SINTON, Texas — San Patricio County District Attorney Sam Smith was the lead prosecutor when a jury sent David Strickland to prison for life in 2016 for the 2012 murder of a woman -- and the shooting of another -- in a park in Portland.
He knows what evidence was presented, and is glad the 13th Court of Appeals agrees Strickland's capital murder conviction was a good call.
"We're very glad of the results of their opinion, because when we prosecuted this case -- and I prosecuted this case -- we felt he was guilty, and we felt we had the evidence to prove that," Smith said. "And the jury did agree with us."
Smith convinced the jury that Strickland was the person who bound and shot Mollie Olgin, and her girlfriend Kristene Chapa, in the head. Olgin died, and Chapa was left with permanent injuries. Smith said Strickland also raped one of the women, but didn't say which one.
"In my opinion, (Strickland is) a very frightening person," Smith said. "Anyone that would shoot two young girls in the head trying to kill both of them -- killed one -- is certainly someone who is a danger to the community."
Unless a higher court overturns Thursday's ruling, Strickland won't be able to rejoin society for the rest of his life. But his family vows to continue fighting for his release from prison. They believe he's innocent, and that the original suspect in the case is the true killer.
Smith is convinced that he and his team have the right man, and he thinks the denial of Strickland's appeal will help the families of the victims in the grieving process.
"I talked to both of them today to tell them (about the denial of the appeal)," Smith said. "I would hope that it at least brings them some relief from the anxiety of knowing that it was appealed and could possibly be tried again."