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CLEBURNE A well-known Cleburne attorney and chairman for the Johnson County Democratic Party was taken into custody Monday morning after trying to bring a handgun into a courthouse.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office said Bill Conover, 53, also appeared to be drunk.

The news stunned local attorneys and political figures in Cleburne.

"I was just shocked... shocked," said Henry Teich, chairman of the county Republican Party. "I really hope it was just an oversight on his part."

Conover didn't respond to requests for comment.

The county Democrats told News 8 he resigned the chairmanship on Monday afternoon. In a statement, party secretary LuAnne Leonard wrote:

"Today was an unfortunate mistake, coupled with poor judgment. The gun was located in a book that was in his attache case. He forgot the gun was there and inadvertently took it into the courthouse."

Leonard said she didn't know if Conover had a concealed handgun permit.

Conover is a past assistant state attorney general and well-regarded attorney. His family has long roots in the area. A local high school football field is named after his grandfather.

The sheriff's office says Conover will be charged with public intoxication and bringing a firearm into a prohibited place.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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