Suspect in Texas state judge shooting arrested on unrelated charges

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 10, 2015 9:26 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A person of interest has been taken into custody in the case of a Texas state judge who was shot in front of her home in an upscale Austin neighborhood last week, police in the state capital said on Tuesday.

The suspect, who has not been identified, was arrested in Houston on unrelated charges, Austin police said without providing a possible motive or other details in the shooting of District Judge Julie Kocurek, 51.

The suspect is a man who has a motion in Kocurek's court that would revoke the conditions of a previous plea deal for a fraud conviction, effectively sending the man back to prison, the Austin American-Statesman reported sources involved in the investigation as saying. Police were not immediately available for comment.

Kocurek was returning from a high school football game and was in front of the driveway of her home on Friday night when she was shot in front of witnesses, police said.

Her condition was listed as stable early on Saturday and her family issued a statement saying she has been improving daily since.

Kocurek, a former prosecutor, was appointed to her position in 1999 by then-Governor George W. Bush, a Republican. In 2006, she switched her affiliation to the Democratic Party.

Among her early cases was the high-profile capital murder trial of Celeste Beard Johnson, who is serving a life sentence for killing her millionaire husband, Steven Beard, in 1999.

Kocurek was initially named to preside over the 2014 felony case involving former Texas Governor Rick Perry, in which he was charged with abuse of power, but she recused herself. Perry was lieutenant governor when Bush appointed her to the bench. That case is still pending.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales and Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott and Bill Rigby)