On Monday, the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued an order suspending the Honorable Patrick Ray James without pay “from the offices of Bowie County Justice of the Peace and Municipal Court Judge for the City of Hooks, Bowie County, Texas … and that such suspension shall remain in effect until further orders of the Commission,” states the Order.
The suspension comes after the Commission was presented a copy of his indictment federal charges involving conspiracy to commit an offense and to defraud the U.S. government and theft of government property or money in the Eastern District of Texas. Specifically, James and his alleged co-conspirators are accused of causing damage of over $2 million in losses to the Department of the Army and Red River Army Depot, states the Order.
James’ Attorney Jason Horton said, “We received the Order from the Commission that calls for Mr. James’ immediate suspension based solely on being named in a federal indictment. The Commission retains the authority to reconsider the suspension Order if additional information is received to warrant such an action. Mr. James is currently weighing his options, and will ultimately base his decision on what is best for his family and the citizens of Bowie County. The federal matter is still under investigation, and we cannot comment on the pending litigation.”
The indictment is attached to the Order of Suspension.
The defendants are set in court for the conspiracy January 8, 2014. At this pre-trial conference, a trial date is scheduled to be set.
The defendants were named in a 2-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Sep. 17, 2014, charging them with conspiracy to commit an offense against and to defraud the U.S. government and theft of government property or money. These violations are alleged to have caused over $2 million in losses to the Department of the Army and Red River Army Depot.
The individuals named in the indictment are:
- Kenneth Ray Shackelford, 54, of Texarkana, Texas
- Anthony Paul Vera, 54, of Dekalb, Texas
- Shaun Dennis Knorr, 35, of Douglasville, Texas
- Patrick Ray James, 54, of Hooks, Texas
- William Robert Barr, 56, of Atlanta, Texas
- Rodney Glen Cornelius, 63, of Queen City, Texas
- William Randall Scott, 59, of Dekalb, Texas
All of the men are free on $10,000 bonds.
Red River Army Depot (RRAD) is a Department of the Army installation in Bowie County, Texas, that employs a large civilian workforce. RRAD’s primary mission is to repair tactical vehicles for the military. RRAD maintains a fleet of tractor-trailers to bring tactical vehicles to and from RRAD for them to be repaired.
Benny Woodard, deceased, of Dekalb, Texas, was an Army civilian employee at RRAD who was responsible for the maintenance of the fleet of tractor-trailers. According to the indictment, it is alleged that beginning in January 2007 until the time of his death in April 2013, Benny Woodard conspired with other RRAD employees and local vendors in the Texarkana area to defraud the Department of the Army by billing RRAD for tires and parts never received and for services never rendered. Shackelford, Vera, Knorr, James, and Barr are vendors of tires, parts, and repair services in the Texarkana area that are alleged to have conspired with Benny Woodard in the alleged scheme. Cornelius and Scott were RRAD civilian employees who are alleged to have facilitated the scheme at the direction of Benny Woodard.
If convicted of conspiracy to commit an offense against or defraud the U.S. government, the defendants each face up to five years in federal prison. If convicted of theft of government property or money, the defendants each face up to 10 years in federal prison.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of the Army Criminal Investigations Division, and the Red River Army Depot Criminal Investigations Division. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney D. Ryan Locker.