GILMER — Upshur County 115th District Court Judge Lauren Parish has recused herself from the case of former County Commissioner Lloyd Crabtree, who along with his son is accused of holding a game warden at gunpoint. That’s according to KETK and the Longview News-Journal. The order of recusal signed late Monday by Parish states she was excusing herself from the trial because 115th District Court Coordinator Teena Henson may be called to testify as a witness in pretrial matters. The order says the coordinator’s testimony may be “critical” to some pretrial matters.
Henson previously served as a chief deputy clerk in the district clerk’s office. A motion filed by District Attorney Billy Byrd states it was found through text message searches of Crabtree’s phone that Crabtree had a relationship “beyond friendship” with an employee in the district clerk’s office. The employee is not named. Byrd said in the motion that Henson demonstrated the jury summoning process, which led him to believe tampering could occur in the process. The extent of Crabtree’s alleged relationship with the district clerk’s employee led Byrd to believe motivation existed to potentially tamper with the jury panel, he wrote in the motion. In his motion filed minutes before Parish’s order, he therefore requested to have the district judge supervise and direct the summoning of prospective jurors.