Local News

Elderly Couple Killed in Morning House Fire Identified

fire_photo_2SMITH COUNTY — An early morning house fire claimed the lives of an elderly couple and their five pets. They’ve been identified as Robert Rockett, 71, and his wife, Debbie, 67. The fire started around 6:00 this morning in the 11200 block of County Road 2206, near Chapel Hill. According to KETK, investigators said the blaze started in the kitchen. The officials cause of the fire has not been determined.

Court Dropped CPS Case Against Smith County Father

258835078691TYLER — A Child Protective Services case against an East Texas father whose daughter died after being locked in a hot car last summer has been dropped. According to Shari Pulliam, Public Information Officer for CPS, Russel Lindstrom will no longer have to submit to testing or evaluations by CPS because Lindstrom’s wife and younger daughter, Zoey, moved out of state. According to KETK, Pulliam says because the child no longer resides in Texas, they no longer have a child to protect. (more…)

Arrests Made in Smith County Burglary Ring

Smith County Sheriffs DeptTYLER – Multiple vehicle burglaries may have been solved with the arrest of three suspects. The burglaries were first reported in the Flint area earlier this month. Charged with theft over $1,500 and under $20,000 are Tyrell Deshaun Choice and Triston Travon Hudson. Charged with credit/debit card abuse is Ahteuhna Taylor. All three are from Tyler. Bonds on each were set at $500,000. (more…)

Tyler Man Going to Prison for Murder

Katyron Jermaine BarrettTYLER – A Tyler man has been sentenced to prison for murder. Pleading guilty Friday was Katyron Jermaine Barrett, 29. After pleading guilty to the shooting death of Brandon Deroyce Grey, 30, Barrett was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Grey was shot December 21, 2014, at the Wild Bunch Club, 1714 North Palace. He later died at Mother Frances Hospital. Barrett was arrested in the case two days later.

Lufkin Man Indicted in Wife’s Murder

Joshua Dale IngramLUFKIN — A Lufkin man accused of fatally shooting his wife in February has been indicted by the Angelina County Grand Jury. Named this week in the indictment is Joshua Dale Ingram, 31. Acting on a tip from the suspect’s mother in California, the body of Jessica Ingram, 29, was found in a home on the 400 block of Cunningham Drive. Also found in the home was a three month old baby, who was not harmed. His mother told officers he told her he had shot his wife and was planning on shooting himself. After a three hour search for the suspect, he was found and arrested on Frank Street.

Fire Damages Longview Home

Longview Fire DepartmentLONGVIEW – Faulty wires are said to be the cause of a Longview fire that has displaced five persons. The fire was reported just before 1:45 Friday morning in the 400 block of Pine Street. The blaze, which had been burning undetected for some time, started in a wall between two bedrooms. It then spread to the attic. No injuries were reported. The home apparently had no working smoke detectors.

The Governor in East Texas

thumb_greg-abbott-3KILGORE – If you’re looking for passage of bills in Austin legalizing marijuana in Texas, you may be disappointed. That’s the word from Governor Gregg Abbott who was in East Texas last night to speak at the Rusk County Republican Party’s Lincoln Reagan Dinner. There are several marijuana related bills in the legislature, but Abbott said the legalization of marijuana in this session is highly unlikely. Texting and driving is another issue Abbott is following closely. According to KETK, the governor said he wants to ensure there are no more injuries, deaths or accidents due to texting and driving. And he added, “We need to find the right space between keeping people safe on the road and government micro-managing what people do. My concerns are we going to have laws that prohibit people from eating French fries as they drive down the roadway or where does the law end?” Abbott said he is still looking for clarity on how to draw that line.

State News

3 Houston-area Firefighters Hurt Battling Apartments Blaze

HOUSTON (AP) — Three firefighters have been slightly hurt battling a Houston-area apartment complex blaze that destroyed 19 units. Investigators are trying to determine whether the fire late Friday afternoon was sparked by someone cooking food. Two Cypress Creek firefighters were injured when a stairway collapsed. Officials say another firefighter hurt his arm trying to rescue the other two firefighters during the blaze in northwest Harris County. Authorities say all three firefighters were transported to a hospital to be checked out.

Ex-Texas Justice of Peace gets Nearly 2 Years in Drug Case

CORSICANA (AP) — A former justice of the peace in Navarro County has been sentenced to nearly two years behind bars in a 2014 drug case. Donna Murray was sentenced Friday in Corsicana. The Corsicana Daily Sun reports Murray was convicted March 4 of possession of a controlled substance. She was sentenced to 23 months in a state jail, fined $1,000 and ordered to pay court costs. Murray resigned from office in 2009.

US Airways Express Jet with Engine Issue Diverts to Houston

HOUSTON (AP) — A US Airways Express regional jet bound from North Carolina to Austin has made a safe emergency landing in Houston with reported engine trouble. American Airlines Group Inc. spokesman Matt Miller said Saturday that mechanics are checking the plane that diverted to George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Nobody was hurt Friday night when the pilot of the Bombardier CRJ-900, with 79 passengers and four crewmembers, landed in Houston. Miller says an oil indicator light came on in the cockpit related to an engine. He didn’t immediately have further details. Miller says passengers were being accommodated on other flights, while some travelers opted to drive from Houston to Austin. The US Airways Express flight was operated by Mesa Airlines. American and US Airways merged in December 2013.

Marge Boatright, Longtime UPI Regional Executive, Dies at 86

BURNET (AP) — Marge Boatright, whose 29-year career at United Press International took her to the top of the news service’s Dallas-based Southwest Division, has died at a Texas Hill Country hospital. She was 86. A family spokesman says the Horseshoe Bay resident died Wednesday after weeks of declining health. Boatright joined UPI’s Southwest Division in 1961, working in a range of marketing positions. In 1983 she became the division’s vice president and general manager, then regional sales vice president in charge of UPI’s sales executives west of the Mississippi. She was the first woman to rise so high at UPI. She left UPI in 1990 and became president of Wieck, a Dallas-based software development and content management startup. A memorial service is set for Tuesday at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas.

Fort Worth Demolishes Homeless Camp, Scattering 80 People

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The city of Fort Worth has started breaking up a homeless camp, using heavy equipment to clear the area and force more than 80 adults and children to abandon most of their belongings. Activists on Saturday took some individuals to assistance centers or hotels. Others at the site are expected to move to alternate hiding places outdoors near the camp and a cluster of homeless shelters. City code enforcement officer Brian Bennett says Fort Worth breaks up between 100 and 120 homeless camps each year. The homeless people, some of whom had put together shacks while squatting on private property in a wooded area, were moved for code violations. One man, David Miller, was demolishing his shack to scrap the metal.

Dallas County DA Reveals Needing Help Kicking Medication

Susan HawkDALLAS (AP) — Dallas County’s new district attorney is revealing that she “got help” to quit taking medication for back pain. Susan Hawk’s statement Friday to The Dallas Morning News responded to questions of if she was treated at an Arizona drug rehabilitation center in late 2013. Hawk says she has “a serious back condition” for which medication was prescribed. She didn’t identify the medication but said she chose to quit taking it 1½ years ago, “got help to quit taking it, and haven’t taken any since.” Departures of two top assistants have drawn scrutiny of Hawk’s first three months as district attorney. Both complained that the office atmosphere under Hawk’s administration was distrustful and paranoid.

North Texan Arrested in Investigation of 10 Bank Robberies

Dana CampbellFORT WORTH (AP) — Prosecutors say a woman suspected of as many as 10 North Texas bank robberies had notes in her vehicle saying “This is a robbery.” Dana Campbell of Arlington appeared Friday in federal court in Fort Worth. She’s held pending a detention hearing next week. Campbell was arrested Monday following an Arlington traffic stop. Police determined she faced several misdemeanor traffic warrants when they noticed a black hooded jacket in her vehicle. Prosecutors say police located notes saying “This is a robbery” and “This is a robbery. I don’t want to hurt anyone.” Officers also confiscated a ledger with dates and addresses of banks in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. All had been robbed since November by a person wearing a hoodie.

Faith Leaders Demand that Government Ends Family Detention

immigrant children flooding TexasDILLEY (AP) — Faith leaders from around the country have signed a letter to President Barack Obama asking that the government stop detaining immigrant women and children at family detention facilities. More than 80 religious figures signed the letter which calls the practice of detaining immigrants, mostly women and children from Central America, inhumane and harmful. Several bishops also toured the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley on Friday, speaking with some of the 390 women and children housed there. The facility is expected to eventually hold 2,400 people. U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement responded to the visit with a statement that calls the centers an important response to the surge in illegal immigration last summer and an effective and humane way to keep families together.

Pro Rodeo Cowboy Gill, Passenger Hurt in Texas Plane Crash

York GillSTEPHENVILLE (AP) — A professional rodeo cowboy and his fiancee have been seriously hurt when their single-engine plane crashed after takeoff from North Texas on a flight to the Houston area. The Department of Public Safety says the crash happened Friday after the Piper Saratoga II left Stephenville Clark Regional Airport, about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Sr. Cpl. Dub Gillum identified the pair as York Gill, 32, and Christy Stransky, 30, both of Stephenville. Gill is a team roper and member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. DPS says the plane was bound for Wharton when Gill reported engine trouble. The plane crashed into a ditch and fence, and then flipped. The trooper says Gill and Stransky were transported to a hospital with injuries that are serious but not life-threatening.