There will be a new face in the lead chair of the Ellis County and District Attorney's Office on Jan. 1, 2021, as Patrick Wilson announced Tuesday night that he will not seek re-election.

He will also retire from criminal prosecution when his current four-year term ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

Wilson was first elected to his position as the Ellis County and District Attorney in November 2012. He ran unopposed and replaced longtime county attorney Joe Grubbs. Wilson then won re-election in November 2016, again running unopposed in the general election.

Wilson has been employed by the Ellis County and District Attorney's Office for nearly 22 years, first serving as an assistant prosecutor. 

In his announcement, Wilson stated that he has "seen enough of the ugly side of our world" and noted that the time has come for him to "write a new chapter."

"Much has changed in the past quarter century," Wilson stated in the announcement. "Society has changed. My profession has changed. I have changed. It is my honor and privilege to serve the State of Texas and the citizens of Ellis County."

Wilson began his announcement by detailing an encounter at a local gym over two years ago. He stated that a woman with a familiar face approached him, stated her name and that he "immediately recalled" the connection — his office had prosecuted her husband's killer.

"After our brief exchange, I sat on a bench and caught my breath as I was struck by a powerful epiphany," Wilson stated. "I felt so much emotion as I realized that I was exhausted from knowing people only because of the terrible things that befall them. That is the nature of my job."

He then jumped to this time last year when he sat at his desk and felt as though he'd been "brutally punched" by sorrowful recognition that the entire day was built around cases that involved the "rape and murder of children."

"It was almost more than I could bear," Wilson continued. "I could recount numerous other, similar anecdotes from the past few years. I have spent more than 25 years, and my entire adult life, in the criminal justice field. For more than 21 of these years I have been a prosecutor."

Wilson ended his announcement by noting his family, friends and colleagues are not surprised by the decision.

"I have long been open to them about my desire to explore a new path in life. I am incredibly proud to have dedicated a career to seeking justice for others," Wilson concluded. "But life is too short to spend it all in the darkness. I am excited about stepping into the light and enjoying the beauty of life with my family and friends. Until then, I will continue to lead my dedicated team of attorneys, investigators, and staff, to see that justice is done for our community."