EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
Bertram Police Chief James “J.J.” Wilson surrendered himself to the Burnet County Jail on Oct. 3 following a grand jury indictment on several of charges, including official oppression and aggravated perjury.
On Oct. 2, the Burnet County grand jury indicted Wilson on charges spanning from August 2017 from a case involving hay bales to May 2018 regarding the release of a man’s criminal history that was not public at that time.
Wilson, 53, was out of jail the same day after posting $26,000 in surety bonds as well as several personal recognizance bonds.
According to the indictment, in August 2017, Wilson tried to force a man to give hay bales to a woman. The indictment continues with Wilson threatening to have a second man’s truck towed and a third man’s commercial license revoked if they didn’t get the initial man to turn over the hay bales to the woman.
The grand jury indictment states that the hay bales belonged to the first man and not the woman.
This alleged incident, according to the indictment, occurred when Wilson “was then and there acting under color of his office or employment as Chief of Police for Bertram, Texas.”
The indictment charged Wilson with a Class A misdemeanor of official oppression.
The grand jury also indicted the police chief in an incident involving the arrest of a man in October 2017 after the chief stated the man “began to act irrational towards the officers and appeared to become more aggressive with each passing moment as officers began to question the narcotics suspect.” The chief made this part of a sworn statement, but the indictment added: “such statement being false in that (the man in question) was acting rationally and was not becoming more aggressive with each passing moment as the officers began to question the narcotics suspect.”
The grand jury indicted Wilson on third-degree felony aggravated perjury for that incident.
In May 2018, the grand jury believes, according to the indictment, that the chief used his office to give the criminal history of a man, which was not public record at that time, to a woman.
He was charged with third-degree felony misuse of official information for his alleged actions in this case.
All of these incidents, the indictment stated, occurred as Wilson was acting in is official role as the police chief.
Wilson came out of retirement and joined the Bertram Police Department as chief in July 2015. Previously, he served 25 years with the Houston Police Department.
If convicted, Wilson faces up to 10 years for the third-degree felony charges and up to one year in jail for the Class A misdemeanor charge. He could also lose his peace officer license.