KHOU 11 Investigates has learned that a Harris County District Court judge has been the target of death threats.
Judge Brad Hart says it’s the first time he’s been threatened in his four years on the bench.
Hart says it began with an email asking him to let a man facing drug charges go free. In exchange, the judge says the sender promised to do anything Hart wanted.
Another email, a text message and a letter sent to the judge’s home all echoed that message.
Weeks later, Hart says he received another text message about the same defendant. This time, according to court records, the message warned “if you don’t let (defendant’s name) off consider yourself dead.”
Hart took the threat seriously. It came just weeks after Chief Deputy Clint Greenwood was shot and killed while reporting to work at the Harris County Precinct Three Constable’s Office last month.
Investigators say the gunman in that case killed himself the next day, but the case was fresh in Hart’s mind. The judge and Greenwood worked together at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, and Hart says he considered Greenwood a friend.
Investigators know the name of the defendant mentioned in the threats. Hart says they have not been able to track down the sender.
According to an affidavit for a search warrant for the judge’s phone records, investigators believe the messages were sent from an anonymous email service.
In the meantime, Hart says the county has made arrangements for extra security for the judge including around-the-clock protection as it’s needed.
A spokesman for the district attorney’s office, which is investigating the threats, said in a statement the office doesn’t discuss security matters.