Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Jacksonville, TX sex offender faces murder retrial in Odessa cold case

Local papers used their news platforms for donation requests to financially help a convicted sex offender now on trial for murder.

How does a child molester get called for jury duty? First, the Sheriff Department uses drugs and taxpayer money to recruit the unemployable convicted pedophile (and family members) into the county drug informant ring. The stoolpigeons supply the dirt on their neighbors in exchange for grubby little handouts from narcotics officers. Annual sex offender registrations are ignored, while the Good Ol’ Boys and Gals promote the child rapist in local newspapers. Typically, the child molester or family member is cast as the victim of some extraordinary circumstance to make the story palatable and sympathetic; forgotten sex offender registration is buried and never mentioned in the articles.

In Cherokee County, registered sex offenders have their mailing address published in the newspapers to solicit donations. Their names are deliberately misspelled on juror forms in order to be called for jury duty and law enforcement officials can deny working hand-in-hand with them. They could be disqualified on a petit jury, but on a grand jury they get a free ride to the courthouse and a free meal courtesy of District Attorney investigators.

Also, in Cherokee County, the sex offender/informant is paraded around the schools during athletic and holiday events to keep them in constant contact with hand-picked jury pools. The district attorney enlists the district clerk to keep child predators on the revolving door jury summons. They know the Attorney General’s office would never go back decades to verify falsified jury selection questionnaires and contaminated juries. Who knows what they would unravel? 500 miles away the City of Odessa Police Department found matching DNA of a murder suspect who was also a paroled child sex offender living the high life courtesy of Cherokee County taxpayers.  

Jacksonville, TX: 
26 years later, the 1989 cold case murder of Wendy Burdette of Odessa, TX led to a DNA match and the 2015 arrest of 58-year old Jacksonville resident Tommy Stricklen, Jr. (Source: Washington Times ) The Texas Department of Public Safety reportedly matched semen with DNA samples taken from Stricklen's long overdue sex offender registration in Cherokee County. Stricklen and his family are well-known in local newspapers as charity cases via his handicapped daughter who attended Jacksonville ISD. With the help of local media, the Stricklen family set up donation pages for his daughter's wheelchairs. Back in Ector County circa 1989, the underage victim Wendy Burdette was 15-years old when Stricklen admitted to having sex with her; he was 27 at the time. He was charged during the same time period for the molestation of his handicapped 11-year old relative.

 
Stricklen in court courtesty Odessa-American

Tommy Stricklen moved to Jacksonville, TX in 1998; his sex offender registry had not been updated since 2011. In 2015, the Odessa Police Department requested DNA results from semen samples taken in 1989 from Wendy Burdette's body. Stricklen had remained the number one suspect after Burdette's body was found. She was stabbed multiple times, her throat cut and body dumped according to investigators. (Source: Odessa-American)

Stricklen was charged by Odessa Police in July 2015 with underage sex assault and murder and transported back to Odessa where was indicted in October of that year. Three years later, he faced an Ector County trial jury in June 2018 resulting in a mistrial after 7 hours of deliberation. Stricklen had told police he remembered Burdette as a prostitute and sought her out for for an unpaid drug deal; he has denied killing her.


 
Wendy Burdette

Ector County prosecutors announced a retrial of the 1989 murder of Wendy Burdette to go forward in the 358th District Court later in 2019, 30 years later after the homicide. (Source: Odessa-American) East Texas media has dropped the story after a decade and half of lauding Tommy Stricklen and family with stories of delightful high school spirit and freebies for his wheelchair-bound daughter. When setting up donation pages for the Stricklen family, they did not include his lifetime sex offender status and parole from the molestation of a disabled 11-year old female relative back in 1989. Instead, he was encouraged to work around Cherokee County children and volunteer at schools while ignoring his sex offender restrictions.

Stricklen remains in Ector County custody on $650,000 in bonds.

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