*You can read all of the letters by clicking on the PDF file that is attached to this story on the left side of the page, or you can click on this link and download the PDF file... http://www.kjas.com/pdf_87a2a5e6-a0c8-11e8-9077-df3c7489bcb6.html
U.S. District Judge Ron Clark recently ordered the release of numerous letters that were written to him in support of Walter, Rosie, and Anita Diggles, and KJAS News obtained those letters on Wednesday.
Most of the approximately sixty-five letters were written by individuals, church pastors, and former employees of Walter Diggles when he was Executive Director of the Deep East Texas Council of Government.
However, six of the letters were written in an official capacity on official letterhead by elected officials and public employees. Those letters came from a county commissioner and a county sheriff, along with two council of government heads and a middle school principal and associate principal.
The letters written in an official capacity were sent by:
~ DeMonica Amerson – Principal, Claughton Middle School in Houston
~ Eboni G. Taylor – Associate Principal, Claughton Middle School in Houston
~ Everette “Bo” Alfred - Jefferson County Precinct 4 Commissioner
~ Billy Rowles – Newton County Sheriff
~ Mike Eastland – Executive Director, North Central Texas Council of Government in Arlington
~ Jack Steele – Executive Director, Houston-Galveston Area Council of Government in Houston
The letters were written after the three were convicted in July of 2017 on charges of stealing federal block grant funds intended to go to hurricane victims, and before their sentencing in May of 2018.
Two of those letters were from administrators at a school in Houston where Anita Diggles was formerly employed. One letter came from Claughton Middle School Principal DeMonica Amerson and was written on letterhead from the school, while the other letter came from Claughton Middle School Associate Principal Eboni G. Taylor, and was written on Spring Independent School District letterhead.
KJAS News contacted Spring ISD on Wednesday and we asked them if they condone employees showing official support for convicted criminals. Spring ISD Spokeswoman Karen Garrison later released a statement from the school district. It said:
"Spring ISD was not aware of the character reference letters for Ms. Diggles issued on official district/school letterhead, nor were we aware that Ms. Diggles was involved in criminal proceedings. As such, the positions of support provided in the letters do not represent the position of Spring ISD. We are currently reviewing the need for additional policies and/or regulations related to character reference letters issued on official district/school letterhead".
During sentencing, Judge Clark noted that there were numerous factors involved in arriving upon an appropriate sentence, and he said that the letters of support would play a small part in the overall decision making process.
The three are now serving their federal prison sentences; Walter Diggles, 66, was sentenced to 9 years while his wife, Rosie Diggles, 64, and their daughter, Anita Diggles, 42, were each sentenced to 4.5 years.
Meanwhile, the three have appealed their case and it is in the beginning stages of entering the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.