Longview, TX — Upshur County’s Republican Party was divided Tuesday on the dismissal of the party chairman’s charges. Meanwhile, District Attorney Billy Byrd provided insight as to why the charges were dropped when a similar high-profile case in the county resulted in years of probation and loss of a job.
“Every decision is different. Every case is different even though it may have same title of offense,” Byrd said Tuesday. “You can’t take a cookie-cutter to a case.”
Byrd on Monday agreed to drop charges of theft of more than $1,500 and less than $20,000 and misappropriation of fiduciary property, with Republican Chairman Ken Ambrose repaying $6,000. Ambrose had used Republican Party funds from the Primary account to hire a lawyer.
When Ambrose’s charges were dropped, people in the county and in the Republican Party began comparing Ambrose’s case to that of former Gilmer Fire Chief Mike Melton, who received 10 years probation, forfeited his job and paid about $16,000 restitution. Melton was charged with misappropriation of fiduciary property ranging from $1,500 to $20,000 after taking checks and abusing credit cards belonging to the Gilmer Volunteer Fire Department.
Byrd said the agreements were based upon the facts of each case.
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