Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Veteran lawman triumphs in McLennan Sheriff's race

'Operation Countdown' in final stages - and counting...
Parnell McNamara in a jubilant mood

Waco - There was a moment, to be sure, when Parnell McNamara's Irish eyes welled up and shone like diamonds under the hot stage lights of the Hog Creek Ice House.

“Mikey...Mikey, are you up there?” he asked, pointing to an elevated beer garden built over the bar that looks out over the dance floor.
You could see his younger brother wave, gesturing with his black cowboy hat.

“Mike has always been my partner,” said the veteran lawman, who for more than half his career served as the Deputy U.S. Marshal in charge of the Waco office of the western District of Texas of the U.S. District Court. It is a post held by his father, T.P. McNamara, Sr.

Mike McNamara now serves as the chief investigator for the Criminal District Attorney, Abel Reyna.

Mike McNamara
Together, they have a track record of bringing bad actors to justice, one of whom, serial killer Kenneth McDuff, perished by lethal injection at the hands of The People of the State of Texas following a career of total ignominy, a man without a conscience, who perpetrated violence upon his victims following his release on parole from a death sentence that was commuted to a life term of confinement.

Texas Ranger Matt Cawthon
Then the newly elected Sheriff introduced retired Texas Ranger Matt Cawthon, another partner of his who has helped the brothers McNamara recover numerous bodies of young women who were brutally murdered, as his choice for Chief Deputy of the McLennan County Sheriff's Office, “If he will have it.”

Ranger Cawthon, who is seconded by the Texas Department of Corrections to the U.S. Marshals' Fugitive Warrant Task Force following his retirement as a Texas Ranger, readily gave his assent, then retreated to the back of the throng in a struggle to conceal his rapidly shifting emotions. Signs of elation, followed by the overwhelming emotion of humility and the solemn acknowledgement of a new and awesome responsibility captured, then abandoned his visage with rapid succession.

It was a radical departure from the usual stoic nature of these to tight-lipped but sunny Jim personalities who have lived behind the badge their whole adult lives.

Sheriff McNamara told a standing room only audience and television viewers throughout central Texas that his first act will be to form a drug task force to serve as a special investigations unit that looks into drug offenses and the miserable periphery of human degradation that surrounds all such as that at every step. 

There will be a cold case squad that will be charged to work full-time on older murder cases that remain open, either because no perpetrator has been named, or because the victim's body has never been recovered – or both. He and his posse have pinpointed 53 such cases. 

Those two units will be ready to roll on January 1 when the new administration takes over. 

(click image for a larger view)
Parnell McNamara, who campaigned on the promise of those two plans, clobbered his nearest challenger, former Waco Police Officer and Chief District Attorney's Office Investigator Willie Tompkins, bested his approval by voters by more than twice the amount.

Following a bitter campaign in which his qualifications to serve McLennan County as Sheriff were repeatedly impugned by his challengers and allegations of racism were leveled against his choice for Chief Deputy, Parnell McNamara prevailed with flying colors.

As of one hour after the polls closed, the new Sheriff in town had received 28,542 votes to Mr. Tompkins' 12,594 – and the pattern skyrocketed as the evening wore on.

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