Jarvis Parsons -- flanked by two predecessors, family and dozens of supporters -- was sworn in on New Year's Day as Brazos County's district attorney, filling a role previously held by veteran prosecutor Bill Turner for almost three decades.
It was standing room only at the ceremony in the Commissioner's Court meeting quarters at the Brazos County Administration Building where five other officials re-elected to office were sworn in, including 272nd District Judge Travis Bryan III, County Attorney Rod Anderson, Pct. 1 Commissioner Lloyd Wasserman, Pct. 3 Commissioner Kenny Mallard and Tax Assessor-Collector Kristeen Roe.
After the official business wrapped up, Parsons asked Bryan to give an invocation that would help him in his new role.
"There will be times of victory, times of defeat that come with dark nights and lonely times. Keep him level-headed -- not too arrogant in times of victory and not too depressed in times of defeat," remarked Bryan, who served as DA from 1978 until 1983 when Turner took over, then worked as a defense attorney until being elected judge in 2008.
Parsons' parents, grandparents and aunts made the drive from Louisiana while other relatives came in from Houston, joining members of his church, most of Parsons' 30 or so employees, a few defense attorneys and a handful of courthouse officials.
During a reception following the event, Ronald Parsons spoke not only about the pride he has as a father, but also his happiness in knowing that his 36-year-old son was elected in such a supportive community.
"As a father, you're always concerned when your child leaves your home if they're going surrounded by good people," he said. "Jarvis has always had character of integrity and doing what's right."
Like Jarvis Parsons' father, Turner said he's not concerned about his replacement's ability to effectively lead.
And though Turner said he recently took a job working as a trial lawyer in a private practice in Midland where he grew up, Turner expects he'll be "back and forth" while keeping up with the relationships he's formed while in office.
"It's just a matter of getting in there, rolling up our sleeves and keeping the ball rolling that Turner started," Parsons said later in the day Tuesday.
His first trial as the top prosecutor is set as a death penalty case that starts Monday with jury selection in the capital murder trial of Stanley Wayne Robertson, a 44-year-old College Station man.
He'll work alongside Brian Price, who was named chief prosecutor of the 361st District Court under Turner and will continue under that role.
Not many personnel changes will be made in the DA's office, he said, adding that he appointed Brian Baker as his first assistant and will keep him as trial chief over the 85th District Court.
Ryan Calvert, who was hired as an assistant DA in the fall, was selected to lead the 272nd District Court, a position Parsons formerly held.
Since securing the seat in November, the Republican said he's sat down with Turner on several occasions to discuss the administrative duties of the new job, including budgeting, personnel matters and working with other courthouse and county officials to keep the dockets moving.
"It's a different side of the office," he said of the managerial tasks. "We always learned how to try cases and prosecute criminals, work with our secretaries and on personnel matters -- merging all those is a different beast all together."
And if he finds himself at a loss, "[Turner] is always a phone call away," Parsons said.