The Justice Journal: Vol. 49 (English)

The Justice Journal: Vol. 49

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

The Justice Journal

State vs. Christopher Weiss

Capital Murder

Lead: Scott Wells

2nd Chair: John Creuzot

Priscilla Pelli

DA Investigator: Anthony Winn & Oscar Escobar

DA Paralegal: Maria Cantrell

Investigating Agency: McClennan County Sheriff’s Office

The McLennan County DA’s Office had to recuse themselves from this case, so the Dallas County DA’s Office stepped in as special prosecutors.

On November 7, 2017, the defendant shot and killed Valarie Martinez with whom he had been involved in a romantic relationship, and their one-year daughter Azariah.

The jury deliberated less than an hour before returning a verdict of guilty for the capital murder of baby Azariah.

GUILTY and sentenced to LIFE in prison without the possibility of parole.

State vs. Jeremiah Wilson

Aggravated Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury with a Deadly Weapon

Lead: Katherine Lessing

2nd Chair: Caitlin Paver

DA Investigator: John Ludwigs and Lyle Gensler

DA Victim Advocate: Sharon Counts

Investigating Agency: Dallas Police Department

The defendant assaulted his girlfriend by lighting her on fire.

GUILTY and sentenced to LIFE in prison.

State vs. Deng Ajack

Contested Probation Revocation – Aggravated Robbery

Lead: Tommy Adams

2nd Chair: Krystal Biggins

DA Investigator: Raul Obregon

Investigating Agency: Dallas, Arlington and Richardson Police Departments

The defendant was given probation for a June 2019 aggravated robbery. He had a condition of 90 days and was sent to an Intermediate Sanctioned Facility (ISF). He finished ISF in February 2020.

On May 25, 2020, along with co-defendants Anthony Lewis and Antony Taylor, the defendant committed the act of capital murder against Leslie Baker in North Dallas, as well as the crimes of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and aggravated robbery in Richardson.

The defendant was again arrested on June 15, 2020, and has been awaiting trial ever since.

During the probation revocation hearing, there was testimony regarding the capital murder, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and aggravated robbery as well as testimony on jail incidents involving the defendant assaulting other inmates for their commissary.

Thank you to the Dallas Police Department, Richardson Police Department, FBI, and US Marshals Task Force.

GUILTY plea and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

State vs. Richard Leal

Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Fentanyl, Greater Than or Equal to 4 Grams but Less Than 200 Grams

Lead: Antoinette Wood

2nd chair: Michael Chang

DA Investigator: Alexander Lipsey, Eddie Lopez, Bonita Morgan

Investigating Agency: Dallas Police Department

On February 18, 2023, the Dallas Police Department was searching for a wanted individual at a particular address where the defendant was also present. When the defendant left that address, covert officers began following him and eventually pulled him over after observing multiple traffic violations. During that traffic stop, the defendant was found in possession of a shoulder satchel containing bags of cocaine, a bag with fentanyl pills, pill bottles with Alprazolam pills, a bag with methamphetamine pills, and a bag of marijuana. During a police interview, the defendant spoke about being able to get thousands of pills and bricks to distribute as samples for his people.

GUILTY and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

State vs. Emmanuel Green


Lead: Abby Parmelly

2nd Chair: Heather Ragsdale

DA Investigator: Eugene Reyes & Ric Bruner

DA Paralegal: Daisy Hernandez

Investigating Agency: Dallas Police Department

On February 21, 2023, the defendant and victim were hanging out at a mutual friend’s home located in the Bottom District neighborhood. The homeowner and several witnesses were hanging out in the front lawn, enjoying the day, drinking beer, and listening to music. Around 2:40 p.m. that afternoon, the defendant and victim, friends for over a decade, got into an argument. Witnesses broke up the squabble and the victim walked away. The defendant then got into his car and ran the victim over. The victim became pinned underneath the car and the defendant continued to drive several feet across the front lawn and back onto the street. The victim was eventually released from underneath the car and the defendant attempted to run him over again. The homeowner intervened to prevent that from happening and another witness called 911. The defendant made several statements that he intended to kill the victim and that he wasn’t sorry for what he’d just done. The victim died a short time later at a local hospital and the defendant ran before police got to the scene. Dallas Police eventually found the defendant half a mile away hiding under a piece of wood. The defendant was interviewed and confessed to intentionally killing his friend over perceived slights.

The victim’s stepdaughter spoke for the family and gave a Victim Impact Statement. The loss of Mr. Fisher was devastating to his family.

GUILTY plea and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

State vs. Parris Johnson

Aggravated Assault Causing Serious Bodily Injury

Lead: Andrea Nfodjo

2nd Chair: Patrick Capetillo

DA Investigator: Julie Jacob, Kevin Feinglas, JD Williams

The victim in this case, Chris, is a funny, witty, and intelligent man. He also happens to be homeless. On May 10, 2021, Chris went inside Happy’s convenience store in North Dallas to warm up some oatmeal. As Chris exited Happy’s, a uniformed security officer, defendant Parris Johnson, exited a marked security vehicle, pulled out a collapsible baton, approached Chris, and ordered him to leave the premises. Chris, who had never been criminally trespassed from Happy’s, told Johnson he was warming up his breakfast. Johnson ignored Chris’s explanation and continued moving toward him, telling Chris that he was going to physically remove him from the property. Chris, still holding his oatmeal, told Johnson that he was leaving but that he was not going to turn his back on Johnson because he didn’t trust him. Irritated by Chris’s supposed defiance, Johnson escalated the situation by pushing Chris and then deploying his pepper spray in Chris’s direction. Not accounting for the wind that day, the pepper spray blew back into Johnson’s right eye. Chris, agitated by Johnson’s abuse, ran towards Johnson emptyhanded. Johnson, half blinded by his pepper spray, reacted by drawing his firearm and shooting Chris in the leg, shattering Chris’s Tibia and Fibula. Chris lay on the ground bleeding for six minutes before Johnson even attempted to render aid. Johnson’s explanation for drawing his firearm was that he thought Chris was going to punch him. The incident was captured on surveillance and the defendant’s body-camera.

At trial, Johnson argued that he had acted in self-defense. A jury found Johnson guilty of Aggravated Assault causing Serious Bodily Injury; and, after hearing about Johnson’s quick temper and pattern of abusing other homeless individuals, sentenced Johnson to 19 years in prison.

GUILTY and sentenced to 19 years in prison.

State vs. Nickolas Herndon

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon

Lead: Leah Dintino

2nd Chair: Dimitri Anagnostis

DA Investigator: John Schingle

Investigating Agency: Dallas Police Department

The defendant pleaded guilty and elected to be sentenced by the jury. The jury heard that the defendant was arrested with a firearm on his waistband at an Irving Best Buy less than 5 years after being released from prison. The State proved that the defendant was a gang member, had been arrested or seen with guns several times, and was actively involved in drug dealing. The jury also heard from the original responding officer from the 2016 Family Violence case that sent the defendant to prison, which involved the defendant shooting three times into a car containing his ex-girlfriend, her new boyfriend, and his own 10-month-old baby.

GUILTY plea and sentenced to 16 years in prison by the jury.

State vs. Denise Alford

Intoxication Manslaughter

Lead: Kristin Treager

2nd Chair: Andrew James

DA Investigator: Eureka Williams

DA Paralegal: Maria Cantrell

Investigating Agency: Dallas Police Department

On August 30, 2021, a little before 9:45 pm, tow truck driver Gary McGee was stopped on the left shoulder of the ramp from westbound 635 to southbound 75 on the “High 5”.  As he was outside of his vehicle – presumably dealing with something related to the towed vehicle – the defendant drifted out of her lane, and struck the towed vehicle, causing it to strike Gary and send him flying over the concrete barrier to his death on the 635 express lanes 60 feet below.  Drivers on the lanes below stopped and called 911.  Up above, the defendant walked away from the scene – nearly 2 miles – allegedly to charge her cell phone and call her ex-boyfriend.  Dallas PD arrived to the scene and the defendant returned to the scene with her ex-boyfriend.  The defendant admitted to drinking and smoking marijuana earlier in the day.  She claimed that she was involved in a road rage incident and that a large pickup truck forced her to crash into the towed vehicle and the tow truck.  She performed poorly on Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and refused to provide a blood specimen.  A sample of her blood taken just after 2 am showed she had a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.06 and THC in her system. 

In preparation for trial and at our request, DPD shut down the roadway and created a reenactment demonstration to show the size of the roadway and therefore the implausibility of the defendant’s story and what a sober driver would have been able to see and do in that area with the tow truck on the side of the road.  The reenactment consisted of video from 2 drones, multiple video cameras on the roadway and on the inside of the exemplar vehicles.  The defense referred to this reenactment as a “waste of your tax dollars” in opening statements; however, the jury clearly disagreed as they were all glued to the TVs as the detective explained everything during the approximately 5-minute video. 

GUILTY and sentenced to 10 years in prison with a deadly weapon finding.

State vs. J Cruz Beltran

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

Lead: London Daniels

2nd Chair: Alex Dobiyanski

DA Investigators: JD Vance & Garrick Whaley

Investigating Agency: Mesquite Police Department

The defendant was stopped for a routine traffic violation and was found with a gun and two separate, fully loaded magazines in the vehicle of his car. He admitted to being on parole during the offense but denied ownership of any of the prohibited items.

GUILTY and sentenced to 5 years in prison.


Curtis Ray Davis

Exonerated of Possession of a Controlled Substance

CIU Team: ADA Cynthia Garza & ADA Lauren Livingston

DA Investigator: Duane Glenn, Jose Ramos & Garrick Whaley

Mr. Davis was exonerated of Possession of a Controlled Substance, a crime actually committed by his brother who identified himself to police as Mr. Davis.

This is Dallas County’s 45th exoneration and 33rd for the Conviction Integrity Unit.



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