October 30, 2014

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Reporter: Paul J. Gately Email

Embattled Former Tax Assessor Pleads To New Charges, Withdraws Appeal

Former McLennan County Tax Assessor-Collector A. F. "Buddy" Skeen in court. (File)

WACO (September 28, 2012)--Embattled former McLennan County Tax Assessor-Collector A.F. "Buddy" Skeen pleaded guilty during a pre-trial hearing on Friday and told the judge he was withdrawing his appeal from an earlier conviction.

Skeen was led from the courtroom in hand cuffs to be delivered to the McLennan County Jail, then to be transferred to a state jail facility to discharge the remaining 177 days on his 180-day sentence.

His lawyer said he was credited for three days time served.

Skeen appeared in 54th State District Court just before noon Friday and pleaded guilty to using a false name, providing false information and forgery on one count and theft by a public servant on another count.

Skeen was sentenced to serve five years probation on the theft charge and 10 years probation on the false name and forgery charge.

Those terms will run concurrently with his earlier sentence.

Skeen also was fined a total of $2,000 and ordered to pay about $13,000 in restitution.

Thomas West, Skeen's lawyer, said Skeen would receive his county retirement in full.

He pleaded guilty Sept. 19 to misapplication of fiduciary property, a state jail felony, and then asked that a jury decide punishment.

The jury decided on a maximum two-year jail term, a $10,000 fine and five years probation but District Judge Matt Johnson suspended the prison term and ordered Skeen to serve 180 days in state jail, followed by five years probation.

He also ordered Skeen to perform 400 hours of community service.

After he was sentenced last week, Skeen was handcuffed, removed from the courtroom and taken to the McLennan County Jail.

His attorneys appeared in court later last week and successfully argued that Skeen be released after posting an appeal bond.

The district attorney abandoned other charges against Skeen, including another count of misapplication of fiduciary property and abuse of official capacity, after Skeen's pleas Friday.

"A McLennan County jury was able to hear evidence from all of these charges last week," said First Assistant District Attorney Michael Jarrett.

"Buddy Skeen has been sentenced and ordered to pay every dime he misappropriated back to the people of McLennan County. By agreeing to plead guilty and waive appeal, the disgraceful history of Buddy Skeen can put to rest," Jarrett said.


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