The Justice Journal: Vol. 35

The Justice Journal: Vol. 35

A look at cases recently prosecuted by the Dallas County Criminal District Attorney's Office.

The Justice Journal

State vs. Paul Belton

Theft $30k

Money Laundering > $300k

Lead: Kinsey Stango

2nd Chair: Melissa Meyers

DA Investigator: Rusty Taylor

DA Victim Advocate: Doris Aguilar

Investigating Agency: Duncanville Police Department

The defendant was a party to a “Loved One in Distress” scam.  Someone would call an elderly person and identify themselves as the person’s grandson/nephew, saying they needed help.  Within a few seconds, the phone would be passed to a purported attorney who would describe how the elderly person needed to pay thousands of dollars in cash in order to get their loved one out of jail or for legal representation and that a private courier would be sent to their home to collect the money.  The defendant, either alone or working with someone else, would pick up the money from the elderly victim.  The theft case had 4 elderly victims, one of whom lived in Duncanville, TX, and the others living in California.  He stole approximately $115,000 from them.  During the investigation, the defendant also dropped off $100,000 to undercover DEA agents working a money laundering task force.  A search of the defendant’s phone which was seized during his arrest revealed more than 30 videos of him unsealing packages made out to bondsmen and counting money - $368,000.  A federally indicted co-conspirator also testified about the scheme, which the defendant continued to participate in while on bond. 

GUILTY and sentenced to 35 years on Money Laundering > $300k, 20 years on Theft $30k < $150k Elderly

State vs. Jerry Watkins

Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child

Lead: Aryanna Bradford

2nd Chair: Erik Lisowski

DA Investigator: Tom Naulty

DA Victim Advocate: Pam Betts

Investigating Agency: Dallas Police Department

The defendant was found guilty of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 14.

GUILTY and sentenced to 30 years in prison

State vs. Devon Young


Lead: Zachery Brown

2nd Chair: Samantha Jarvis

DA Investigator: Martin Bosse

Investigating Agency: Dallas Police Department

On January 17, 2022, around 6 pm deceased victim Gerardo Pardo is seen on video running away from the Vista Azul apartment in Dallas, Texas. The scene where Gerardo Pardo ran from had several fired cartridge cases that were later recovered by the Dallas Police Department – forensic comparison ruled out any of those coming from the gun Gerardo Pardo had and confirmed one to have been fired from the same gun Clifford Henry used to murder Gerardo Pardo. Additional nearby surveillance video shows Gerardo Pardo hiding at JSK Glass near the 2900 block of Storey Lane for approximately 6 minutes when he sees a truck with hazard lights on being followed by another vehicle following with hazards on stop on the shoulder of the road. The truck, driven by Kenny Portillo, had a flat tire and busted rim and they were attempting to get the vehicle to a tire shop. While stopped to let cars pass and check on the rim and tire, Gerardo Pardo ran over to the passenger side of the truck and asked for a ride to get anywhere out of the area. Kenny Portillo says no and within seconds a car driven by Defendant Devon Young and occupied by 3 additional males pulls up quickly Clifford Henry exits the back driver’s side, runs to the passenger side of Kenny Portillo’s truck and begins to shoot Gerardo Pardo. Shots then began to come from the back passenger side of the defendant’s car where co-Defendant Desmond Roberts was seated and Kenny Portillo was struck in the shoulder with a bullet. Kenny Portillo was taken to Parkland Hospital and later released. Gerardo Pardo was also taken to Parkland Hospital where he died. During the shooting, Clifford Henry was struck in the neck. He was loaded into the vehicle driven by Defendant Devon Young, and dropped off at UT Southwestern where he was pronounced dead. At UT Southwestern, the other males then get back into the car driven by Defendant Devon Young and flee the scene. Defendant Devon Young was arrested 9 days later in the same vehicle with a firearm in plain sight.

At sentencing, the defendant stipulated to his prior felony convictions that included first-degree felonies of Manufacturing and Delivering of a Controlled Substance and Aggravated Robbery, the latter of which was committed while on felony probation. The Court took sentencing under advisement for a week and initially attempted to sentence Devon Young to 7 years confinement in prison on both the Murder and Aggravated Assault case, however, after prosecutors reminded the Court of the prior that had been stipulated to, entered into evidence, and signed off on by the Judge on the record, the Court changed the sentence to 15 years in prison on the murder and 5 years in prison on the aggravated assault.

GUILTY and sentenced to 15 years in prison for Murder and 5 years for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon

State vs. James Canon


Lead: Mason Rodriguez

2nd Chair: Bailey Buchmeyer

DA Legal Assistant: Kaysey Rodriguez

Investigating Agency: Farmers Branch Police Department

The defendant was pulled over for unconfirmed insurance, expired registration, and failure to stop at the designated spot at a stop sign. Upon approach of the vehicle, Corporal Jose Cortes was being distracted by the passenger of the vehicle. The passenger was not allowing the defendant to answer any questions asked of him. Eventually, Corporal Cortes asked the defendant to step out of the vehicle on suspicion of DWI. Corporal Cortes could smell alcohol and hear the defendant’s slurred speech.

Corporal Cortes then conducted a DWI investigation, and the defendant failed all three of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. Corporal Cortes then took the defendant to the Farmers Branch Police Department where the defendant agreed to a breath test. The defendant provided two breath tests with a score of .078.

GUILTY and sentenced to 120 days confinement in the county jail probated for 12 months with an Interlock, DWI Education Course, Victim Impact Panel, Substance Abuse Evaluation, and No Refusal of SFSTs, PBT, or blood/breath


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