“Once I reviewed the evidence, it occurred to me that the case needed to be referred to the district attorney’s office,” Earley told DailyTrib.com.
She was brought on as a prosecutor shortly before Ort’s original hearing on Sept. 19 but asked for an extension to have more time to look over the evidence. By the time Ort’s second hearing came around on Nov. 14, she determined the damages involved could be over $2,500, which would push the charge from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony.
Ort was not aware of the potential felony charge until asked about it by DailyTrib.com. He said he believed his case was over after Monday’s dismissal by the Burnet County Court at Law.
The original charge of criminal mischief was handed down in December 2021. Ort turned himself in to the Burnet County Jail after learning he was wanted in the keying of a Mercedes-Benz in the H-E-B parking lot on Oct. 20, 2021. The investigation was conducted by Marble Falls Police Sgt. Aaron Garcia, who is now the sitting mayor of Granite Shoals, the same governing body on which Ort serves.
The Class A Misdemeanor charge carried a potential fine of up to $4,000 and up to a year in jail. The state jail felony charge carries a potential fine of up to $10,000 and between 180 days and two years in jail.