A murder trial for Seth Lawton Winder, who’s accused of the killing and dismemberment of gay Dallas resident Richard Hernandez in 2008, has again been pushed back, according to the Denton County District Attorney’s Office.
Winder, who’s charged with first-degree murder in Hernandez’s death, was scheduled to go on trial beginning Monday, Aug. 16.
But Jamie Beck, first assistant district attorney for Denton County, said the trial will be delayed because a new judge was recently sworn in for the 367th District Court, where the case is assigned. Margaret Barnes, previously a county court judge, replaced Lee Gabriel, who was appointed to the Fort Worth appeals court.
“She’s never had any criminal experience, and we do not want her first jury trial to be our murder case,” Beck said of Barnes. “We don’t want trial by fire for her. We want to get her started off with some other types of crimes other than murder.”
Asked when she thinks Winder’s trial will go forward, Beck said, “I’m very hopeful that it will be this year, but I can’t guarantee that.”
The trial was delayed in May by publication of a book about the case written by Winder’s father’s girlfriend. But Beck said issues related to the book have been resolved.