Channel 2 Investigates troubled deputy's new job

By Debbie Strauss - Special Projects Producer, Mario Diaz - Reporter

HOUSTON - Friday night's "Dateline" focused on the story of Sandra Melgar, convicted of killing her husband.

Now, Channel 2 Investigates digs deeper into a central figure in that case -- homicide investigator Shawn Carrizal.

His controversial conduct at the Harris County District Attorney's Office led to his resignation -- and later, his termination by the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

But now, Channel 2 Investigates has found Carrizal working at another police department.

And Carrizal's new employer may have overlooked crucial information before giving him the job.

Bayou Vista has a population of 1,612. It's quiet canal living in Galveston County. Their bustling downtown -- a city hall, fire department and police station.

Twelve officers strong, including Shawn Carrizal and his dad, Ruben.

Shawn was sworn in back in 2016. He is a former homicide investigator at the Harris County District Attorney's Office and at the Sheriff's Office. He worked on high-profile cases, like the case of Melgar, convicted of murdering her husband.

Police said her husband was found dead after Melgar staged a home invasion.

But a scandal surrounding Shawn's conduct on a different murder investigation put dozens of cases in jeopardy.

Melgar's daughter was convinced it would have an effect on her mom's trial, as she told "Dateline."

Dennis Murphy/Dateline Correspondent: Did your lawyers tell you, "This thing may never go to trial here. This thing has got so many holes in it"?

Lizz Rose: That's what we believed. Absolutely.

As Channel 2 Investigates first exposed, Shawn was recommended for termination from the DA's office in 2014.

An internal investigation found he backdated a search warrant in a road rage homicide case -- after first executing it without a judge's signature.

Shawn was allowed to resign instead of being fired.

Days later, he got a job as a Harris County Sheriff's Office homicide investigator. But after less than a year, the sheriff fired Shawn after learning he lied on his employment application, failing to disclose he'd been under investigation while working for the DA.

"I know he had a couple of problems in Harris County," said Chief Jimmie Gillane with the Bayou Vista Police Department.

Gillane was not the head of Bayou Vista police when Shawn applied to work alongside his dad. But Gillane did have a vital role in the hiring process. He said there were no issues.

"He was very open with us about it in the interview," Gillane said.

But Gillane admits the hiring process lacked paperwork. Like a personnel file that includes his work history at both the Sheriff's Office and DA's office. It's more than 100 pages long and includes details on his lies.

Mario Diaz: Have you ever seen this before?

Chief Gillane: From Harris County? No, sir. I called and requested it. I drove up there, they didn't have it. The day I called and requested it, the lady confirmed, "Yes he was employed here," and "Yes, he was recommended for termination."

Channel 2 Investigates obtained the file through a Public Information Act request.

"I hadn't seen that document up until now," Gillane said.

When it came time to start fresh at Bayou Vista, the chief said Shawn came clean.

"He brought it all out, so we were OK with it," Gillane said.

But did Shawn truly lay it all on the table?

Channel 2 Investigates obtained a copy of Shawn's employment application with the Bayou Vista Police Department.

Under disciplinary actions: in the matter of backdating a search warrant, Shawn wrote he "was cleared with no wrong doing (no action)."

But remember, the district attorney recommended termination, allowing him to resign instead.

Mario Diaz: The first page of your police department's manual, discusses integrity...

Chief: Yes, sir.

Mario: It's the foundation to your police department ... but in here, we find multiple lies ... are those the characteristics of someone with integrity?

Chief: He's been an exemplary employee here.

Mario: Are you saying Shawn Carrizal is a man of integrity?

Chief: I'm saying, since he's been working here? Yes. What he did prior to this? I can't answer for. What he has done since he's been here? Yes.

And Bayou Vista's mayor endorses him too.

"I still support him 100 percent, yes, sir," Mayor Daniel Konyha said. "I saw no need to not give the gentleman a second chance."

While this might have you shaking your head, we've learned Shawn has another job -- working with children, teaching law enforcement in Galena Park ISD.

Galena Park ISD sent this statement:

"Galena Park ISD checks references and completes background checks on all applicants being considered for employment. The district confirms that a hiring review was completed at the time Mr. Carrizal applied for employment with the district in July 2017.

"In reviewing Mr. Carrizal's application and subsequent background and reference checks, our Human Resources personnel and campus administrators determined he met the eligibility and qualification standards for the position to which he was hired. His performance in the classroom to date also indicates he is capable of fulfilling the duties of a Law Enforcement teacher in our district.

"As we would with any employee, Galena Park ISD will review new information reported to our district and investigate allegations, as needed, to determine if further action is warranted regarding personnel."

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