Jury Selection Postponed in Upshur County Capital Murder Trial
GILMER — Jury selection set for Monday for a capital murder trial in Upshur County has been postponed until April. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report jury selection for Jonathan Ray Shepherd’s trial will now be held April 13. District Attorney Billy Byrd said Friday that new evidence came in this week, forcing the delay. Shepherd is charged with capital murder in the Sept. 26, 2013, shooting death of 29-year-old Cheyenne Green at a Gilmer sub-varsity football game. A witness told police the two were arguing about custody of their child.
Man Executed in 1996 Tyler Slaying
HUNTSVILLE (AP/Staff) – 57-year-old Robert Ladd was executed Thursday night in Huntsville after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stop the execution. Ladd was convicted of strangling and beating Vickie Ann Garner, 38, before setting her body on fire in her Tyler apartment in 1996. Lawyers claimed he was mentally impaired. Ladd had pleaded guilty in 1980 to a similar slaying in Dallas, where a woman’s body was burned in a blaze that also killed her two children. Although he received a 40-year prison term, he was paroled after serving only about a third of his sentence. Ladd’s attorneys said juvenile records show that a psychiatrist determined a 13-year-old Ladd had an IQ of only 67 and that he couldn’t fully function on his own.
Kilgore Police Arrest Two on Drug Charges
KILGORE — Residents at 303 West North Street got an early, unexpected wakeup call from Kilgore police officers Friday morning. According to KETK, officers had a warrant in hand to search the residence for drugs. The Criminal Investigation Unit had received information about a person or persons at the residence allegedly dealing crack cocaine. Narcotics Investigator Chitwood opened a case on the residence and soon determined a large amount of crack cocaine was in fact being sold, according to police. Read more …
Traffic Stop Leads to Manhunt, Arrest
TYLER — A traffic stop led to a manhunt and ended in an arrest Thursday night in Tyler. According to KETK, officers say they pulled the man over around 7:45 near the intersection of Mineola Highway and Loop 323. After stopping the car, the man reportedly got out of the vehicle and ran into some nearby woods. After an hour-long search, officers found and arrested him, according to police. The police department hasn’t released the suspect’s name or any motive he may have had for allegedly running from officers.
Mexican National Indicted in Sexual Assault of Young Teen
LONGVIEW — A Mexican national living in Kilgore has been indicted by a Gregg County grand jury this week for the alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl in the Kilgore area. KETK reports Jose Sandoval, 32, was taken into custody on November 10, 2014, by Gregg County deputies. Officials say Sandoval also had misdemeanor traffic warrants out of Kilgore for no driver’s license and no insurance. The suspect is currently being held in the Gregg County Jail on an Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) detainer.
Kilgore PD Seeks Person of Interest in Murder Investigation
KILGORE — The Kilgore Police Department is currently searching for Marcus Demois Whitaker, 35, of Kilgore. KETK reports Whitaker is considered a person of Interest in the shooting death of Franciosa Jackson on December 28, 2014, in Kilgore. Whitaker is currently wanted by Texas Pardons and Parole for an alleged parole violation stemming from a burglary charge in Gregg County. Whitaker should be considered armed and dangerous and the public should not attempt to approach or apprehend him, according to officials. Read more …
Tyler ISD Foundation Marks 25th Anniversary
TYLER — 2015 marks the Tyler ISD Foundation’s 25th anniversary, and the milestone was celebrated Thursday during a luncheon at Willow Brook Country Club. Speakers included Tyler ISD Board President Rev. Orenthia Mason, TISD Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford, TISD Foundation President Marc Loredo (pictured), and TISD Foundation Executive Director Maya Bethany. One of the organization’s founding directors, former mayor Barbara Bass, delivered an address as well. The celebration was also the kickoff for the Foundation’s 2015 Annual Fund Campaign. Read more …
Wanted Sex Offender Captured in Marshall
MARSHALL — A man wanted for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender was captured at a Marshall home Thursday afternoon. According to KETK, the Marshall Police Department says at 12:45 p.m., officers searched a house in the 1800 block of South Street in an attempt to locate a wanted felon. Police found Damon Covington, 36, inside the home. The suspect had been wanted for over two years. Covington is required to register annually as a sex offender because he had sexually assaulted a juvenile. The suspect also had an outstanding Marshall PD warrant for assault family violence with previous conviction and also a warrant out of Harrison County for criminal non-support.
BBB Announces Award, Scholarship Recipients
TYLER — The Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas held its 2015 Awards Ceremony Wednesday at The Ornelas Activity Center in Tyler. The organization presented the BBB Awards for Excellence to three companies and one nonprofit organization that exemplify ethical behavior and display integrity in all aspects of their operations, according to a news release. Winners are chosen by an independent panel of judges. “Today more than ever it’s necessary that we spotlight and celebrate companies in our region who operate with integrity in all aspects of their operations,” according to Mechele Agbayani Mills, president and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. Read more …
Senate Passes Bill Approving Keystone XL Oil Pipeline
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The 62-36 vote on Thursday advanced a top priority of the newly empowered GOP, which championed the legislation despite a presidential veto threat. Keystone is the first of many battles with the White House over energy and the environment. The measure fell short of the threshold needed to override a veto. It also needs to be reconciled with the House version. The bill authorizes construction of the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline to carry oil primarily from Canada’s tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries. It runs through eastern Smith County. Critics argue the $8 billion project would spell disaster for global warming. Supporters call it a jobs bill that would boost energy security.
Perry Attorneys Again Seek Dismissal of Felony Case
AUSTIN (AP) – Former Gov. Rick Perry’s legal team for the third time is seeking to have felony abuse-of-power charges against him quashed. Attorneys filed a motion Friday raising minor but potentially key legal issues about the case. That came three days after state Judge Bert Richardson refused to void the matter on constitutional grounds. Richardson ruled it was premature to determine constitutionality. He previously refused to toss the case on technicalities. But the judge also raised concerns about the language of the indictments. Perry’s attorneys seized on that to file their latest motion to dismiss the case. They also are appealing Richardson’s decision letting the case continue to an Austin-based appeals court. Perry left office Jan. 20 but plans to announce as soon as May an expected run for president.
Jury Dismissed in Veterans Parade Crash Trial
MIDLAND (AP) – A Midland judge says jurors have been dismissed and motions are pending in the trial involving people who were hurt or whose family members died when a freight train struck a veterans parade float. State District Judge Rodney Satterwhite said Friday that presiding State District Judge James Rush told him the panel was dismissed Thursday and that Rush plans to rule on motions Monday. Lubbock civil attorney Ted Liggett, who is not involved in the trial, said such a move could mean a mistrial or a case dismissal. Messages seeking comment from Rush, attorneys for Union Pacific Railroad and the 17 plaintiffs’ attorneys were not immediately returned Friday. The 2012 crash killed four veterans and injured about a dozen. 26 people reached a confidential settlement this month with Union Pacific.
Abbott Urges Civility after Lawmaker’s Muslim Remarks
AUSTIN (AP) – Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says “we must have civil discourse” after a freshman Texas lawmaker instructed her staff to ask visiting Muslims to declare their allegiance to America. Abbott on Friday didn’t specifically mention Republican state Rep. Molly White. She drew widespread criticism Thursday after putting an Israeli flag in her Capitol office and telling aides they should ask Muslims to renounce Islamic terrorist groups. White publicized her plans on Facebook before hundreds of Muslims arrived at the Capitol for their biennial lobbying day. Abbott said Texas values are “strong enough to have an open debate” when asked about White’s actions. Republican House Speaker Joe Straus has made a more pointed rebuke. He said legislators have a responsibility to treat visitors with “dignity and respect” without calling out White directly.
George P. Bush Adds Star Power to School Choice Rally
AUSTIN (AP) – New Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush lent star power to a rally supporting school vouchers and charter school proposals that previously stalled in the Legislature. Bush told a gathering outside the state Capitol on Friday that “some schools don’t work and refuse to change.” His office oversees the nation’s largest educational endowment, which helps fund school districts statewide. Organizers promised the “largest-ever” rally on the issue, but fewer than 1,000 supporters showed. Last session, Texas lawmakers overhauled education, including drastically expanding charter schools. New Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other top conservatives say vouchers, which funnel state money to private schools, are a top priority. But they may face long odds. Such proposals have previously failed amid bipartisan support to keep public funding with public schools.
State-Appointed Board Closes School Sanders Co-Founded
DALLAS (AP) – The Texas education commissioner says the North Texas academy co-founded by NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders remains in financial disarray and will close immediately. Commissioner Michael Williams says in a statement that a state-appointed board of managers voted Friday to close the Dallas and Fort Worth campuses of Prime Prep Academy. Williams says the hope was that the charter could survive through the academic year, but “the financial resources simply aren’t there.” He says the “upheaval” of finding other schools for hundreds of students could have been avoided had academy leaders earlier “acknowledged their financial issues.” An administrative judge earlier this week granted a default judgment that effectively revoked the school’s state charter. The academy was awarded the charter in 2011 and it opened to students a year later.
Gov. Abbott Declares Feb. 2 “Chris Kyle Day” in Texas
AUSTIN (AP) – Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says he is declaring Feb. 2 as “Chris Kyle Day” in Texas to honor the late U.S. serviceman whose life is depicted in the blockbuster film “American Sniper.” Abbott made the announcement Friday while speaking to a Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Austin. Hundreds of veterans in a hotel ballroom greeted the news with a standing ovation. Kyle’s hometown was the Fort Worth suburb of Midlothian. He was 37 when he was killed in 2013 at a North Texas gun range. A former Marine charged in his death goes on trial in Stephenville next month. Abbott said the state will commemorate Kyle’s life on Monday. Kyle did four tours in Iraq and is considered to be the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history.
Judge: Funeral Home Wrongly Sold Lee Harvey Oswald’s Casket
FORT WORTH (AP) – A judge says the original casket in which Lee Harvey Oswald was buried belongs to Oswald’s brother, not the funeral home that auctioned it off for more than $87,000. Oswald’s brother, Robert, had sued Baumgardner Funeral Home after it sold the pine coffin for $87,468 in 2010. A Tarrant County judge on Friday ordered the funeral home to pay the same amount of money in damages to Robert Oswald, saying its conduct was “malicious and wanton.” Lee Harvey Oswald, accused of assassinating President John F. Kennedy, was fatally shot during a jail transfer two days after Kennedy’s death. His body was exhumed in 1981, but the casket was too damaged for reburial. The lawsuit says Oswald’s family thought the casket had been thrown away but was actually kept in storage.
Monkey Removed from San Antonio Home after Biting Banker
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – A diaper-wearing monkey named Louie has been put into quarantine for 30 days after biting a San Antonio banker during an outing with his owner. Officials with Animal Care Services in San Antonio say the owner faces fines of up to $2,000 for having the year-old Macaque. San Antonio law bars primates within the city limits. Agency officials say Louie was removed from a San Antonio home on Thursday. Officials say the exotic monkey was on a leash last week at a bank, but the owner allegedly allowed the animal to interact with the humans before the worker was bitten. The owner has to pay for Louie’s month of care and testing for rabies. Further details on the bank employee weren’t immediately available.
You Tell Me Texas by Paul Gleiser
Despite the fact that there are vaccines that are very effective against most types of pneumonia, every year millions get sick from the disease and about 40,000 die. At HealthConnection.TV, UT Health Northeast physician assistant Gerry Brown answers questions and clears up confusion regarding pneumonia vaccine. Go to: http://www.uthealth.org/healthconnection/
Today in History
Today in History for 30th January 2015- Historical Events 1933 - "Lone Ranger" begins a 21-year run on ABC radio 1952 - Paul Creston's 4th Symphony, premieres 1983 - Super Bowl XVII: Wash Red Skins beat Miami Dolphins, 27-17 in Pasadena Super Bowl MVP: John Riggins, Washington, RB 1993 - 100,000 Europeans demonstrate against fascism and racism 1995 - Kevin Eubanks officially becomes band leader of "Tonight Show" 1998 - All-Star Fla Marl... Read more on HistoryOrb.com
Health Recipe of the Day!
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