For three years, a confessed attempted murderer roamed the streets of Dallas, going on a crime spree that ended when he killed a man in July 2007. Michael Wyatt had pleaded guilty to the attempted murder in 2004, but the Dallas District Attorney's Office wanted him to testify against his co-defendant Aaron Vaughn, so Wyatt stayed out of prison on bond while Vaughn awaited trial.
|Lone Star Project|
|A careful researcher might have included a few more ticks on that timeline, like the time Craig Watkins admitted his office made a mistake.|
Now Wyatt is back -- in a fashion -- in a political ad that targets Susan Hawk, the Republican running against District Attorney Craig Watkins. The ad suggests that Hawk, who at the time was a judge in Wyatt's case, was to blame to letting Wyatt remain free until the day he killed a man in an Oak Cliff drug house.
There's one problem with that theory, though. It contradicts Watkins' own words at the time of the killing.
See also: Witness for the Prosecution
The Lone Star Project, a Democratic political action committee, debuted a new ad last week that claims Hawk should have done more to keep Wyatt in prison. Even worse, the PAC charges, Hawk altered court records in 2012, removing Wyatt's references to a deadly weapon in his attempted murder plea and minimizing the charges against him.
Matt Angle, director of the Lone Star Project, says the case is a reflection of Hawk's political opportunism, just like her running as both a Republican and a Democrat in previous elections. As she geared up to take on Watkins, Angle says, Hawk sought to soften any potential blow Wyatt's case would strike against her campaign.
But the history of the case tells a different story. As reported in the Observer in 2007, Watkins and his office have already taken partial responsibility for Wyatt's crimes while out on bail.More »