|San Jacinto News-Times - Local News
Stories Added - June 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
Criminal DA Bill Burnett dies Tuesday
San Jacinto News- Times
COLDSPRING – San Jacinto County Criminal District Attorney Bill Burnett died at his residence around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, June 1, following a short struggle with cancer. San Jacinto County Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Greg Magee, who performed the inquest, said, “Our County and the criminal justice system lost a good man this morning. His son, Shane, was by his side.” In his announcement earlier this year to seek another four years as criminal district attorney, Burnett said, “I believe we must continue to strive to make San Jacinto County safe and peaceful and productive for all the citizens and visitors here. In addition to our aggressive prosecution of criminal cases, I would like to see our subdivisions and neighborhoods reenergize their Neighborhood Watch programs. I think it is imperative that we all take an active role in taking care of ourselves and our neighbors. I want to meet with representative groups in the neighborhoods and subdivisions in order to increase our awareness and vigilance. As your Criminal District Attorney, I ask for your support and your prayers. My vow is to continue to prosecute crime aggressively and impartially and to follow my oath to do justice to the best of my ability.” Burnett was dedicated to his job and the people of San Jacinto County. He once said, “San Jacinto County has been my home for half my life. I can think of no other place where I would rather live and work.” From 2007 when he first took office until the end of 2009, his he and his co-workers added numerous technology programs to assist the county, at no cost to the county, including programs to run criminal histories through DPS, a program to retrieve DPS drivers license images and addresses, a TDEX program which allows us to locate individuals incarcerated in other counties, and access to Harris County’s district and county clerk’s office to obtain certified copies of judgments via computer. He applied for and received a crime victim liaison grant for 2007 - 2008, and again for 2009 - 2010. The grant pays for crime victim coordinator position and over the four year period saves San Jacinto County over $150,000. In 2010, he expanded his office space, creating a dedicated grand jury room. He took pride in the fact that his office worked closely with Safe Harbor and the San Jacinto County Child Protective Services Advisory Board to establish and maintain a Safe Harbor facility in Coldspring, where child victims of physical or sexual abuse can be interviewed by trained forensic interviewers locally without having to go out of county to other facilities. During the past three years his office indicted more than 736 felony cases, an average of 245 per year. From January 2007 through December 2009, 185 defendants were sentenced to prison in San Jacinto County for a total of over 1,269 years. Burnett was graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence at South Texas College of Law in 1990. Burnett served as a probation officer for 12 years in San Jacinto County and seven years as assistant criminal district attorney. He was director of the Angelina College Police Academy from 1997 to 2001. He took office as criminal district attorney in San Jacinto County on Jan. 1, 2007. As of press time Tuesday morning funeral arrangements were pending.