FRANKLIN - Former Robertson County District Attorney John Paschall can no longer practice law after pleading guilty Thursday to a felony charge of misusing money that belonged to an estate for which he served as executor.
Paschall - who served six terms as the top prosecutor before going into private practice - must report to the Brazos County Jail on Feb. 8 to begin serving a sentence requiring him to spend 30 nights behind bars during the week. He was placed on 10 years probation, issued a $1,000 fine and must pay restitution, though the amount has yet to be determined.
He was indicted a year ago this month on a first-degree felony charge of misapplication of fiduciary property, but the case was negotiated to a third-degree felony. He faced up to 10 years behind bars for the crime, but since he had no prior felony convictions, probation was allowed.
Paschall, 62, was accused of misusing money belonging to the estate of Calvert resident Marium Oscar while he served as its executor. Oscar died in 2004.
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Paschall declined to comment to an Eagle reporter after the hearing.
Concerns first were raised in 2011 when attorney Ty Clevenger filed a lawsuit on behalf of two of Oscar's distant relatives, according to court records. The petition was amended two years later, naming as plaintiff the Calvert Historical Foundation, which is the nonprofit organization where Oscar wanted her remaining assets donated after her death, according to her trust agreement.
In January 2014, Paschall said in court filings that $86,000 was all that was left of an estate that had been appraised at $300,000. It was money inherited by Oscar after her sister's death in 1991.
In August 2014, Judge H.D. Black dismissed a civil suit after the foundation cut ties with Clevenger, who had agreed to represent the plaintiff pro bono. At that time, The Eagle reported that the Texas Rangers, the Texas Attorney General's Office and the State Bar of Texas was investigating Paschall for misappropriation of funds.
Paschall, who ran as a Democrat, was district attorney from 1980 to 1984. He ran again in 1992 and went on to serve five terms, ending in 2012.
According to a 2015 story first published in The Eagle, Paschall was indicted in January 1987 on charges of theft by a public servant and misapplication of fiduciary property stemming from allegations that he had pocketed money intended for a crime victim. A grand jury later dropped the theft charge but reindicted Paschall on the misapplication of funds charge in May 1987. The case was once again sent to a grand jury in June 1987 but the charge was dismissed, according to his attorney, Jim James.
Special prosecutors from the Texas Attorney General's Office presented the plea deal, which was heard by Doug Shaver, a visiting district judge.
More details later.