Prosecutor in Charles Dean Hood Capital Murder Case Not a Romantic Fellow

Judge Verla Sue Holland had an affair with Collin County prosecutor Thomas S. O’Connell Jr. A few years after it ended, he tried the case against accused murderer Charles Dean Hood in her court. Hood’s lawyers are using the non-disclosure of the sexual relationship between the two as grounds to appeal to the Supreme Court. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals already ruled that it was too late (the trial happened 20 years ago) for Hood to raise the issue.

And yet the saddest part of the whole matter, as the New York Times notes, may be the judge’s description of her relationship with O’Connell:

Mr. O’Connell did not seem especially romantic. Judge Holland testified that he once gave her a picture of a polar bear with a matching cup. Another time he gave her a chafing dish.

He never stayed the night. “I had a truck that everybody recognized,” Mr. O’Connell
And he might have been more sympathetic when Judge Holland’s mother died.

“Tom didn’t send a card,” the judge testified. “He didn’t send flowers. He didn’t come by. He didn’t call. You know, I think that’s pretty callous.”

Asked if they had professed their love to each other, Judge Holland sounded wistful. “Yeah,” she said. “Yes. I loved him.”

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