Meet Brandi Fernandez, the Kaufman County prosecutor filling the job of her slain boss

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The Kaufman County prosecutor who is filling the shoes of her slain boss on an interim basis is known as a top-notch prosecutor who isn’t easily rattled.

Brandi Fernandez was first assistant district attorney under Mike McLelland, who was found shot to death along with his wife, Cynthia, on Saturday, Reuters reports. Another prosecutor in the office, Mark Hasse, was fatally shot in a county parking lot on Jan. 31.

Reuters says Fernandez is “praised as a smart, tough litigator and a fierce advocate for child victims of crime.” Dallas Morning News reporter Tonya Eiserer says in a video interview that Fernandez is known as a top-notch prosecutor and great trial attorney.

Fernandez prosecuted a recent kidnapping case involving the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas in which the ringleader got an “incredibly long jail sentence,” Eiserer says. Investigators have interviewed members of the prison gang as they pursue leads and theories in the slayings.

Reuters interviewed Scott Gray, a former Sherman County prosecutor whose wife was once Fernandez’s trial partner. “She’s not the kind to appear rattled or look that way even if she is,” he said of Fernandez. “She’s very calm and collected. Don’t think I’ve ever heard her raise her voice or seem disheveled.”

Fernandez, a 1996 law graduate of Texas Tech University, holds the interim job for 21 days or until Republican Gov. Rick Perry appoints a replacement. Fernandez is receiving around-the-clock protection, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. to correct typo in governor’s name.

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