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Deputies release photos of person of interest in Austin lawyer’s death


Investigators released photos of person of interest, but no name, on Saturday.

James Short, 74, remembered by colleagues as professional, cordial.

Sheriff’s investigators released photos Saturday of a man they call a person of interest in the death of Austin defense attorney James Short, whose body was found at his home in southwestern Travis County on Friday.

Investigators have said they believe Short, 74, was targeted, and that the person of interest might be driving a tan 1999 Chevrolet Suburban with the Texas license plate DRW-3438.

Deputies got a call at 11:45 a.m. Friday from someone who asked them to check on Short’s home in the 8000 block of Rockwood Circle, off U.S. 290, said Kristen Dark, sheriff’s spokeswoman.

Deputies say Short’s death is suspicious, and that evidence at the scene leads them to believe that he didn’t die of natural causes, but they have released few other details about the case.

According to his page on the Texas Bar Association website, Short earned his law degree in 1984 from Texas Southern University and has been licensed to practice law in the state since 1988.

Randall Slagle, Travis County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2, said he met Short 11 years ago when Slagle was starting his career as a prosecutor.

“Jim was always very friendly, honest and professional. I never heard him speak ill of anyone,” Slagle said. “He loved to tell stories to anyone who would listen. He would give frequent updates about his adventures at his ranch. Jim was a very friendly face whom I will greatly miss seeing.”

Charlie Baird, a defense attorney and former state district judge, said Short appeared before him many times and was “the consummate professional — always prepared and courteous to everyone.”

“Jim Short was a true gentleman and respected member of the bar,” Baird said. “His death is a tragic loss to the legal community.”

Authorities are asking anyone who sees the man in the photos or the Suburban to call 911 immediately and not attempt to approach him. Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Travis County sheriff’s office tip line at 512-854-1444 or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-8477.

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