More Resignations at the Smith County Jail
TYLER — Two persons who had been under investigation for misconduct as employees of the Smith County Jail have resigned. One resigned on Wednesday and the other resigned yesterday. This is the result of a continued internal Smith County Sheriff’s Office investigation which has been ongoing for several months. This investigation was self-reported by Sheriff Larry Smith once he learned of its existence. In addition to this internal investigation, Sheriff Smith initiated a criminal investigation through the Texas Rangers.
The investigation concerns documents required to be kept in the normal course of jail operations were being falsified. An employee who had been employed in the jail for only a few months brought the incident to the attention of supervisors once other detention officers attempted to add his name to the form and he did not participate in the required jail check. As a result of the criminal and administrative investigation, one Detention Sergeant and three Detention Officers have resigned. Then two more resigned this week. Initially, one Detention Sergeant and two Detention Officers were placed on administrative leave.
According to a news release from the sheriff’s department, “These jail check logs are documents of utmost importance which catalog the times in which particular cells within the jail were checked showing that all inmates are accounted for and are not in distress. The regular population cells are required to be checked every forty five minutes per Smith County Sheriff’s Office Policy, and the Suicide watch cells are required to be checked every ten minutes, with some suicide cells requiring constant twenty four hour watch.” These jail logs are also documentation which we are required by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards to maintain. Additionally, they are considered government documents, and entering false information into these documents constitutes a third degree felony offense.
Once Sheriff Smith was notified of the potential criminal and policy violations, he contacted District Attorney Matt Bingham to advise him of the situation and then notified the Texas Rangers to conduct an independent criminal investigation into the allegations. Sheriff Smith also reported this situation to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards upon the initial findings.
The Smith County Sheriff’s Office of Professional Responsibility Investigator initiated an internal investigation into this incident as well to parallel the Texas Ranger investigation. At this time twenty employees ranging from Detention Officer to the rank of Lieutenant have been interviewed. This investigation is ongoing at the Central Jail only at this time and is not expected to include the Low Risk Facility.
Sheriff Smith asked the Ranger and Sheriff Smith’s Office of Professional Responsibility Investigator to follow the investigation to wherever it leads them regardless of who are involved. Sheriff Smith has stated from the beginning of his term in office, “The bar is being raised, I do demand integrity, the citizens of Smith County deserve for their law enforcement officers to be ethical and of high integrity and there will be accountability”.
Apparently there have been numerous admissions as to employees entering false information into the jail documents. Numerous employees said this has been occurring for at least seven years that they know of.
Suspect Named in Smith County Shooting
WHITEHOUSE – Authorities say the suspect in a Wednesday evening Smith County shooting is Justin Towery, 30, of Whitehouse. Around 7:15pm, Smith County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies, and other assisting law enforcement officers responded to a 911 call regarding a man being shot in the head. Officers were able to approach the residence and carry the victim to a waiting ambulance. The victim was transported by EMS to a local hospital for treatment. His condition is unknown at this time.
Shortly after 7:45pm, officers were able to arrest the suspect after a brief search of the residence. Towery was transported to the Sheriff’s Office for questioning. An attempt was made to interview Towery at the time of his arrest, but he became ill and had to be transported to a local hospital for treatment. He was admitted overnight for observation and his release was pending as of Thursday afternoon. Even though Towery was admitted to a hospital, he remained in Smith County Sheriff’s Office custody with deputies at his bedside. Judge Christi Kennedy of the 241st State District Court issued the warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and set bond at $200,000. At this time the investigation is ongoing, and officials say more details will be released as they become available.
Family Continues Bid to Send Tiede Back to Prison
CARTHAGE — The family of the victim of a now freed infamous killer continues its fight to return him to prison. In the movie “Bernie,” Bernie Tiede was portrayed as a kind man who’d been pushed over the edge by his victim, 80-year-old Marjorie Nugent. Nugent’s granddaughter Shannon Nugent says he stole millions from her and shot her to death the morning she was to meet with her bank in Longview about her missing funds. She says Tiede “cleaned up the body, then went to her purse, stole her credit card, and took people out for pizza. That’s who this guy is, and…I can’t believe that anybody in Texas would want this guy out on the streets.” She says because of the amount of cash stolen, this could have been a capital murder case. She doesn’t want a retrial; she wants Tiede to serve out his life sentence behind bars.
Staples Steps Down from Ag Commissioner Post
AUSTIN — When Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples decided to forgo a third term and run for lieutenant governor, he knew it was a gamble. After he failed to win the Republican primary, this became his final term. Staples remarks, “When I was sworn in as agriculture commissioner for my second term in 2011, I knew the next few years would be a terrific ride, and it certainly has been.” Staples leaves office today to become president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association. Staples began his political career in his hometown of Palestine, serving as a state legislator before becoming ag commissioner in 2007.
Man Gets Life for Child Sex Assault
HENDERSON — A Rusk County man has been sentenced to life in prison for the aggravated sexual assault of a child. KETK reports Richard Wisdom, 43, was found guilty after 20 minutes of deliberation by a jury. He was then given the life sentence by the 4th District Court judge. Wisdom will be eligible for parole after 37 years behind bars, according to District Attorney Micheal E. Jimerson. Assistant District Attorney Kate Hegar and District Attorney Michael E. Jimerson prosecuted the case.
Ex-Husband of Missing Kilgore Woman Arrested for Assault
The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office recently arrested the ex-husband of a missing Kilgore woman for assault. KETK reports the alleged crime is unrelated to the missing person case. Authorities had been looking for Craig Deallen Davison, 49, for an arrest warrant issued in mid-October. The warrant was for an assault, family violence charge, with previous conviction. This new charge is a 3rd degree felony. The assault is believed to have taken place on or about the day he was released from jail, September 25.
Davison was taken into custody at his home on the 800 block of Roy Green Road in Longview following tips that he had been seen at the location. During his arrest, Kellie Hickman, 31, of Longview, was also taken into custody at his home for allegedly hindering apprehension. Hickman allegedly told law enforcement she did not know Davison’s location and knew nothing of his whereabouts when the arrest team went to the home. Upon discovering Davison in the house, she was also arrested and taken to Harrison County jail. Bail will be set on Friday for both suspects.
Craig Davison is considered a person of interest in the disappearance of his ex-wife, 43-year-old Christina Rae Davison, of Kilgore. The suspect was released from jail after warrants in Colorado were quashed. They were dropped once a Harrison County judge found no probable cause to hold Craig Davison on a July 29 assault family violence charge.
Suddenlink Named UT Tyler Patriot of the Year
TYLER — In honor of what’s termed their outstanding generosity and support, Suddenlink has been named The University of Texas at Tyler 2014 Patriot of the Year, UT Tyler President Rodney H. Mabry announced. According to a university news release, the UT Tyler Patriot of the Year Award recognizes the enduring contributions of an individual, couple or organization to the advancement of the university and the community.
“This communications company has been a valued friend of this university for many years,” President Mabry said. “Suddenlink’s generosity provided for several enhancements to the softball field that have helped make Suddenlink Field at UT Tyler Ballpark the finest stadium for fast-pitch softball in Texas, and possibly, in the country. We are truly grateful for the support of the Suddenlink corporate family. Because of their dedication and friendship to this institution, students will benefit for years to come.”
Section of Green Street to Reopen
LONGVIEW – Beginning next Monday, all lanes of traffic will reopen on Green Street from Cotton Street to East Whaley Street in Longview. Green Street from Cotton Street south to Nelson Street remains closed as paving and other improvements continue. This street work is part of the Downtown Parking Streetscape Improvements project approved by voters in the 2011 Capital Improvements bond package. This project consists of improvements to Green Street in the downtown area, including improvements to paving, storm sewer system, sidewalks, streetscape, and landscaping.
Dogs Get Halloween Treats from Some Texas Children
LUFKIN (AP) — Some kindergarten students in East Texas have turned Halloween into a math and science project with treats going to the dogs. The Lufkin Daily News reports that students at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal School in Lufkin created a service project called Howl-A-Ween. The project began as a measuring assignment in math. Teachers Barbara Peterson and Kim Watter also incorporated animal adaptation in science. The instructors had the students create and donate dog treats to the Winnie Berry Humane Society of Angelina County. The treats were presented in paper bags decorated with images of pumpkins and pooches.
Early Voting Sees Steady, But Not Surging Numbers
AUSTIN (AP) — If voters are overly excited about electing the first new Texas governor in 14 years and wholesale changes across state government, the turnout so far hasn’t shown it. State elections figures released Thursday show that after 10 days of early voting, turnout is roughly similar to four years ago in the biggest Texas counties. That’s despite a high-profile race between Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis and major voter registration efforts from both parties. Early voting ends Friday. Election officials cautioned that the final day of early voting typically sees bigger numbers. Nearly 1.3 million people in the state’s largest counties had cast a ballot through Wednesday. That’s slightly up from the last midterm election in 2010, but is down in terms of total percentage of registered voters.
Hillary Clinton Cheers Van de Putte’s “Bold Ideas”
AUSTIN (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton is praising the Democratic nominee for Texas lieutenant governor, Leticia Van de Putte. In a post to Van de Putte’s Facebook page Thursday, the former secretary of state said the San Antonio state senator “has bold ideas and initiatives that honor veterans, respect women and value education.” Clinton, who’s considering a 2016 White House run, added, “I am proud to call Leticia Van de Putte my friend, and more importantly, the next Lieutenant Governor of Texas.” A pharmacist when she not in the Legislature, Van de Putte is an underdog against her tea party-backed Texas Senate colleague, Houston’s Dan Patrick. A Democrat hasn’t won statewide office in Texas since 1994. But Clinton won the state’s 2008 Democratic presidential primary against Barack Obama.
5th Circuit to Hear Challenge to Health Act
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court in New Orleans has scheduled December arguments on a challenge to President Barack Obama’s health care act. In this case, opponents of the act say it is unconstitutional because it imposes a tax, and all tax bills must originate in the House. They contend that the Affordable Care Act originated in the Senate. A federal judge in Texas rejected the suit in January. U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas said that raising revenue was not the overarching purpose of the bill. She also noted that the bill did start in the House, although it was stripped of its original language and altered to include the health act in the Senate. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled arguments for December 2.
Justices Consider Texas Rape-Murder Case
WASHINGTON (AP) — A black inmate on Texas’ death row who claims he had a clandestine relationship with a white woman but did not rape or kill her wants the Supreme Court to take his case. Rodney Reed says his trial lawyers did a poor job of defending him. Reed suggests that the victim’s fiancé, a police officer now in prison for a sex crime, could have been the killer. A judge has set Reed’s execution for January 14. Reed claims he had a secret affair with Stacey Stites, yet at first he denied knowing her. That’s one of the many unusual and sometimes conflicting aspects of his case. It’s aroused passionate support from those who believe he’s innocent, and equally fervent cries that he should be put to death.
Death Row Inmate Gets Execution Date
HUNTSVILLE (AP) — A Texas death row inmate whose attorneys contend is so delusional he can’t understand why he was convicted and condemned has received an execution date. A judge in Gillespie County has signed an order setting Scott Panetti, 56, for lethal injection in Huntsville on December 3. The Hayward, Wisconsin, native has a history of mental problems and his case has been to the U.S. Supreme Court at least three times. The most recent was early this month when the justices refused to review his latest appeal. Panetti was convicted of fatally shooting his in-laws, Joe and Amanda Alvarado, at their Fredericksburg home 22 years ago in front of his estranged wife and young children. He served as his own lawyer at his trial, wearing a cowboy outfit.
Clothing with Bodies Matches Missing Texans’
MATAMOROS (AP) — The Tamaulipas state governor and prosecutor have confirmed that three Americans missing in northern Mexico for more than two weeks have been found dead near Matamoros. State Attorney General Ismael Quintanilla Acosta says the father of the three identified them from photographs of the bodies showing tattoos. Clothing found with the bodies near the border city also match that of the three siblings from Progreso, Texas, who disappeared with a fourth person. He spoke Thursday with Radio Formula. Parents of the missing youths say witnesses reported they were seized on October 13 by men dressed in police gear.
Convicted Texas Drug Dealer Gets 99 Years
FORT WORTH (AP) — A convicted drug dealer has been sentenced to 99 years in prison for selling less than an ounce of cocaine to a North Texas law enforcement officer. Nathaniel Washington was convicted of delivery of a controlled substance for the June 2012 sale to an undercover Arlington police officer. Prosecutors in Fort Worth on Thursday said Washington, with a history of drug offenses, told the officer that he could also provide marijuana and methamphetamine. Washington was busted following the $450 transaction. Jurors on Wednesday sentenced the 50-year-old Washington as a habitual offender. Records show Washington in 1990 was sentenced to 50 years in prison for dealing drugs. Washington must serve a quarter of the 99-year term before being eligible for parole.
Central Texas Coach Accused of Child Indecency
CEDAR PARK (AP) — A boys cross country coach at a Central Texas high school has been charged with three counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact. Cedar Park police arrested Timothy Sheard, 50, who was released hours later on $75,000 bond. Sheard coaches at Cedar Park High School. A spokeswoman for the Leander Independent School District says Sheard has been on paid administrative leave since September 25. Police say the investigation began last month after a former student reported an alleged sexual incident with a school employee. Police also interviewed two other former students who alleged they were victims in similar incidents since 2003. No publicly listed telephone number could immediately be located Thursday for Sheard.
One Hurt when Flames Engulf Boats Near Houston
KEMAH (AP) — One person has been injured in a fire that destroyed two boats at a marina southeast of Houston. Kemah police Chief Greg Rikard told The Galveston County Daily News that a man was working on his boat Thursday when fumes ignited. Flames engulfed the pleasure craft in addition to one docked adjacent to it. At least one other boat was damaged. Rikard said the man suffered burns to his arms and was taken to a hospital. Flames engulfed the tops of the boats at Boardwalk Marina and sent black smoke billowing into the sky before firefighters extinguished the fire. Rikard says the smoke forced two nearby businesses to evacuate.
Ebola Victim’s Fiancée Struggles to Rebuild Life
DALLAS (AP) — Louise Troh hoped to be married to Thomas Eric Duncan by now. Instead, she’s grieving after his fatal bout with Ebola and trying to help her family refocus on the future. Neither is easy. They are trying to replace their personal belongings that were incinerated when authorities decontaminated the apartment where Duncan stayed. Finding a rental home is proving hard, and Troh blames the stigma of Ebola. She says prospective landlords are treating her “like a foreigner,” even though she arrived from Liberia 17 years ago and is now a citizen. Duncan died October 8 of Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. Troh had taken the Liberian man to the hospital’s emergency room on September 26 but he was misdiagnosed with a sinus infection and sent home
Dallas Nurse Who Survived Ebola to Get Dog Back
DALLAS (AP) — A Dallas nurse who recovered from Ebola will soon be reunited with her dog, which has been sequestered since his owner became ill. The King Charles Cavalier spaniel named Bentley is in quarantine at an abandoned Navy base in Dallas. His owner, Nina Pham, was diagnosed with Ebola earlier this month. She contracted the virus while caring for a Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, who died October 8. City spokeswoman Sana Syed said Thursday that the dog has tested negative for Ebola and that his 21-day quarantine, the Ebola incubation period, ends Saturday. Pham was released from her own quarantine October 24. Syed says Pham won’t visit the dog sooner because he may become anxious if he sees her but is then left behind in isolation.
Texas Grid Booster Shirt Banned Over Rape Innuendo
ARLINGTON (AP) — A North Texas school district has banned a T-shirt sold by one of one of its high school’s football booster club after the school student newspaper questioned whether the slogan on its front was a rape innuendo. The Arlington school district banned the shirt designed by seniors on the Martin High School football team and printed by the team’s booster club. The shirt includes the slogans “We take what we want” and “Shhhhhhh, just let it happen.” The school newspaper “The Warrior Post” questioned if the slogan “connotes rape culture.” School district spokeswoman Leslie Johnson tells KXAS-TV of Fort Worth and Dallas that the booster club and coaches didn’t construe a rape message. Nevertheless, she said the team has stopped wearing the shirt.
Dallas Zoo Welcomes Baby Male Giraffe
DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Zoo has a new giraffe with the birth of a healthy male calf. Zoo officials say the reticulated giraffe already measures 6 feet tall and weighs about 120 pounds. No name has been chosen yet for the giraffe, whose birth was announced Wednesday. Zoo officials say first-time mother Chrystal gave birth on Sunday. The Dallas Zoo’s giraffe herd has grown to a dozen, with five females and seven males.
You Tell Me Texas by Paul Gleiser
When breathing becomes work, and when it’s the only work you can do, you have respiratory failure. Respiratory failure can be acute or chronic but in either case, left untreated many other health problems will soon arise. UT Health’s pulmonologist Dr. Leslie Couch discusses respiratory failure in this post to HealthConnection. Go to: http://www.uthealth.org/healthconnection/
Today in History
Today in History for 31st October 2014- Historical Events 1918 - Short-lived Banat Republic founded in territory where Romania, Hungary and Serbia meet 1922 - Karel and Josef Capék's "World We Live In" premieres in NYC 1954 - Betsy Rawls wins LPGA Texas Golf Open 1985 - Last day in Test cricket for Zaheer Abbas 1987 - 1st jockey to win 9 races in 1 day (Chris Antley at Belmont) 1994 - American Eagle ATR-72 crash down at Gary, Indiana: 6... Read more on HistoryOrb.com
Health Recipe of the Day!
Low-Fat Recipes: Slow Cooker Moose Roast
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