Guilty Plea in “Kari’s Law” Trial
MARSHALL — A guilty plea has been entered in the so-called “Kari’s law” trial. KETK reports Brad Allen Dunn pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder in the death of Kari Rene Dunn. The defendant was arrested in December 2013 for stabbing his wife to death in a hotel room while their nine-year-old daughter tried to call police. The call wouldn’t go through because the little girl didn’t know she had to dial 9 for an outside line before calling 911. The case has prompted efforts to eliminate the need to dial 9 in such situations, and those efforts have become known as “Kari’s law.” The trial moved into the sentencing phase after the guilty plea was entered.
Police: Former DA Had Cocaine, Revolver in Car when Arrested
LONGVIEW — A former Gregg County District Attorney allegedly had cocaine, a revolver, alcohol, and cash in his car when he was arrested in February. KETK reports that the information is contained in documents obtained Monday by the Longview News-Journal. Longview police say they found Robert “Rob” Riter Foster, 69, after his vehicle became stuck in the median in the 3000 block of North Eastman Road. Police say Foster had a “full glass of an unknown liquid” which smelled of alcohol and a plastic bag with a rolled-up bill and a white, powdery substance inside. A field test determined the substance was cocaine, according to officials. Foster’s phone and wallet were also reportedly covered in the powder. Police reported also finding two open alcohol containers and a loaded .38-caliber revolver in the vehicle. Read more …
Photographer Sentenced for Sexual Exploitation of Children
TYLER — A 54-year-old McKinney photographer has been sentenced to federal prison for sexual exploitation of children in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales Tuesday. Todd Fleming pleaded guilty on October 2, 2014, to sexual exploitation of children and was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison Tuesday in Tyler by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider. Fleming will be required to register as a sex offender and serve a life term of supervised release upon his release from federal prison. Read more …
Flint Man Sentenced in Drug Conspiracy
TYLER — U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced Tuesday that a Flint man has been sentenced to federal prison for his involvement in a drug conspiracy in the Eastern District of Texas. Isaac Dion Smith, also known as “Ike”, 34, was sentenced to 144 months in prison Tyesday in Tyler by United States District Judge Michael H. Schneider. Smith had entered a guilty plea on October 14, 2014, on charges he conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine and heroin. According to information presented in court, Smith, along with his co-defendants, distributed drugs including methamphetamine and heroin in the north Tyler area. Firearms were also bartered and sold by the group. The group was supplied by sources primarily in the Dallas area. Read more …
Longview Man Sentenced in Cocaine/Marijuana Conspiracy
TYLER — U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced Tuesday that a Longview man has been sentenced to federal prison for his involvement in a drug conspiracy in the Eastern District of Texas. Antonio Cortez Gonzales, 35, was sentenced to 136 months in federal prison Tuesday in Tyler by United States District Judge Michael H. Schneider. Gonzales had entered a guilty plea on October 2, 2014, on charges he conspired with others to distribute cocaine and marijuana. Read more …
Pre-Trial Proceedings in Tiede Case Moved to March 31
CARTHAGE — Pre-trial proceedings scheduled for Tuesday in the Bernie Tiede case have been pushed back to March 31. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report both sides agreed to delay a hearing until that date. Tiede’s life sentence was thrown out because of a mental condition that officials say was overlooked. The case, which inspired the movie “Bernie,” involved the 1997 murder of 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent in Carthage.
East Texas Homeowner Shoots at Alleged Robbers
CHEROKEE COUNTY — Cherokee County officials are investigating a reported home invasion. It happened around 3:25 Monday morning in the 6000 Block of FM 1247, just outside of Wells. According to KETK, a call to emergency services stated someone tried to break into the residence and the homeowner had fired shots at them. The homeowner reportedly chased the suspects through the pasture behind the home. The homeowner returned some time later. He had apparently been knocked unconscious for a short period of time by one of the criminals. It is believed the homeowner shot and wounded at least one of the two suspects. Read more …
Rep. Simpson’s Bill to End Marijuana Prohibition in Texas
AUSTIN – State Representative David Simpson of Longview has filed House Bill 2165 to strike all references to marijuana offenses from the Texas statutes. This represents a comprehensive repeal of marijuana prohibition in Texas. “We can’t fix all of the past wrongs caused by prohibition, but at least we can stop perpetuating them,” said Representative Simpson. According to a news release from Simpson’s office, this is perhaps the first bill of its kind in the nation that proposes to simply undo prohibition and avoid the big government approach taken in other states that basically re-regulate the plant. Read more …
Tyler ISD BOND 2013 Construction Update
TYLER – As spring nears, significant completion phases also near for Tyler ISD BOND 2013 construction projects. Projects include the new Career and Technology Center (CTC), two new middle school campuses at the existing Moore MST Magnet School and Boulter Middle School locations, the new Three Lakes Middle School and renovations and additions to Dixie and Rice elementary schools. All projects are on schedule to be completed before the 2015-2016 school year, according to a TISD news release. Read more …
ETMC Now Offers Express Care for Non-Emergency Needs
TYLER — ETMC First Physicians is now operating an express clinic offering walk-in urgent care at ETMC South Broadway, according to a news release. “Express clinic care means no appointments and no waiting behind patients with life-threatening emergencies,” said Dr. Steven Cooley, ETMC First Physician. “You can get fast service for minor injuries and illnesses such as broken bones, lacerations, urinary tract infections, rashes, fevers, coughs, colds, headache, sore throat, earache or flu-like symptoms.” Read more …
Father, Daughter Found Shot to Death at Vacant Houston Home
HOUSTON (AP) – Houston police say a father and his teenage daughter have been found shot to death at a vacant townhome a day after relatives reported them missing. Police say the bodies were located Tuesday morning in the complex where other family members live. Police say a relative who was looking for the pair came upon the bodies. Investigators say the case may involve a murder-suicide. A gun was recovered at the scene in a neighborhood in northern Houston. Officials are seeking a motive for the shootings. Names of the man and the teen who died weren’t immediately released.
Burning Cross Left outside Central Texas Church
BURNET (AP) – Investigators are trying to determine who left a burning cross outside a Central Texas church. KXAN-TV reported Tuesday that the incident involves Smoking for Jesus Ministry in Burnet. That’s about 45 miles northwest of Austin. The Burnet County Sheriff’s Office says the charred wooden cross was found Sunday night propped up against the church’s sign. Investigators have asked for the public’s help in locating any suspects. The church, on its website, says “On Fire For The Lord” and that the ministry in December marked its 18th anniversary. Messages left with the sheriff’s department and the church weren’t immediately returned Tuesday.
Dallas School Safely Evacuated over Carbon Monoxide Levels
DALLAS (AP) – A Dallas school with more than 800 students has been safely evacuated after high levels of carbon monoxide were linked to a furnace. Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans says a leak Tuesday morning was traced to a furnace in the basement of Lakewood Elementary School. A Dallas Independent School District spokesman says a contractor doing some work had checked for carbon monoxide and found elevated levels. Utility crews were summoned to the school, as students and staff relocated to another campus. Lakewood Elementary School, according to its website, has more than 850 students.
Conservatives Back Teacher Evaluations, School Grading Plans
AUSTIN (AP) – Top conservatives clamoring for “school choice” voucher plans in the Texas Legislature are offering other priorities that are less hot-button but still may spark bitter floor fights. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senate Education Committee Chairman Larry Taylor presented a package of bills Tuesday. They include a plan to issue A-F grades for individual public schools, plus expanded online learning. Some proposals link teacher evaluations to pay raises and allow parents to petition to close failing public schools after just two years, instead of the current five. Other Republicans and even teachers groups have cheered some of those ideas. But others, especially teacher evaluations and issuing schools `Fs’ should prove contentious. Patrick says highly anticipated school vouchers and pre-kindergarten plans would be unveiled soon, and remain top priorities.
San Antonio Fire Crew Unaware Fire Was at High-Rise
CASTLE HILLS (AP/Staff) – An analysis by the San Antonio Fire Department says the arrival of specialized resources to a five-fatality fire at senior living apartments was delayed because responders were unaware it was a high-rise. The San Antonio Express-News reports that the department praised Castle Hills for requesting help from other agencies last Dec. 28, but says Castle Hills did not relay information about the building being an 11-story structure. The San Antonio Fire Department has “pre-plans” for buildings like high-rises that include blueprints and where the water sources are, but because the fire occurred in Castle Hills, the department did not have a pre-plan for the Wedgewood. The analysis does not indicate if Castle Hills has a pre-plan for the Wedgewood that was not shared with other agencies, or if they do not have one at all.
Dense Fog Causes Travel Problems, Flights Delayed
AUSTIN (AP) – Heavy fog delayed dozens of flights in Texas Tuesday. Tracker Flightaware.com reports nearly 60 flight delays in and out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The National Weather Service had issued a dense fog advisory until midday Tuesday for the Austin and San Marcos areas. The Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop for the airport in Austin, due to the heavy fog. Airport spokesman Jim Halbrook says the ground stop, when flights are required to remain at their departure points, lasted less than two hours and was lifted by early Tuesday afternoon.