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Defense teams for MCS administrators discuss months since arrests

Nearly two months after being arrested, the five MCS administrators still haven't had their cases go before a grand jury.

MIDLAND, Texas — Barry Russell, Gregory McClendon, Matthew Counts, Jared Lee and Dana Ellis were all arrested two months ago and charged with failing to report harm to a child and intent to conceal. It has been two months, but their cases still haven't gone before a grand jury.

In the meantime, the defense teams haven't been able to do much other than wait because they had been waiting for a report to be submitted to the District Attorney's office.

"Well, there’s no hearings to be had because no court case has been filed," Frank Sellers, an attorney representing Jared Lee, said. "A grand jury decides whether or not these folks should be indicted. It took two months to get the investigation report to the DA's office, and we’re being told it could be another month before we even get around to a grand jury."

Sellers said that he doesn't believe he's ever seen a felony charge of failure to report with intent to conceal. He has seen it as a misdemeanor charge.

"Each of the administrators have been charged with a rather obscure family code violation of failing to report harm to a child with the intent to conceal, and from our research, this is probably the first time the felony version of this has ever been charged in Texas," Sellers said.

Sellers wished that this whole process could have moved along at a faster pace.

"The entire investigation was run by a detective at the Midland Police Department, and up until last Thursday, she did not even complete and submit her report to the DA's office," Sellers said. "We have been begging for that for months now, and just last Thursday, she finally got it over there."

For now, all five defense teams are waiting on the grand jury.

"By law, a grand jury is designed to be a one-sided presentation by the prosecution," Sellers said. "Some DA's, some counties in Texas, allow for defense attorneys to come in and make presentations on behalf of their clients. So until we get to the grand jury point where we could submit our packets, there’s really not much we can do."

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