Craig Watkins Dallas Death: First elected African American lawyer died at 56

Craig Watkins Dallas Death – Craig Watkins, the first elected African-American district attorney in Texas has died. American lawyer Craig Watkins was announced dead today, Tuesday, the 12th of December 2023. He died at the age of 56. There was no cause of death reported for Craig Watkins at the time of this publication.

“I just got word that another childhood friend, classmate & football teammate has passed. Attorney Craig Watkins. Please keep his family lifted in prayer.” Thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family during this difficult time.

Craig Watkins personal life & education

Born November 16, 1967, Craig Marcus Watkins was an American lawyer. After completing his high school education at David W. Carter High School in Dallas in 1986, Watkins earned his B.A. degree in political science from Prairie View A&M University in 1990.

In 1994, he obtained his J.D. degree from the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law as a member of the inaugural graduating class. Additionally, Watkins was affiliated with the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.


Craig Watkins faced rejection three times from the Dallas County District Attorney’s office before starting his legal career in the offices of the Dallas city attorney and public defender. In 2002, he ran unsuccessfully for district attorney but secured victory in the 2006 election.

During his tenure, Watkins emphasized prosecuting child sexual abuse cases, achieving a 99.4% conviction rate. He established the nation’s first Conviction Integrity Unit, leading to the exoneration of 35 wrongfully convicted individuals. Watkins focused on resolving wrongful convictions through DNA testing and reviewing evidence withheld from defense attorneys.

Watkins was recognized as the Dallas Morning News’ 2008 Texan of the Year. Following his time as district attorney, he entered private practice, specializing in complex Federal and State Criminal Defense and Personal Injury. Despite his achievements, Watkins was defeated in the 2014 election by former Judge Susan Hawk. Throughout his career, Watkins was a member of various legal associations and earned a salary of $200,000 as of May 2012.

Obituary and Funeral arrangements for Craig Watkins have not been made by the family.

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