2022 DA awards

Assistant District Attorney Dale Evans, Assistant Victim/Witness Coordinator Shannon Welch, Assistant District Attorney Carlin Hess, 21st Judicial District Attorney General Kim Helper.

Four members of the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office were recognized for their work at the 2022 Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference in October.

Assistant District Attorney Carlin Hess, Assistant Victim/Witness Coordinator Shannon Welch, and Paralegal and Assistant Victim/Witness Coordinator Anne Margaret Weishaar were each honored with the President’s Award at the 2022 Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference for “exceptional performance.”

Hess was recognized for his work prosecuting the case of Ashley Kroese, who was convicted of vehicular homicide in February for the 2020 crash that killed Brentwood Police Officer Destin Legieza. 

“During the trial, ADA Hess’ intellect, trial preparation, and style were embraced by the jury,” 21st Judicial District Attorney General Kim R. Helper, who nominated him for the award, said in a news release. “His work as a DUI prosecutor early in his career provided the necessary background for this case.”

Welch and Weishaar were also recognized for their work throughout the criminal case against Kroese, providing support to the Legieza family and many more members of the community.

“Both women worked together to make sure every member of the victim’s family was informed and had support throughout the trial,” Helper said. “I can’t say enough about the work of Shannon and Anne Margaret on this case.”

“This award is a tremendous and humbling honor, one I’d like to share with the Tennessee Highway Patrol for its professional and thorough investigation, and our victim/witness team, who helped manage an impossibly emotional journey for the victims of this senseless act,” Hess said. “Brentwood Police Officer Destin Legieza was loved by so many, and he dedicated his life to the service of others. His memory will always resonate throughout this office and throughout our entire community.”

BPD Chief Richard Hickey told The News in an email that Hess, Welch and Weishaar all played “immeasurable" roles in the BPD community’s ability to cope and heal from the loss of Legieza.

“His [Hess] preparation, confidence, and attention to detail were on display throughout this event, and it was evident very early on in the process that we were in the most capable hands available,” Hickey said. “I know that he prepared for months for this trial, and his hard work was evident with every motion and testimony. At every turn of the trial and sentencing, we never had anything but full confidence in Carlin. The way he, Shannon, and Anne Margaret dealt with Destin’s family and our department family during the trial was just tremendous.”

ADA Dale Evans was also recognized at the conference where he earned the DUI Prosecutor of the Year Award.

Helper nominated Evans for his work in providing training for law enforcement agencies on best practices for driving under the influence investigations, participating in the misdemeanor DUI court, and for his willingness to be a resource for his colleagues across the state.

“General Evans has developed policies and procedures for vehicular homicides/assaults to assure that the cases move forward in a timely manner and victims and their families are provided with consistent updates on the case progress,” Helper said.