Democrat files to challenge McLennan County district attorney

Waco lawyer Seth Sutton with McLennan County Democratic Party Chair Mary Duty.
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Waco attorney Seth Andrew Sutton announced Wednesday he’ll run against Abel Reyna for the district attorney’s job on the Democratic ticket.

Sutton, an experienced criminal defense lawyer who lectures other Texas lawyers on topics such as jury selection and cross examinations in trial, joins at least one other hopeful in the race to unseat Reyna.

Former Dallas attorney Barry Johnson, 61, announced a few weeks ago he would return to Waco after practicing law in Dallas County since 1989 to run against Reyna on the GOP ticket.

He is the son of the late 170th District Judge Joe N. Johnson who sat on that bench for 16 years.

Sutton signed the required election paper work Wednesday with county Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Duty.

“The McLennan County Democratic Party is solidly behind Seth and his run for DA,” Duty said Wednesday afternoon.

Sutton said he believes the citizens of McLennan County deserve a choice when they vote for district attorney.

“There needs to be a change made,” he said, “I just want to offer the community a choice.”

Sutton is representing one of the men indicted in the Twin Peaks case but declined to make more than a passing comment about those cases.

“The road we’re on right now is very troubling and I fear to think what might happen to our property taxes,” he said.

He was born in Joshua and graduated from Plano High School.

Before Sutton donned his business suit he was a musician and actor in New York and was pursuing a career in musical theatre.

“I was a young person just growing up,” Sutton said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon.

“I thought I was going to have a career in musical theatre, but then when 9-11 happened and all the theatres shut down, I decided I had other things to do.”

" … My vast experience of breaking down scripts and finding the truth and the emotion have proved to be excellent preparation for defending my clients,” Sutton says on his website.

“The story of the case is my script and the jury is my audience. I connect with them and I don't miss the 'moments,’” Sutton said.

Sutton holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from Texas Tech University and a law degree from Baylor University.

Sutton began his law practice in Las Vegas, where he practiced federal criminal law, but after a short time he came back to Waco in 2006 to begin defending Texans.

Sutton is a partner in the Sutton, Milam and Fanning Law Firm, in Waco, where he practices with attorneys Jason M. Milam and David Fanning.

Sutton and his wife have five children.

Just to keep his hand in the business, Sutton said, he occasionally appears at the Waco Civic Theater.

"I love trial," explains Sutton. "Being half performer and half sports fan...trial is like competitive theater. There's nothing better!" he jokes on his website.