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Judge recuses himself from Jennifer Read’s wrongful death lawsuit against Kyle Carruth

Chad Read’s widow files a petition to take custody of his children from their mother and...
Chad Read’s widow files a petition to take custody of his children from their mother and releases cell phone video of the shooting. The video was provided by the attorney for Jennifer Read. Jennifer then filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Kyle Carruth and his company.(Photo/video provided by Attorney Matthew L. Harris)
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 5:03 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The day after Jennifer Read filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Kyle Carruth and his business for the death of her husband Chad Read, the judge presiding over the case recused himself. This makes the third recusal in the case.

First was the judge involved in the divorce of Carruth and his now ex-wife, which was in the 99th District Court. Next was the Lubbock County District Attorney. Now the judge in the 237th District Court for the wrongful death lawsuit.

Judge Les Hatch filed the order of recusal in the 237th District Court.

It states: upon the Court’s own motion, the undersigned Judge recuses himself from the above-entitled and numbered case. The Presiding Judge of the Ninth Administrative Judicial Region is requested to assign another judge to sit in this case.”

It was signed on Nov. 30, 2021, by Judge Hatch.

TIMELINE

On Friday, November 5, Lubbock Police found Chad Read, 54, dead at a home in the 2100 block of 90th street. Officials with the police desk told KCBD on November 5 a woman called 911 saying someone shot and killed her husband over custody issues. Police say through the initial course of the investigation, it appears there was a fight between Read and another man related to a domestic incident, and shots were fired.

Minimal information was released by law enforcement in the days immediately following the fatal shooting. The identity of the shooter had not been released. It was five days later, on Nov. 10 when the Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office recused itself from the case, on the grounds that an elected official may be called to testify.

The Lubbock Police Department then issued a statement explaining why the name of the shooter had not been released. “While LPD recognizes there is public interest in this case, there are multiple facets of this ongoing investigation that dictate what can and cannot be released to the public, per Texas state law,” the department said in a statement.

Then on November 16, six days later, the police department transferred its case files to the Texas Attorney General for its review.

On November 19, a court document identified Kyle Carruth as the shooter in the case. That document, signed by Judge Anne-Marie Carruth, was filed as part of her countersuit in the couple’s divorce. She is the judge of the 72nd District Court in Crosby and Lubbock counties.

In the affidavit, according to the Lubbock-Avalanche Journal, Anne-Marie Carruth wrote she was “notified that my husband, William Kyle Carruth, is under investigation for the shooting and killing of his girlfriend’s children’s father after he attempted to pick up his children late Friday afternoon. My knowledge of the incident is very limited at this time, and it is my understanding that the police are still investigating.”

The court documents were sealed when the divorce was finalized, on November 19. Both parties agreed to seal the divorce records and a judge determined the reasons were valid. Sources tell KCBD the divorce was filed in the 99th District Court, however, Judge Phillip Hays recused himself and a visiting judge from Amarillo presided. The judge from Amarillo granted the request to seal the records.

On Wednesday, Nov. 24, Jennifer Read released mobile phone video that shows the argument, and Carruth going into the home then returning armed. Video of the deadly confrontation has spread on social media and has been reported by multiple national news outlets. Along with the video, Jennifer Read’s attorney supplied a petition filed that day showing Jennifer Read, Chad’s widow, is seeking custody of her late husband’s children from their mother.

KCBD spoke to Kyle Carruth’s attorney after the child custody case was filed. Attorney David Guinn says the video “confirms the Lubbock Police’s thorough work reflects this as a justified homicide.” Guinn says Carruth holds a valid defense under the Castle Doctrine, “to defend himself, others or his property,” and they are looking forward to the Attorney General’s Office investigating and presenting the case to a Lubbock grand jury. Guinn says a grand jury could still indict Carruth, but his hope is “upon careful review of the law, they will not,” but it doesn’t mean he can’t be arrested and charged or convicted later.

Since the recusal of the District Attorney, and the announcement the police department was sending the case to be reviewed by the Texas Attorney General, no new information or update has been released to the public aside from what Jennifer Read and her attorneys have released.

On Monday, Nov. 29, Jennifer Read, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Kyle Carruth and his company Vitruvian Development LLC. She is seeking $50 million.

She claims Carruth failed to de-escalate the confrontation and used a gun even though no physical threat to life or property existed. The lawsuit states she and Chad Read went to his ex-wife’s place of business trying to find Chad’s youngest son.

There have been no criminal charges or arrests in this case.

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