Texas judge back on bench after being injured in November shooting

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 29, 2016 3:24 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A Texas judge injured in a November shooting attack in front of her Austin home returned to the bench on Monday to a standing ovation from her co-workers and supporters, saying she felt as if she had been reborn.

District Judge Julie Kocurek, 51, wearing a cast on her left hand, said the support she has received "outweighs the evil moments," the Austin American-Statesman and local media reported from the courtroom.

Kocurek said she lost the index finger on her left hand in the incident when she was injured by shattered glass and flying debris caused by bullet strikes. She will initially be working half days as she recovers.

"We celebrated Julie's return this morning," Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said in an interview. "It was really, really great to see her back."

Police have identified a person of interest for the shooting, saying the suspect is facing separate murder charges in Houston. No motive has been disclosed for the shooting.

Kocurek, a former prosecutor, was appointed to her position in 1999 by then-Governor George W. Bush.

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.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)