|Photo via The Texas Observer.|
The drug sting in Hearne made national headlines, contributed to passage of multiple pieces of state legislation, and was depicted in a feature film, American Violet, directed by Tim Disney. Workman was among the most active Hearne family members fighting both to free those accused by confidential informant Derrick Megress and to get the state to regulate (and eventually abolish) Texas' network of regional narcotics task forces. A 2005 Texas Observer story recounted that, "Charles Workman understands the dynamic of Hearne-style justice as well as anyone. Paschall has a vendetta against his family, he believes, as his stepson and nephew were both arrested in the sting." Paschall tried, and failed, to prosecute Workman on voter-fraud charges soon after the Hearne case ended.
Making matters even more worrisome, Paschall has been accused by a former Hearne police sergeant of interfering with local law enforcement in another murder - that of a man named Hank Johnson, in which Paschall's brother in law was a key suspect. See local TV coverage of that case, including a recording made by the detective in charge accusing Paschall of interfering with the investigation, to which Paschall responded by threatening him.
I haven't seen Charles since 2005 - when we worked together to pass a statute regulating Texas' regional narcotics task forces - and certainly have no knowledge of the circumstances surrounding his death But I don't trust John Paschall to disinterestedly prosecute, nor to avoid interfering with the investigation. Grits would feel much more comfortable if a special prosecutor were appointed in any criminal proceedings that arise from Workman's death and Paschall stayed completely out of the matter.
Charles Workman's funeral was on Saturday and regrettably I couldn't attend, but Grits extends sincere condolences to his family and friends. From our interactions over about a five year span following the sting in Hearne, I always found him to be a good and honorable man. May he rest in peace.