Former Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody to be tried by Travis County jury in Javier Ambler case

Photo of Robert Chody in uniform
Former Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody will be tried on evidence tampering charges by a Travis County jury. (Courtesy Williamson County)

Former Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody will be tried on evidence tampering charges by a Travis County jury. (Courtesy Williamson County)

Former Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody will be tried by a Travis County jury on charges of evidence tampering in the case of Javier Ambler II, who died in 2019 after being Tased by Williamson County Sheriff's Office deputies in Travis County.

Chody initially received indictments for tampering with physical evidence from a Williamson County grand jury in September, followed by Travis County in March. However, Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza's office announced June 2 that Williamson County will dismiss its charges against Chody due to their overlap with Travis County's. Both district attorney offices will work together to pursue the charges against Chody in Travis County; Garza swore in three special prosecutors from the Williamson County office June 2 who will aid in the cases against Chody and former sheriff's office lawyer Jason Nassour, who is being tried on related charges.

“What began as a joint investigation will continue as a joint prosecution,” Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick said in a news release. “We look forward to having all the facts being properly provided to the public through the jury trials of Mr. Chody and Mr. Nassour.”

The charges in question relate to events that took place in March 2019, when Ambler was involved in a car chase with Williamson County sheriff's office deputies after failing to dim his lights to oncoming traffic, according to county documents. The chase ended in Travis County when Ambler crashed his vehicle and was Tased four times by deputies before becoming unresponsive. His death was ruled a “justifiable homicide,” according to a report filed with the Texas attorney general’s office. In June 2020, Ambler's death received renewed attention as local and national protests for Black Lives Matter took place, spurred by the death of another Black man, Minneapolis resident George Floyd, who was murdered by police.

Dick has previously said he has proof evidence tampering occurred. He also has said "Live PD," a documentary series on the A&E Network that follows law enforcement officers, including Williamson County sheriff's deputies, while on patrol, filmed the incident with Ambler, although it never aired. The video was ultimately deleted due to a contractual clause that stipulates unused footage should be deleted after 30 days.

Two other sheriff's deputies also received indictments from Travis County in the Javier Ambler case—James Johnson and Zachary Camden, both charged with second-degree manslaughter.

A court setting for Chody's and Nassour's cases is scheduled for June 17.

“We remain committed to seeing this through on behalf of not just Javier Ambler, but also our community," Garza said in the release.
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


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