Trial for Winkler County Sheriff Gets Underway in Midland

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND COUNTY--Continuing coverage on the latest chapter in the Kermit Nurse Saga, a story that started back in June of 2009.

Winkler County Sheriff Robert Roberts is accused of retaliation, official oppression and misusing-using official information.  The case now has a jury and on Tuesday, their work officially begins.

Roberts faces four felony charges and two misdemeanors. If he's found guilty, he could receive anywhere from two to ten years in state prison for each felony conviction and one year in county jail for the misdemeanors.

That's why attorneys, for both sides, took their time to grill potential jurors, before they made their final decision on a jury panel.

Before being sworn in, the eight men, four women and two alternates, along with the other almost 100 potential jurors, were allowed to get personal, for what prosecutor David Glickler said would be the only time they would be allowed to do so.

Before the final 14 were chosen, almost a dozen members of the panel were dismissed. Some for admitting personally knowing the defendant, others for personal bias due to having a family member or friend in law enforcement. Some even said they had a problem with the range of punishment should Roberts be found guilty.

One thing that continued to come up during the initial interviews, the publicity of the case or how much everyone knew about the it, either from personal knowledge or what they have seen or read in the media.

After an almost five hour selection process, the jury was chosen, sworn in and given the charge of the court by visiting Judge Robert Moore of Howard County.

Trying the case for the Texas Attorney General's Office will be David Glicker assisted by Shane Attaway. Roberts' defense team consists of Woody Levertt and Jason Leach.

This trial is expected to go well into next week. We're told that potential witnesses include the two Kermit nurses themselves, Vicki Galle and Anne Mitchell, as well as Winkler County Attorney Scott Tidwell, former District Attorney Mike Fostel and former hospital administrator, Stan Wiley.

The witness list also includes a number of current and former Winkler County Hospital employees as well as residents of Wink and Kermit.

Opening arguments begin Tuesday morning in Midland's 441st District Court.