Sunday, March 13, 2011

Winkler County DA to Retire

From The Odessa American:
KERMIT District Attorney Mike Fostel of Winkler County will be stepping down effective April 30, Fostel said Wednesday.

The 65-year-old, who has held the position for 29 years, recently has faced external challenges to his duties as a prosecutor in the 109th Judicial District.

After being sidelined by illness and surgery in recent years, a lawsuit brought by Kermit resident and Winkler County Hospital Board member John Walton claimed Fostel hadn’t done his full duty since March 2009. Winkler County Attorney Scott Tidwell filed the motion but made a motion to dismiss it Feb. 1.

At the time, Fostel said he had no immediate plans to retire, and Fostel said Wednesday the suit was the work of a few people, so it didn’t affect him.

Fostel said the personal toll from the Feb. 6 death of his 32-year-old daughter Paige Fostel was the motivating factor in his retirement as a prosecutor, but not in general.

“I’m not quitting law, I’m quitting being district attorney,” Fostel said.

Fostel said he planned now to go across the street to One Court Place and hopefully restart the long-time private practice he gave up about two years ago.

Looking back on his career, which included three years of pure private practice, seven-and-a-half as county attorney in addition to his time as DA, Fostel recalled that just 42 days after stepping in, he had to prosecute the case of Odessa-based serial killer Michael Eugene Sharp, executed in November 2007 for the 1982 stabbing deaths of Brenda Kay Broadway, 32. He was also convicted in the murder of Broadway’s 8-year-old daughter Christie Elms.

Fostel said it was his first and only death penalty case, and he wouldn’t let Sharp bargain for a lesser sentence.

Fostel said he wasn’t sure who Gov. Rick Perry would choose to replace him.

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