Thursday, September 19, 2019

Repeat Jacksonville, TX sex offender pleads guilty to sex assault of a child circa 1989; gets 4 years time served

When law enforcement, prosecutors, and investigators conduct themselves in an unlawful manner, violent criminals can get away with murder. Cherokee County sex offenders and drug addicts are paid to be the "source" of information obtained illegally by the Sheriff Department and district attorney's office.

Being a wanted sex offender puts them at the top of the Grand Jury Pool and tax dollar handouts. Tommy Stricklen of Jacksonville fell into the good graces of his Cherokee County in-laws who used his handicapped daughter to solicit donations in the local newspapers. His name was also found routinely on the District Court Clerk's revolving grand jury list, despite being a registered sex offender.

Rape and murder have no statute of limitations. While authorities in Ector County, TX continued to pursue justice for over 30 years, Stricklen was paraded around the Cherokee County courthouse as a model citizen.

Thomas Ward Stricklen, Jr. (Courtesy: DPS)

After molesting his underage handicapped cousin in 1989, Tommy Stricklen, Jr. moved from Ector County to Jacksonville, TX as a registered sex offender. Stricklen had remained the number one suspect in the cold case murder of a 15-year old girl in Ector County during this time period.

In 2015 Odessa authorities were finally able to match semen samples taken from the girl's dead body to Stricklen's DNA taken as part of his sex offender registration. Stricklen was arrested in Jacksonville and transported back to Ector County where he faced a murder trial and hung jury in 2018.
Thompson Ward Stricklen Jr., 55, [was ] accused of fatally cutting open the throat of 15-year-old Wendy Burdette in 1989.
He was indicted in 2015 on the charge of murder after semen found inside of Burdette matched his DNA, but that wasn’t enough to convince the entire [Ector County, TX ] jury.
The jury deliberated for more than seven hours until District 358 Judge W. Stacy Trotter declared a mistrial. (Source: Odessa American, July 19, 2018)

Ector County murder trial 2018

A second murder trial was slated for the summer of 2019 while Stricklen remained incarcerated on felony bond when murder charges were dropped by Ector County prosecutors. Stricklen was offered 4 years credited jail time when Odessa Police misconduct during the investigation was raised by court appointed attorneys. The Odessa American reports:
A 56-year-old man pled guilty to sexual assault of a child from a case dating back to 1989.
Thompson Stricklen Jr. was sentenced to four years in prison after he pled guilty. Stricklen was previously tried in July 2018 for the 1989 murder of 15-year-old Wendy Burdette, an Ector County District Attorney’s affidavit detailed.
That case resulted in a mistrial with hung jury. Stricklen’s charges of murder and a second sexual assault were dismissed due to the termination of the lead investigator for the Odessa Police Department for dishonesty and violating department policy, court records show.
Stricklen was credited with 1,458 days of jail time, court records show. (Source: Odessa American, July 19, 2019)
Which means Tommy Stricklen was given time served (1458 days = 3.99 years).  He is now under sex offender supervision in Gregg County, TX.