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2022 at 11:24 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A substitute court reporter’s loss of records from one full day in court has spurred a Smith County district judge to review some cases.

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According to testimony in Judge Austin Reeve Jackson’s court Friday, a substitute court reporter filled in on Dec. 3 for five different cases. One of those cases involving a pre-trial hearing for convicted murderer Martin Reynolds Jr.

“December the 3rd, 2021, I came to court as I usually do, and I reported all day,” said Beverly Dixon from the witness stand Friday. “Those notes disappeared. I do not know what happened to them, but that whole day is gone. I never had them.”

Jackson said the lost records for the Reynolds hearing are not significant, but he could not speak for the appeals process.

Jackson held hearings on all five cases Friday and Reynolds returned to Smith County from prison to appear in court.

“I knew I was in trouble when that day disappeared,” Dixon said. “I had a new writer, and I don’t know what happened. I might need to send it off to have it checked, but those notes are gone.”

Dixon did not notify anyone when she realized the records were gone.

“The court reporter cannot be ordered to create a new record because there are no audio recordings, no other documents that would allow a complete record of that pre-trial hearing to be made,” Jackson said.

Among the hearings held on Dec. 3 was for that of Kirkland Warren, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Records from that sentencing are not available due to the disappearance and could be grounds for a new sentencing hearing.

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