The Justice Journal: Vol. 44 (English)

The Justice Journal: Vol. 44

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

The Justice Journal

State vs. Garrett Hamilton

Murder x 2

Aggravated Robbery x 2

Robbery – Probation Violation

Lead: Krystal Biggins

DA Investigators: Julie Jacob, Raul Obregon. Juan Carranza

Investigating Agencies: Dallas Police Department, Cedar Hill Police Department, Duncanville Police Department

The defendant began terrorizing the Dallas, Texas, community beginning on October 25, 2022, where he murdered Clarence Howard.

On November 2, 2022, he robbed three individuals beginning at 5 am at a Bank of America in Dallas. By 8 am he robbed a woman at the Wells Fargo ATM in Duncanville where he pushed a gun into her face and demanded her property.  By 10 am he robbed another woman at gunpoint that had just withdrawn money from the same Bank of America in Dallas that he robbed earlier in the day.  Later that day around 5 pm, the defendant murdered Lorenz Nussbaum of Cedar Hill. 

He was arrested on November 5, 2022, after being stopped by the Dallas Police Department for being in a stolen vehicle out of Grapevine. It was through the continuous collaboration of the Dallas, Duncanville, and Cedar Hill Police Departments, and other law enforcement agencies throughout the contiguous counties that the defendant was able to be apprehended, charged, and ultimately convicted for these violent acts.

GUILTY plea and sentenced to LIFE in prison for the Murders and 25 years for the Aggravated Robberies and Probation Violation

State vs. Nicholas Fields


Lead: Harley Anagnostis

2nd Chair: Zachery Brown

DA Investigator: Martin Bosse

DA Victim Advocate: Melinda Shelton

Investigating Agency: Dallas Police Department, Irving Police Department, and the DART Police Department

On March 3rd, 2022, David Betts was sleeping on a bench in a park in downtown Dallas. He got up to throw away some of his trash and passed near where the defendant was sitting. The defendant shot Mr. Betts 5 times with absolutely no provocation before fleeing the scene.

On March 9th, 2022, SWAT officers located the defendant in a wooded area in the City of Irving. When they approached his camp, they found the mummified remains of Eduardo Hernandez Lopez lying on the ground about 70 feet from the defendant’s camp. A comparison of the projectiles found within the body confirmed that they were fired from the same weapon as the one used to murder David Betts just six days prior.

Thank you to the Dallas Police Department, Irving Police Department, and the DART Police Department for their excellent investigations in these cases.

GUILTY and sentenced to LIFE in prison to run consecutively with a previous 60-year sentence + a $10,000 fine

State vs. Jose Mendez


Lead: Kathryn Suggs

2nd Chair: Blake Penfield

DA Investigator: Lorraine Resendez

DA Victim Advocate: Flor De La Fuente

Investigating Agency: Dallas Police Department

On February 03, 2022, the defendant got angry at his longtime girlfriend, the victim, for not preparing dinner to his liking. An argument ensued in the defendant and victim’s bedroom while the victim’s 12 and 15-year-old daughters were in the bedroom next door.

After the daughters heard multiple gunshots, they ran from the home in just their pajamas and socks, despite the freezing and wet weather of an incoming winter storm. They found shelter at a neighbor’s home and called 911. Before fleeing the home, one of the daughters saw a gun in the defendant’s hand.

The girls’ mother was found dead in the front yard by law enforcement with gunshots. It is believed that the victim was attempting to escape in her car before being shot.

During his testimony, the defendant did not express remorse for his actions and blamed the victim for her cooking and other failures. During punishment, the jury heard about prior acts and threats of violence against the victim and the daughters, as well as inappropriate behavior towards the daughters.

GUILTY and sentenced to LIFE in prison

State vs. Courtney Berry

Injury to an Elderly Individual Causing Serious Bodily Injury

Tampering with a Witness as part of a first-degree proceeding

Lead: Alicia Patterson

2nd Chair: Melissa Meyers

DA Investigator: Charles “Rusty Taylor, with special thanks to Hoyt Hoffman, Erik Summers, Alex Pinales and Seancory Patton

DA Victim Advocate: Doris Aguilar

Investigating Agency: Dallas Police Department

The defendant was a drug dealer, pimp, and gang member who was beating his pregnant girlfriend. The victim in this case, an elderly disabled man, attempted to intervene to stop the assault of the pregnant woman. The defendant punched the man in the head which caused a brain injury.

After the defendant was in custody, the defendant directed his mother and the pregnant girlfriend to go to the man’s house to coerce him to drop charges. The defendant directed his girlfriend to hit herself in the stomach and to make a false report to police that the elderly man had assaulted her.

In another instance, the defendant called the man on a three-way call from jail and pretended to be a detective. The “detective” then told the man that the case was dismissed, and he should not come to court to testify.

GUILTY and sentenced to 60 years for Injury to an Elderly person and 25 years for Tampering with a Witness

State vs. Juan Avila

Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child

Lead: Janie Martinez

2nd Chair: Ann Duffy

DA Investigator: Tom McGrath

DA Victim Advocate: Flor De La Fuente

Investigating Agency: Wilmer Police Department

Defendant was convicted on continuous sexual assault of a child under the age of 14.

GUILTY and sentenced to 40 years in prison

State vs. Leedarion Lucas


Lead: Loren Collins

2nd Chair: Emily Kapp

DA Investigator: JD Vance

Investigating Agency: Dallas Police Department – Vehicular Crimes

Around 5:50 pm on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, a 68-year-old grandmother and her 70-year-old husband were driving home from their adult daughter’s house in Pleasant Grove.  The couple, who had been married for 48 years, recently retired and were set to go on vacation the next day. 

Around the same time, the defendant and a co-defendant were driving separately, racing each other down Lake June Road.  They were headed eastbound from Buckner Blvd. towards Prairie Creek.  In the five seconds before the crash, the defendant was consistently traveling over 90 MPH.  Witnesses described seeing the vehicles racing and running red lights and the sounds of engines revving as the racing cars accelerated. 

As the elderly couple attempted to turn left onto Lake June Road the defendant’s vehicle smashed into the driver’s side of the victim's vehicle, flipping it and forcing it down the road.  The grandmother suffered a broken neck and immediately fatal heart injuries.  The husband was also seriously injured.

GUILTY and sentenced to 35 years in prison

State vs. Joquaylan James

Aggravated Sexual Assault with a Deadly Weapon x 3

Deadly Conduct

Lead: Shanna Gosey

2nd Chair: Shawnkeedra Houston-Martin

DA Investigator: Angie Barnes

DA Legal Assistant: Leslie Smith

Investigating Agency: Dallas Police Department

The defendant followed the victim home after becoming angry that the victim almost hit his car when the defendant made an illegal left turn.

Outside the victim’s home, the defendant raged at the victim verbally and when the victim pulled out his phone to video the defendant’s license plate, the defendant’s anger escalated, and he ran over the victim.

Two weeks later, the defendant got angry at a young couple outside of a daycare because they were taking too long to put their baby in its car seat. As a result, the defendant hit the victims’ car and then shot the female victim straight through her hand and the male victim in the shoulders and back. He also shot into the daycare center, almost hitting one of the managers.

A detective was able to link the two cases together using the video of the defendant and the license plate from the road rage incident.

The jury found the defendant guilty of three counts of Aggravated Assault and one count of Deadly Conduct Discharge of Firearm. He received the maximum of 20 years in prison for each of the two aggravated assault cases involving the victims who were shot. He received 10 years in prison on the aggravated assault road rage case, and he received 5 years in prison on the deadly conduct case.

The victims of the shooting gave touching testimony regarding the multiple surgeries and hospital visits they have experienced as a result of the assaults and powerful victim impact statements about how their lives have been forever negatively impacted because of the Defendant.

GUILTY and sentenced to 20 years in prison

 State vs. Dameer Tibbs

Driving While Intoxicated

Lead: Ashley Aguilar

2nd Chair: Cassidy Richardson

DA Legal Assistant: Marissa Novak

Investigating Agency: Mesquite Police Department

The defendant chose to drive after having a few drinks during a night out at a concert at the House of Blues. An officer observed the defendant speeding down the highway at 100+ mph, making abrupt lane changes through traffic. Upon the stop, after talking with the defendant, the officer conducted a DWI investigation which led to an arrest. A blood draw was done, and after analysis it was determined the defendant had a blood alcohol concentration of .112.

The jury took roughly 10 minutes to return a guilty verdict. 

GUILTY and sentenced to 180 days jail, probated over 12 months with a $500 fine and other standard DWI probation conditions





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