WILCO – Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell has agreed to pay a fine as part of a plea agreement for violating Williamson County’s stay-at-home order earlier this year.
On Nov. 24, Gravell pleaded guilty to the Class C misdemeanor and agreed to pay $1,000. As part of the plea bargain, the state of Texas agreed to decline pressing charges on abuse of official capacity and official oppression.
“I apologize to the citizens of Williamson County for my lapse in judgment,” said Gravell. “I will continue to do my best to guide and protect every life, every family and every business in our great county.”
On March 24, Williamson County issued the Stay Home Stay Safe Order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 7, before the order was lifted, Gravell was spotted in Jarrell potentially violating the order.
“Gravell, while not engaged in official county business, had a sheriff’s deputy drive he and his wife to the Jarrell Fire Department where he obtained firefighter ‘bunker gear’ and a respirator which he then dressed in,” read the original complaint from attorney Robert M. McCabe. “Gravell then had the deputy drive he and his wife to his daughter’s home in Jarrell for the sole purpose to attend his grandson’s birthday party.”
Photos of the incident started to circulate on social media. The chain of events that followed led to the state’s case against the judge.
“While I carry the heavy public burden of guiding the policies that best protect our citizens, I am also a husband, father and grandfather,” said Gravell. “It was in this role that I visited my 5-year-old grandson on his birthday. Pawpaw Bill made an error in judgment that County Judge Gravell deeply regrets.