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Reporter: John Carroll Email

Ex-Tax Assessor Will Remain Free While Attorneys File Appeal

WACO (September 21, 2012)—State District Judge Matt Johnson ruled Friday that former McLennan County Tax Assessor-Collector A.F. “Buddy Skeen” can remain free on $50,000 bond while his attorneys appeal his sentence.

The terms of Skeen’s release include a curfew and requirements that he not leave the county and report every two weeks to the local probation office.

Johnson Friday also ordered Skeen to pay $4,500 in restitution.

Seven more charges are pending against Skeen, who's scheduled for a second trial on Oct. 8.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled next Friday, at which prosecutors are expected to reveal the charges on which he's to be tried.

On Wednesday Johnson sentenced Skeen, 69, to 180 days in state jail and five years probation after a jury decided on a maximum two-year jail term, a $10,000 fine and five years probation.

Johnson suspended the two-year sentence and ordered Skeen to serve 180 days followed by five years probation.

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

The decision came a day after Skeen interrupted jury selection in his trial, pleaded guilty to misapplication of fiduciary property, a state jail felony, and then asked that a jury decide punishment.

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

The charge stems from the trade of a 2006 Ford pickup used by Skeen’s office to a local dealership in October 2008 for about $5,000 less than what it was actually worth.

The truck was immediately sold to the son of one of Skeen’s chief assistants, prosecutors said.

Skeen resigned immediately after entering the guilty plea Tuesday.

McLennan County Commissioners met in emergency session at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and named Randy Riggs to fill the vacancy.

Riggs emerged from a three-race primary race with Skeen and Jeff Nickell and a runoff with Nickell, to win the GOP nomination to the post.

He’s unopposed in November.

Texas Rangers served a warrant on Skeen's office on July 20, 2011 searching for records to support an investigation involving allegations that Skeen fraudulently listed a county-owned vehicle as a trade-in for the purchase of a personal pickup truck to avoid paying more than $1,300 in sales tax.

Skeen was arrested in December 2011 on warrants charging theft by a public servant and false name, information and forgery after the McLennan County Grand Jury indicted him.

McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said the charges stemmed from a false statement on a motor vehicle title application and the theft of accessories from a county-owned vehicle that were installed on Skeen's personal vehicle.

In April he was named in six new indictments.

The charges included one count of abuse of official capacity and five counts charging misappropriation of fiduciary property.

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