Man charged in Kennedale teacher's murder takes plea deal for early release

- A Tarrant County man who faced life in prison for the murder of a Kennedale teacher is expected to be out of jail in less than a year after taking a plea deal.

Patrick Brooks was indicted for the murder of Kennedale Middle School teacher Ross Shreves in June 2013. Brooks became a suspect after investigators say he called and sent text messages to Shreves, an old classmate of his from Kennedale High, asking the teacher to meet him at the No Frills Grill on Little Road. Surveillance video showed muzzle flashes in Shreves' car and a man leaving the car.

The Tarrant County District Attorney's office would not do any on-camera interviews or answer any questions as to why a plea deal was made but alluded to a road block they had in some of the cell phone evidence. 

In a statement the District Attorney says, "An emerging issue regarding the reliability of a specific form of cell phone tower data undermined our ability to prosecute the case to the satisfaction of a jury."

Attorney Alex Kim said in cases he's had, cell phone location data can be critical evidence, "Now if a person's phone is 15-20 miles away from where a crime happened that places a great concern for the prosecution and for the defense and for everyone."

Kim says there's a big difference between murder... And criminally negligent homicide. Although he has nothing to do with the case against Brooks, he says he understands why after both sides seemed ready to embark on a murder trial....Brooks accepted a sudden plea deal from the Tarrant County Prosecutor.

"A defendant doesn't want to take the risk of going to trial and getting a huge punishment when they can secure a lower punishment just by pleading guilty," Kim said.

So instead of a maximum punishment of life... Which is what Brooks faced with the murder charge, he now faces criminally negligent homicide, which has a maximum of 2 years.

But with 14 months of time already served, Brooks will spend less than a year in jail.

 The father of Ross Shreves told Fox 4 over the phone, "I didn't agree with the plea deal. I voiced my opinion to the District Attorney, but it was their choice. Now we have to live with it."


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