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Craig Watkins On Why Man Found Guilty of Murder, For Third Time, Won't Get Death

Earlier today, Jennifer Emily noted that Jonathan Bruce Reed was found guilty of the 1978 murder of Braniff Airlines flight attendant Wanda Jean Wadle -- the third time he's been convicted of raping and strangling her in her Northeast Dallas apartment. (Prior convictions -- based upon the testimony of eyewitnesses, including Wadle's roommate, who was also bound and gagged in the assault -- were overturned on appeal.) She also noted, behind the pay wall, that Reed would not be given the death penalty despite Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins's assurances that his office would in fact seek that punishment. Wrote Emily: The reasons for this change of heart "were not immediately clear."

Moments ago, Watkins's office sent an explanation.

Today, a Dallas County jury found Johnathan Bruce Reed, guilty of capital murder. The Dallas County District Attorney's Office initially pursued this case with the intent to seek the death penalty. However, after Reed was convicted, the District Attorney's Office withdrew its attempt to seek the ultimate punishment and agreed to a life sentence in the Texas Department of Corrections.

"It was never a question as to guilt or innocence in this 33-year-old case," said Craig Watkins, Dallas County District Attorney. "We have been dealing with this case since 1978, and in order to maintain the credibility we have established with the citizens of Dallas County over the last four years, we concluded that a life sentence was appropriate."

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