Wife gets protective order against husband accused in the Fort Worth death of her father

·3 min read
Courtesy: McClatchy Co.

The wife of John Birdwell, who is accused in the killing of her father, filed paperwork for a protective order against her husband the same day as his arrest on Thursday, according to Tarrant County family court records.

Birdwell’s wife filed the application and a temporary protective order was issued pending a hearing, according to court records.

John Birdwell, 38, was arrested Thursday in connection with the death of Dr. Robert Bearden, who died on the night of Aug. 13 at a Fort Worth hospital.

Birdwell is accused of head-butting the veterinarian three times at Woody’s Tavern in Fort Worth on the night of Aug. 12 as the two got into an argument over Birdwell not signing divorce papers for Bearden’s daughter, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Bearden, 66, was on the staff at VCA Mercedes Place Animal Hospital in Benbrook, according to the animal hospital’s website.

Bearden’s daughter filed for divorce on Nov. 10, 2021, according to court records.

Family court records showed that there were few motions or activity in court over the divorce for several months.

But earlier this month, records indicated that a pretrial conference was scheduled between Birdwell and his wife for Nov. 29.

A first amended petition for divorce also was filed Thursday, according to family court records.

A hearing on the protective order is scheduled for early September.

In Bearden’s death, Birdwell faces a charge of injury to an elderly person with intent/serious bodily injury, according to jail records. He was released on bond early Friday morning.

A warrant written by Fort Worth Detective M. Sones and obtained by the Star-Telegram provided these details:

Bearden had been unhappy with Birdwell for stalling the divorce process. The doctor had asked his son-in-law several times to sign the divorce papers.

A witness at Woody’s Tavern told police that the doctor and his son-in-law were arguing about the divorce, but Bearden was not aggressive. At some point, Birdwell violently grabbed Bearden and head-butted him three times, the witness said. The two fell, and Bearden was knocked unconscious and began bleeding from head injuries.

An 18-second video from Woody’s Tavern captured the attack, according to the warrant.

Birdwell moved to get on top of the unconscious veterinarian and tried to hit him again, but several patrons moved quickly and pulled Birdwell off, the warrant states.

Before Fort Worth police officers arrived, Birdwell started to leave the bar, but another witness tried to stop him from leaving. Birdwell bit the witness on the chest and left the scene, the warrant states.

When they arrived at Woody’s Tavern, at 4744 Bryant Irvin Road, police found Bearden, who was conscious, but he was bleeding from more than one location on his head. He was disoriented and confused, according to the warrant.

Bearden died at 7:50 p.m. Saturday at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office website. His cause of death was blunt head trauma and it was a homicide, according to the medical examiner.

This report contains information from the Star-Telegram’s archives.