Wade Faulkner

Republican Wade Faulkner, 51, filed for a place on the March 3 primary ballot for the 426th District Court.

A former military judge who oversaw prosecution of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan’s death penalty trial is tossing his hat in the race to be the next judge of the 426th District Court.

Republican Wade Faulkner, 51, filed for a place on the March 3 primary ballot, he said in a news release issued this week.

The Salado resident joins Republicans Jeff Parker and Steve Duskie in hoping to replace retiring Judge Fancy Jezek.

“I’ve been doing criminal law my entire career with the past three years mostly in Bell County,” Faulkner told the Telegram Friday. “With Judge Jezek retiring, I just think I’ve got the experience and temperament to do what it takes to do this job.”

Faulkner — a Texan who grew up in Vernon, a small town near the Oklahoma state line — was in the Army for more than two decades.

“Most of my legal experience is as a military judge,” he said. “I retired here from Fort Hood. My last assignment was as a military judge. I sat on the bench for three years, presiding over courts martial and being the trial judge in the military.”

When Faulkner was assigned to Fort Polk in Louisiana in 2001, he was a special assistant United States attorney and prosecutor in courts-martial. Three years later, he was assigned as the senior defense counsel at Fort Carson in Colorado.

Faulkner then served as the senior legal advisor to an infantry brigade at Fort Riley in Kansas in 2008.

He returned to Texas in 2011 to serve as the chief of military justice for III Corps and Fort Hood. Faulkner supervised the prosecution of all courts-martial — including the trial seeking the death penalty for Hasan, who killed 13 people and wounded 32 others during a 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood. Hasan was sentenced to death in 2013.

“Since retiring in 2016, I’ve handled criminal defense in Bell County as well in the surrounding counties and federal court,” Faulkner said. “So I think my time as a military judge — along with my last three years of experience here in Bell County — make me a good quality candidate.”

Faulkner is a first-time candidate. His opponents have previously sought office.

Parker, 50, is in his fourth bid for a judgeship in Bell County. The Belton Republican ran against then-Judge Martha Trudo for the 264th District Court in 2014. Two years later, he challenged Jezek for her seat. And, in 2018, he sought Trudo’s seat after she retired.

Duskie, a 55-year-old Killeen Republican, ran in 2018 for the 264th District Court.

Faulkner — who earned his undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University and his law degree from Baylor University — said he is ready for the campaign.

“They’re very good attorneys, and they’re going to be very worthy opponents,” the Salado resident said of Duskie and Parker. “This is my first time to seek office so I’m new to the politicking game. I’ve got a lot of support in the county from the legal community and from elsewhere. I think I’ve got a good shot at winning.”

Faulkner has been married to his wife Debra for 26 years. They have two sons: Nicholas, a senior at Texas A&M University, and Matthew, a Salado High School senior.

The filing period for candidates planning to run in the March 3 primary ends Dec. 9.