North Texas attorneys remember Mark Hasse, a Kaufman County assistant district attorney who was fatally shot Jan. 31 in a parking lot near the courthouse, as a well-regarded lawyer who overcame a severe injury to continue practicing law.
Hasse was attacked while he was walking from the employee parking lot at a county courthouse annex, Pat Laney, a public information officer with the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department, said on the day of the shooting.
Hasse was a veteran prosecutor who was well known in Dallas’ criminal courthouse where he served as an assistant district attorney in the 1980s.
"He was one of the best prosecutors that Dallas County ever had," says John Creuzot, a Dallas solo and former district court judge, who worked as a Dallas County prosecutor with Hasse in the 1980s.
"In my group of lawyers, he was one of the best. He was a great trial lawyer and smart on the law, and he rose rapidly in the DAs office," Creuzot says, who worked with Hasse under then-Dallas County DA Henry Wade. "He was promoted rapidly in the DA’s office by Mr. Wade because he deserved it."
But his legal career was later interrupted, Creuzot says, after Hasse suffered a severe injury when an airplane he was piloting crashed.
"He was unable to practice law. He finally recovered enough to practice," Creuzot says.
Toby Shook, a former Dallas County assistant district attorney who is now a criminal-defense lawyer, also worked with Hasse in the DA’s office.
"He was a very talented trial prosecutor and was very aggressive. He tried a lot of big cases," Shook says. "When he left, he was chief of the organized crime division. His reputation was as a hard-nosed, no nonsense prosecutor."
"Then he had this accident and barely survived," says Shook, who says Hasse was hired years later by then-Kaufman County DA Rick Harrison. Harrison, who is now a criminal-defense attorney, did not return a call seeking comment.
Robert Jenkins, a Dallas criminal-defense lawyer, says he is handling two cases in which Hasse is the prosecutor. Jenkins describes the slain lawyer as "always reasonable, very nice and an old-school kind of guy."
"It’s shocking and horrible. He was really a nice guy," Jenkins says. "I don’t know anybody that had a problem with him. He had his own plane and still flew, even after the wreck. He was that guy you hear about who bootstraps his life and now this horrible thing happens."