TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Smith County District Attorney’s Office is recusing itself from prosecuting Phillip Hayes who was allegedly caught trying to solicit a prostitute.

According to Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman, they wanted to recuse themselves so they didn’t create a conflict of interest with this case.

Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd was appointed to the case instead.

Hayes worked as the lead defense attorney for William Davis’ capital murder trial. Davis was accused of killing patients at the hospital where he worked as a nurse.

Hayes was allegedly caught trying to solicit a prostitute during the month-long trial.

According to judicial records, Phillip Hayes was arrested Friday, Nov. 5, and released after posting a $2,000 bond. However, an arrest warrant obtained by KETK News reveals that an undercover deputy for the Smith County’s Sheriff’s Office posing as a prostitute made contact with Hayes in a text message.

The warrant says that the sheriff’s office “posted advertisements on a website commonly used for human trafficking and prostitution.”

Hayes began to text the undercover officer on Oct. 5 between 3:13 p.m. and 5:59 p.m. This would have been the sixth day of testimony for the prosecution.

Detectives identified Hayes by searching his telephone number through law enforcement databases. It also revealed that he drove a 2020 black Land Rover Defender.

The warrant alleges that Hayes texted the officer to meet at a predetermined location at 6 p.m. and agreed to pay $110. The warrant did not specify where he asked to meet.

Deputies took Hayes into custody and took him away for an interview. The department decided that since Hayes was in the middle of the trial, an arrest warrant would be issued at a later date.

Davis was convicted of capital murder by a Smith County jury on Oct. 19 and he was sentenced to death on Oct. 27.