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An Alpine man received a 40-year prison sentence on July 21 for failing to stop and render aid in a March 2021 incident in Burnet that resulted in the death of a woman. Dana Beowolf Joerns pleaded guilty to the charge in 424th District Judge Evan Stubbs’ courtroom, according to a media release from 33rd/424th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Joerns, whose address was listed as Sunrise Beach Village in Burnet County Jail records at the time of the incident, had two prior felony convictions for possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, enhancing his punishment. He will serve his sentence in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
In the early morning hours of March 30, 2021, a person delivering newspapers called 911 after discovering an injured woman at the corner of East Post Oak and Vanderveer Street in Burnet, according to the media release. The Burnet Police Department and Burnet Fire/EMS responded to the scene and began treating the victim, who was eventually identified as Molly Klein of Alpine. She later died at a hospital.
The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma.
Investigators focused on Joerns after tracking his use of the victim’s debit card back to Alpine in West Texas. The BPD worked alongside Texas Rangers, and law enforcement in Gillespie and Brewster counties, conducting interviews, reviewing records, and speaking with witnesses to determine what happened to Klein in the late-night hours of March 29.
Faced with the evidence, Joerns admitted to his involvement in her death.
“The relationships that our office has built with local law enforcement and with agencies across the state helped to bring this defendant to justice without having to put Molly Klein’s family through the rigors of trial,” stated the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Amanda Dillon of the 33rd/424th Judicial Districts, in the media release.
The defendant was represented by Nathan Kight and Ivan Lependu.
District Attorney Wiley “Sonny” McAfee echoed Dillon’s sentiments, particularly regarding the collaborative efforts of the agencies involved.
“Multiple agencies all over Texas worked together to investigate this case and give us the evidence we needed to hold this man accountable,” he said in the release. “Our communities are safer because of them.”