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Goliad man who helped solve cold case named Constable of the Year

By Sara Sneath
July 16, 2014 at 2:16 a.m.

Yvette Torres, with the Goliad County district attorney's office, congratulates Mike Thompson at a reception in Goliad. Thompson received the Constable of the Year award from  the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association of Texas.

Sharon Burdette will be forever grateful to Mike Thompson, who labored to put her sister's killer behind bars.

For almost a decade, Burdette asked Goliad officials to dig deeper into the death of her sister, Patricia Leigh Mills, whose murder was first ruled a tragic accident. Many discounted Burdette's suspicions, but when the case was reopened under Sheriff Kirby Brumby, Precinct 2 Constable Thompson took the lead.

Thompson was named Constable of the Year at the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association of Texas, largely because of his scrupulous work in solving the 7-year-old cold case against Delbert Mills, who was convicted of murdering his wife last year.

"I was just so proud of him. This was not a high-profile community member, and this guy would have gotten away with it if Mike hadn't picked up that case and been as tenacious as he is," said Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, Steve Kennedy, who nominated Thompson for the award.

"If anybody deserves it, it's him," Burdette said. "It was meant to be for us to come across each other because nobody else could have done as good of a job because nobody else would take it serious."

Burdette's sister was killed in a house fire in 2003. Mills' 6-year-old son, John Michael Burdette, escaped the fire that claimed his mom's life.

Burdette adopted John Michael, who is now 18, last year. The same year, Delbert Mills was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

"It didn't bring her back, but at least I got satisfaction knowing that we got justice for her. That was my main concern - getting justice for her and her son," Burdette said.

Thompson started his law enforcement career as a reserve officer in Ingleside and later moved to Aransas Pass, where he served with the police department for more than 25 years.

"I worked with some really good people on this case. I didn't do it by myself," Thompson said.

In addition to his work on the cold case, Thompson helped restart a $500 law enforcement scholarship program for Goliad students. The scholarship is funded by county constables, the sheriff, justices of the peace and highway patrolmen.

John Michael plans to attend college in the fall to become a prosecuting attorney.

"But as far as Mike Thompson, I couldn't have asked for a better person to investigate the case because he put his whole heart and soul into it," Burdette said.

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