Shooting near Kaufman County Courthouse
DALLAS -- Mark Hasse, who was murdered in Kaufman on Thursday morning, was a long-time prosecutor in North Texas who spent some of his years at the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.
Within two years of joining the DA's office in 1992, Hasse got promoted to a felony court. And woe to the defendant who went to trial against him, according to Dallas attorney Ted Steinke, who worked with Hasse in the 1980s at the DA's office.
"He was the consummate prosecutor. He was a great trial lawyer," Steinke said. "He was small in stature, but juries just loved him and he had this aura of believability about him that made him very successful in the courtroom."
Hasse later led the county's Organized Crime Unit, pursuing gambling, narcotics, and gun-running cases.
He left in the late 1980s for private practice, and in 1995, was injured in a small plane crash, but recovered.
Hasse got deeply involved with the Dallas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), eventually becoming president.
Suzette Pylant, a victim advocate for MADD, started working with Hasse late last year on a Kaufman County drunk driving case. Dallas County Deputy Constable Guy Farley died in the crash with a driver charged with intoxication manslaughter, and Hasse was the prosecutor.
Pylant said the news of Hasse's death hit hard.
"I just burst into tears," she said. "And I felt like it was him, when I heard it was a prosecutor. I don't know why. But I thought, 'It's Mark.' And then I called a friend over there, and she said it was."
Hasse joined the Kaufman County District Attorney's office in 2010, and former colleagues like Steinke say Hasse enjoyed returning to put bad guys in jail.
But, although rare, Steinke notes there is a risk.
"Prosecutors in the past have gotten death threats, I've gotten death threats in the past," Steinke said. "You take precautions, but something like this does not happen in North Texas."
We're told Hasse's mother still lives in Dallas. He wasn't married.