Man sentenced for 1989 sexual assault

ODESSA, Tx. (KOSA) -- A man who had previously been accused of murdering a girl in 1989 has now been charged with sexual assault.

Thompson Stricklen was on trial for sexually assaulting 15-year-old Wendy Burdette back in 1989.

According to the Ector County District Attorney's Office, Stricklen pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to serve four years in prison.

Stricklen was arrested in 2015 after an investigator with the Odessa Police Department opened the cold case file of the murder of Burdette.

A trial was held in 2018 but it was eventually declared a mistrial after nine jurors voted not guilty and three jurors voted guilty.

The DA's Office states that the State of Texas was planning to retry Stricklen when the lead detective in the case was terminated from OPD for policy violations and dishonesty. It was then impossible to retry.

The state then had Stricklen plead guilty to the sexual assault as it was the only charge that could still be proven.

The DA's Office says that the family of Burdette understood and supported the decision.