New Sentencing for “Bernie” Mortician
AUSTIN (AP) – Texas’ highest court has granted a new sentencing hearing for the mortician whose conviction for killing his longtime companion and storing her body in a freezer inspired the dark-comedy movie “Bernie.” Bernie Tiede was sentenced to life in prison for the 1996 shooting death of 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent. But he was released from prison earlier this year, after a lower court ruled the sentence was overly harsh. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday largely sided with Tiede. His attorneys said jurors weren’t told he felt abused by Nugent or that he was sexually abused as a child. Nugent’s family wants him returned to prison. Nugent’s body was found in a freezer in her home nine months after she went missing in Carthage.
Cause Undetermined in Winona School Fire
TYLER — The Smith County Fire Marshal announced Wednesday that after extensive review of the Old Winona School fire case, no exact cause of the fire this past Sunday could be determined. Fire Marshal Jay Brooks says investigators with his office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, assisted by the Winona Police Department and Winona Public Works Department, spent hours sifting through the debris and interviewing witnesses. But Brooks says they were unable to determine the exact cause of the fire due to the devastation of the structure and its components. At this time there is no evidence of foul play, and the building the fire originated in was secure and unoccupied at the time the fire started, Brooks said.
“We were looking at an evidence field nearly the size of a football field that had been reduced to nothing more than ashes and melted steel. While we always strive to come up with an answer to why and how fires start, sometimes it just isn’t possible,” Brooks said. The Fire Marshal’s Office says it would like to thank the property owners and the citizens of Winona for their cooperation during the investigation. “It is a devastating event for the City of Winona to lose a building with so many cherished memories for the community,” Brooks said.
Nativity Scene on Courthouse Lawn Raises Concerns
RUSK — The nativity scene holds a special place in Christians’ hearts, especially during the Christmas season. “It symbolizes life, our second chance at life, because it’s the night that Christ was born,” said Nancy Rangel, a Christian in Cherokee County. But KETK reports that for Daniel Ross, it doesn’t represent his beliefs. He is a Humanist, and emailed Cherokee County about placing a secular display adjacent to the manger scene. “I’m not offended by the nativity scene, I’m more offended by not having the opportunity to be represented, not having my belief represented here,” said Ross. “I think we’ve got a really nice display it’s very tasteful. We’ve got four entrances to this courthouse, we’re not trying to force the religion on anyone,” said Cherokee County Judge Chris Davis.
Noel Franks is a Christian who lives in Rusk and owns a business in Jacksonville. Although he wouldn’t mind a secular image on the courthouse lawn, he is tired of this yearly fight. “It bothers me, because the longer it keeps going, and if you don’t take a stand about something you believe in, the longer it keeps going, the worse it’s going to get,” said Franks.
Other than one commissioner voicing her personal opinion, the county has yet to respond directly to Ross’s request. Judge Davis also a received a letter from the Appignani Humanist Legal Center in Washington, D.C., stating the courthouse lawn is not a public forum, and the display should be taken down immediately. “Cherokee County sees no legal obligation to remove the nativity scene,” said Davis. The organization also wants written assurance the scene will never be put up again. “Hopefully this goes to a more acceptance of diversity, so that everyone will be accepting if they do allow this to be an open forum and if not, then hopefully we’ll follow the Constitution,” said Ross. “I don’t think we’re violating anyone’s rights in any way and we’re gonna continue to have this display. We’re not gonna take it down,” said Davis.
The organization “Keep Rusk Beautiful” does all the Christmas decorations downtown, including the courthouse lawn. The letter sent to Judge Davis asked him to respond within seven days.
Search Underway for Oil Field Theft Suspect
HARRISON COUNTY — An active search for an alleged oil field thief is underway in Harrison County. KETK reports authorities are looking for the suspect on FM 968. FM 968 runs between Highway 80 and I-20, about two miles southwest of Marshall. Harrison County 911 operators received a call from an oil field worker shortly before 7:00 Wednesday morning regarding the caller being run into by another vehicle on an oil field site. The caller stated he believed he had just come upon an alleged theft in progress and the vehicle that was on the well site drove into his vehicle during its escape.
Upon the arrival of deputies and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, it was discovered that the vehicle that fled was a brown or gold vehicle with 2 occupants and damage to the passenger side of the vehicle. When the driver of the feeling vehicle left, the complainant stated that the alleged left one person behind and he was still in the area on foot.
Deputies discovered a backhoe on the site with its engine running, and there was not a key in the ignition. It appeared to the officers that the backhoe had been stolen and it was determined that the backhoe is owned by Longview Road and Bridge. The backhoe had been taken from a construction project within the last few days at Loop 281 and Hwy 31 in Longview. Deputies and troopers, along with the assistance of Texas DPS Helicopter Operations, began searching for the vehicle and the person left behind.
The complainant who was struck saw the suspect vehicle on I-20 a short time after the incident and notified 911 operators that he was behind the vehicle and it contained two people. DPS troopers were in the immediate area of the suspect vehicle and made a traffic stop on the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was a white female (name withheld) who stated she was with the suspects at the well site and she was driving the vehicle from the location. She and the other occupant (name withheld) were arrested and transported to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office where they are being interviewed at this time.
The alleged suspect of the search is believed to be Randy Glezen, 48 (pictured). He is currently out on bond for a theft over $20,000 and under $100,000 that he was arrested for in July. It is believed that the suspects were attempting to use the backhoe to dig copper wire from the well site and then abandon the backhoe at the scene.
Shooting at Northeast Texas Home Leaves Teen Dead
ATLANTA, Texas (AP) – A teenage girl has been fatally shot at a Northeast Texas house and police arrested a teenage boy on a charge of criminally negligent homicide. Atlanta police Lt. Allen Williams on Wednesday declined to release names or ages of the minors, who are not related. Williams says the boy remains in juvenile custody at a detention center in Longview. Police in Atlanta received a 911 call Tuesday afternoon about a shooting at a home. Police arrived to find the girl shot. She was pronounced dead at a hospital. Officers detained the boy. Williams declined to say who called for help. Further details weren’t immediately released.
Salvation Army Offers Thanksgiving Meal
TYLER — Tyler’s Salvation Army will be serving its annual Thanksgiving meal from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Thursday at the Center of Hope, 633 N. Broadway Ave. According to a news release, many volunteers were due to gather on Thanksgiving to begin preparation for the feast. Chores include carving turkeys, chopping vegetables, and getting everything ready for the over 1,000 guests expected. An abundance of volunteers will be on site Thanksgiving Day to help serve guests and spread the love of Christ as well as the joy of this holiday season, according to the release. The Salvation Army is offering thanks to those in the Tyler community who make it possible to serve a Thanksgiving meal to so many in the community.
Methvin Street Closure Shifts Friday as Work Progresses
LONGVIEW — This Friday, Methvin Street in Longview will close to traffic between High and Center. This will begin Phase 2 of the proposed Methvin Street Improvements. Construction should last approximately four months, according to officials. The closure follows the reopening of Methvin Street between Green Street and Fredonia Street by the end of the day Wednesday. That reopening completes Phase 1 of the Methvin Street Improvement Project.
The purpose of the closure is to continue to reconstruct the section of the downtown road with streetscape improvements as well as replace the utilities, according to a city news release. This project was approved as part of the 2011 Street Improvements bond package and is being constructed by East Texas Bridge of Longview. If you have any questions related to construction, call City Engineer Alton Bradley at 903-237-1067.
Nine Arrested in Online Solicitation Cases
RICHMOND, Texas (AP) – Nine adults have been charged in a Houston-area online investigation involving children allegedly solicited for sex. The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday announced the arrests after officers went online to pose as minors. Four men are charged with attempted sexual assault of a child and online solicitation of a minor. Five other people face charges of possession or promotion of child pornography. Fort Bend County deputies and officers from other agencies followed up after a teen in October told her mother that she was assaulted last summer by someone she met via social media. That led to the arrest of a 41-year-old Houston man.
$1.8M Verdict Upheld in “American Sniper” Case
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – A judge has rejected a request from the widow of “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle to order a new trial or toss a jury’s verdict in favor of former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. Ventura was awarded $1.8 million in a defamation lawsuit that alleged Kyle made up claims in his book about punching Ventura after he made offensive comments about Navy SEALS at a California bar in 2006. Ventura says it never happened. Both men are former SEALs. The lawsuit was allowed to continue after Kyle, considered the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, died last year in Texas. Attorneys for his widow, Taya Kyle, say laws and trial evidence didn’t support the jury’s award. But the federal judge who presided over the trial ruled Wednesday that “substantial evidence” supported the verdict.
Mexican Mafia Suspect Arrested, 3 Bodies Recovered
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – A suspected Mexican Mafia lieutenant faces a racketeering-related charge after telling officers where to find the bodies of three fellow gang members. Prosecutors in San Antonio say 36-year-old Ruben Reyes was arrested Wednesday and charged with using and discharging a firearm during a violent crime. Mark Anthony Bernal, Carlos Chapa and Johnny Solis turned up missing in January. Prosecutors allege Reyes shot the trio over mishandling $60,000 and poor decisions about Mexican Mafia operations. Reyes was shot Nov. 9 by attackers who then fled. Prosecutors say Reyes on Nov. 14 contacted San Antonio police about gang activity, including where to find the bodies of Bernal, Chapa and Solis. The remains were unearthed Nov. 19 in Pearsall.
Texas Protests Against Missouri Grand Jury Decision
DALLAS (AP) — Seven people have been arrested while blocking some downtown Dallas roads to protest a white police officer not charged in the fatal shooting of a black man in Ferguson, Missouri. Dallas police say nobody was hurt in the demonstrations that ended early Wednesday. A police statement says protests that began Tuesday night were mainly peaceful. Interstate 35 in downtown Dallas was briefly closed in both directions when some demonstrators walked on the highway. Police say seven people who refused to leave were charged with misdemeanor obstructing a highway or other passageway, I-35 East. A seventh person was charged with a sidewalk use violation, as a pedestrian in the roadway in another area.
Dozens March in Houston to Protest Brown Decision
HOUSTON (AP) — About 100 demonstrators chanting demonstrators marched in the streets near the University of Houston campus to protest a Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer who shot an unarmed black man. The St. Louis County grand jury decision came Monday in the police shooting of Michael Brown. The demonstrators marched along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard south of downtown Houston, occasionally blocking traffic along the busy street Tuesday afternoon. Police say that despite occasional traffic disruptions, the demonstration was peaceful.
Prosecutor’s Investigator Indicted in Comic Book Theft
HOUSTON (AP) – A grand jury in Harris County has indicted an investigator in the county prosecutor’s office on felony theft charges. The FBI says Dustin Deutsch and his former partner stole rare comic books worth hundreds of thousands of dollars while working on an embezzlement case. The other man has pleaded guilty to federal charges and is waiting for his sentence.
Texas Death Row Inmate Reed Execution Delayed
BASTROP (AP) – A judge has declined to approve additional DNA testing of evidence in the case of Texas death row inmate Rodney Reed. Judge Doug Shaver on Tuesday delayed Reed’s scheduled execution from Jan. 14 to March 5. Officials await results from other DNA testing of evidence that was approved last summer. Reed was condemned for the 1996 slaying of a Bastrop County resident, Stacey Stites. Her body was found dumped along a road. Reed’s 1998 conviction hinged largely on the fact that his semen was found on the victim’s body. Attorneys for the Innocence Project have pushed for DNA testing of additional evidence. Prosecutors say requests for expanded testing could have been submitted sooner and maintain it’s just an attempt to delay Reed’s execution.
You Tell Me Texas by Paul Gleiser
Many in the commentariat are saying that it would have been better if Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson had been indicted and brought to trial even if ultimately exonerated at trial. This is flatly wrong. Read More | Visit The You Tell Me Texas Blog
Ebola made the news in a big way in the early fall of 2014, but it is by no means the only serious infectious disease about which we should be concerned. In this post to HealthConnection.TV, UT Health Northeast infectious disease expert Dr. Jeana Benwill answers questions an explores the topic of dangerous infectious diseases. Go to: http://www.uthealth.org/healthconnection/
Today in History
Today in History for 26th November 2014- Historical Events 1933 - Camille Chautemps becomes French premier 1953 - KBOI (now KBCI) TV channel 2 in Boise, ID (CBS) begins broadcasting 1962 - Caribbean Air Transport Me NV (CLTM Airlines) forms 1982 - Howard Cossell calls his last fight after being disgusted by Larry Holmes-Tex Cobb mismatch 1982 - Clyde King named Yankee manager 1984 - After 518 goals and 14 years with Mont Canadiens, Guy L... Read more on HistoryOrb.com
Health Recipe of the Day!
Low-Fat Recipes: Green Tomato Relish
4.84 / 5 Stars | 142 Reviews
by Linda McDaniel
"This delicious, tangy relish of green tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and spices, is perfect with sandwiches, potatoes, cheese, and lots of other entrees."