In 2002, David Conley was facing the music for his life of crime. The man who had four times gone to prison (and would go a fifth time) was going to trial. He had been charged with retaliation, for attacking Valerie Jackson, one of the 8 victims prosecutors say he restrained and fatally shot on Saturday, 13 years after he avoided a trial that could have put him in prison for life.
The retaliation charge was filed after Jackson said Conley attacked her, and her baby, as payback for a recent stint in jail on an aggravated assault charge, after he had assaulted her.
This time around, prosecutors had Conley’s prior felony convictions in their arsenal, which meant the 3rd degree felony retaliation charge would carry a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
All they needed was Jackson’s cooperation at trial. And that’s exactly what they did not have. She changed her story, claiming she had made up the entire attack. The day of the trial, she was a no-show.
With no hope of trying the case, Devon Anderson, then-chief prosecutor of the court, signed a plea deal that send Conley to TDCJ for just five years.
His fifth stint in prison would not stop him from attacking Jackson again, as court records say he did in April, and again in July.
The murder of Jackson, her husband, and six children puts Devon Anderson in a totally different position. She does not need anyone’s cooperation to seek the death penalty. Anderson stressed that investigators will look into every facet of Conley’s life before a determination is made on the death penalty or life in prison.
The decision could take four months.