The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

February 7, 2014

Arrest made in death of Jackie Blaylock

Beckett, West Tawakoni city Council member, charged in hit and run

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — An arrest was made Thursday in connection with a hit and run death in south Hunt County 11 months ago.

Sealed indictments were issued by the Hunt County grand jury January 31, alleging a West Tawakoni City Council member left the scene of the March 2013 accident which resulted in the death of Jackie Blaylock of Quinlan.

West Tawakoni Police Chief Brandon Kilpatrick announced the arrest Thursday morning of Laura Denise Beckett of West Tawakoni on grand jury indictment warrants on one count leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury/death and tampering/fabricating physical evidence with the intent to impair an investigation.

Copies of the indictments were unavailable Thursday, as they remained sealed until such time as Beckett was booked into the Hunt County Jail and received a magistrate’s warning on the charges. Beckett, also known as Laura Denise Bailey, remained in custody at the jail Thursday evening on $20,000 bond on each count.

District Attorney Noble D. Walker confirmed Thursday that Beckett is a city council member in West Tawakoni, declining further comment until such time as the indictments are unsealed. The Hunt County Courthouse closed early Thursday due to the snowfall.

A West Tawakoni Police Department officer found Blayock’s body on the morning of March 21, 2013, on the shoulder of East State Highway 276 near the intersection of Shore Line Drive. Blaylock, a mother of two children, appeared to have been struck by a motor vehicle. Evidence recovered at the scene resulted in a possible description of the vehicle as a 2000-2003 Chevrolet pickup,  damaged headlight on the right side and a one-foot piece of trim missing from under the headlight.

Kilpatrick had said Blaylock may have been walking home from a bar in the area at the time she was struck.

“We’re waiting on the crime labs,” Kilpatrick said in December. “Especially when you are dealing with trace evidence, it can take forever.”