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Valdez leaving DA's office

Prosecuting crime is, as Comanche County Assistant District Attorney Eddie Valdez says, a "big job"  one that he's learned to appreciate and perfect  but after nearly 30 years of service, it's time for a change of pace.

Today is officially the last day at the district attorney's office for the Lawton native, a 1987 University of Oklahoma graduate who started prosecuting cases in January of 1988. In that time, he's fought countless tedious and high-stakes battles  some with life or death on the line  with poise, precision and compassion, and even though the job can weigh heavily on the mind and heart, all prosecutors know they're fighting for something larger than themselves  justice.

"I'll tell you, it takes something away from you every time you do a trial," Valdez said. "Every time you go in there and you're doing your job, putting it out there on the line, it takes something out of your soul every time...because you know there's people who suffered as a result of it."

Valdez, like most other assistant DAs, started out with smaller criminal cases and eventually moved onto homicides and violent crimes, but he didn't initially set out for the position. Valdez first worked laying pipeline for oil and gas companies after college, and following a few question-and-answer sessions for a co-worker and nighttime law student, Valdez took the LSAT and was accepted to OU, paying just over $32 an hour for law school with a 401K from only two years of oilfield work.

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