HARRIS COUNTY – The district attorney’s office is investigating why thousands of pieces of evidence were destroyed by the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office.
Deputy Chris Hess was fired by Constable Mark Herman after he allegedly dumped the evidence while cleaning out a property room.
"This is something that should never happen," said Herman. "It's devastating, it really is. But we'll get over it. We'll get through it."
Hess's attorney said it was a "mistake."
"We don't know if it's an accident, or was negligence, or if he intentionally did it," said Herman. "I'm going to leave that up to the DA's office."
The district attorney's office has launched a criminal investigation and said Hess could face charges.
District Attorney Devon Anderson said Friday over 21,000 pieces of evidence were destroyed and they've already had to dismiss 142 cases. She said the impact on 1,072 other cases is still being determined.
Most of the cases involved drugs, but not all of them. Anderson said bullets in an aggravated assault case were destroyed.
"It will make me sick if we have to dismiss a violent case because of this. It will make me ill to have to do that," Anderson said. "That's why we're asking the prosecutors to resurrect these cases as best they can."
The DA's office opened an investigation in late February but Anderson complained that affected case numbers provided by Precinct 4 have changed dramatically from month to month. Anderson is calling for an independent audit to determine the scope of destroyed evidence.
More than 1000 cases could be affected after a massive evidence dump at the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office.
(© 2016 KHOU)