DALLAS (AP) — Lawyers for a man who has been in prison for more than a quarter-century for the slayings of two people in 1987 are asking a judge to set him free, saying testimony analyzing bite marks on one of the victims is invalid. The Dallas Morning News reports that in an affidavit filed Friday, a dentist says he was wrong when he told Dallas County jury in 1989 that there was a “1 to a million” chance that someone other than Steven Mark Chaney made the bite marks found on John Sweek’s body. Chaney’s attorneys are also alleging prosecutor misconduct, including withholding evidence. A hearing in the case is set for Monday. The Dallas County district attorney’s office did not immediately return a call Sunday.
AUSTIN (AP) — An arrest affidavit says a man who said he was running a taxi service has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman after picking her up from the Austin City Limits music festival. The Austin American-Statesman reports the affidavit says that after an Austin police officer pulled over Ahmed Al-Surky, 34, late Friday night for a traffic violation, a crying woman got out of the backseat. The affidavit says Al-Surky told the officer that he offered “rides for fees,” charging half of what ride programs charged. The report says Al-Surky eventually admitted to sexually assaulting the woman, saying “that it was a mistake to do so.” Al-Surky remained in Travis County jail Sunday on a sexual assault charge. Bond was set at $75,000. Jail records didn’t list an attorney.
DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines is asking travelers to arrive at least two hours before their scheduled departures as technical issues are forcing it to check-in customers manually. At Los Angeles International Airport, several dozen people crowded the Southwest terminal, waiting to be issued hand-written tickets. The Dallas-based company Sunday afternoon that about 300 of the 3,600 flights set to operate for the day had been affected by delays so far. The long lines at check-in may mean some passengers didn’t make their flights. In a statement on its website, the airline said the technology issues are affecting its website and mobile app, as well as its reservation centers and airport check-in systems. It said that while it is working on the technology issues, workers at airports are helping customers with their itineraries.
DALLAS (AP) — The Alamo is preparing for a face-lift of at least $48 million and some critics say it must be transformed from a one-dimensional attraction that’s struggled to find its footing amid the clamor of downtown San Antonio. The 18th-century former Spanish mission is poised to undergo one of the most significant alterations in its history as the state moves to buy nearby commercial buildings. But critics like Jesus F. de la Teja, with the Center for the Study of the Southwest at Texas State University, said the landmark is too focused on the 1836 battle in which some 190 men were killed by Mexican forces. He says the Alamo doesn’t capture the dynamic rise of the area in which many cultures built an important commercial hub over time.
AUSTIN (AP) — The Longhorns’ upset of the Sooners means Texas Governor Greg Abbott won his wager with his Oklahoma counterpart, Mary Fallin. But Abbott said Saturday he’s going to pay up on the bet anyway. Texas topped No. 10 Oklahoma 24-17 during Saturday’s annual Red River Rivalry game in Dallas. Per an Abbott-Fallin bet, that means Fallin and Oklahoma City’s Head County Bar-B-Q will sponsor 600 meals at Austin’s Capital Area Food Bank. Abbott said in a statement, though, that he’ll ensure the nonprofit Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City still receives a shipment of barbecue from Railhead in Fort Worth, which was set to happen if OU won. Abbott declared “Don’t mess with Texas,” but added that ensuring that needy people in both states get meals was more important than the game.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Now that Kevin McCarthy has stepped aside, Tyler-based Congressman Louie Gohmert says he’s supporting Dan Webster for House speaker. Gohmert tells KTBB, “Even though he’s less conservative in his voting than I am…he’s a good man. He de-centralized power as speaker of the House in Florida, and I knew he was just the right guy to do that in Washington — desperately needed.” As for this past week’s announcement, Gohmert remarked, “It was a surprise when Kevin McCarthy indicated he was not the person to unite…us together.” But Gohmert terms the move “a selfless, noble act.” Gohmert says he looks forward to the day when the House has someone “that will allow all of the members, Republican and Democrat, to represent their districts. That’s gonna be a great day when that happens.”
HOUSTON (AP) — An Army officer is recommending that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl face a lower-level court martial and be spared the possibility of jail time for leaving his post in Afghanistan. Defense attorneys say Lt. Col. Mark Visger has decided Bergdahl’s case should go to a military system similar to civilian courts that handle misdemeanor charges. It limits punishment to reduction of rank, a bad conduct discharge and a short jail term, though that isn’t being sought. Military prosecutors charged Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, a charge that could carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban after leaving his post in 2009 and held until last year, when he was exchanged for five Taliban commanders. Officers say a 45-day search put soldiers in danger.
AUSTIN (AP) — A 15-year-old boy is dead and three other teens were injured in what authorities say was a street racing incident outside Austin. The Texas Department of Public Safety reports that a 2014 Cadillac and a 2009 BMW were racing on Wells School Road near Wells Lane in northeastern Travis County on Friday night. A crash occurred after one of the vehicles struck a group of teens who were watching the race. Austin-Travis County EMS reported the boy’s death via Twitter. It also said that three other teens were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Among those hurt was believed to be the driver of the BMW, while the Cadillac driver was not believed to have been injured.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Investigators say a man shot and killed his wife inside the couple’s San Antonio home after apparently mistaking her for an intruder. The San Antonio Express News reports that the man told police he heard noises coming from in front of his house on the city’s far north side after 4:00 Saturday morning. He also reported seeing a flash of light. Believing someone was trying to break into the home, the man got a gun and fired a single shot, killing his 48-year-old wife. Neither the shooter nor victim were immediately identified. The woman had a gunshot wound to her upper body and was pronounced dead at the scene. Detectives interviewed her husband but he wasn’t immediately charged, pending further investigation.
ROUND ROCK (AP) — A 14-year-old student says a school resource officer used excessive force on him after he and a student fought in a Texas high school cafeteria. A cellphone video taken Thursday by another student shows an officer placing his hands around sophomore Gyasi Hughes’ throat at Round Rock High School and taking Hughes to the ground. The video was given to Austin television stations, including KEYE-TV. Hughes, who was suspended for fighting, told KEYE-TV that the officer also pushed him. Hughes’ father, Kashka, called what happened “unacceptable.” The family didn’t immediately return messages from The Associated Press on Saturday. Round Rock Police said that after warnings to calm down, two school resource officers “were forced to detain” a student. Police also said the incident is “under review.”
HOUSTON (AP) — Two men were shot and killed during an altercation early Saturday morning in the parking lot of a Houston nightclub. Investigators say the two men were fighting when one retrieved a gun and shot the other, killing him. Authorities say a security guard rushing to break up the fight then fired on the gunman, who died of his wounds. The unidentified men were described only as being in their 20s. Investigators interviewed several witnesses to the shooting. They say the guard was questioned and is unlikely to face charges.
AMARILLO (AP) — A Texas high school football player is in a medically induced coma after he suffered a blow to the head during a game in the Panhandle. Perryton High School junior Chris Leanos was being treated Saturday at an Amarillo hospital after collapsing on the field Thursday night at Bushland High, west of Amarillo. The Amarillo Globe-News reports Leanos walked off the field on his own power but collapsed again on the sideline. He underwent surgery Friday for a head injury.
TROUP — One person is dead after a car hits a vacant house in Troup. The man is Scott Tune, 45, of Troup. The accident occurred around 8:30 Friday night at the intersection of South Georgia Street and East Wilkinson Drive. He appears to have lost control of his car on a curve and crashed into the house.
LUFKIN — An Angelina County man has been sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking violations. Phil Bernard Lewis, 47, of Lufkin, pleaded guilty on December 17, 2014, to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. He was sentenced Friday to 300 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark. Federal prosecutors say from 2011 to October 2014, Lewis conspired with others to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine from Mexico to customers in the United States, including Lufkin. Much of the cocaine was converted to crack cocaine. Once in Lufkin, Lewis stored the cocaine at several locations, including houses on Dale Street, Booker Street, and East Texas Road, until the drugs were distributed to other dealers.
HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities have identified the student killed in a shooting at a Texas university and promise to increase patrols at the campus, which saw three incidents of gunfire in a week. Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva said Saturday that the student was Brent Randall, who died en route to a hospital after being shot next to a student housing complex at Texas Southern University. Another person was injured in Friday’s shooting and hospitalized. Two men were detained but Silva declined to say Saturday whether they’re still being held. Police are searching for a third person who they believe was involved. The incident marked the third shooting on or near the campus in a week; it’s unclear whether they’re related.
AUSTIN (AP) — Texas’ highest criminal court is delaying for two weeks its hearing on whether former Gov. Rick Perry should be prosecuted on felony abuse-of-power charges. The Court of Criminal Appeals agreed Friday to hold oral arguments on November 18. The court originally scheduled a hearing 14 days earlier. But Perry attorney David Botsford sought a delay, saying he’d be on a prepaid Italian vacation then. Perry is accused of using his veto power to try and force the resignation of a Democratic district attorney who was convicted of drunken driving. A lower court already dismissed a separate coercion charge against Perry. Perry left office in January and abandoned his second presidential run last month. He partly blamed his criminal case for a campaign marred by disappointing fundraising and polling numbers.
HOUSTON (AP) — A sheriff’s detective involved in the investigation of a deputy’s slaying has been relieved of duty pending further investigation after prosecutors said he acknowledged having “consensual sexual conduct” with a witness in that case. Court records filed Friday show Harris County prosecutors have told attorneys for suspect Shannon J. Miles that Harris County sheriff’s Investigator Craig Clopton had disclosed his conduct to district attorney’s investigators. Miles is charged with capital murder in the death of Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth. In a statement, Sheriff Ron Hickman called Clopton’s conduct “unethical and inexcusable” and said Clopton had been removed from duty pending the outcome of a joint investigation with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
WACO (AP) — Officials at Baylor University and Texas Christian University are intervening after a statue on the Baylor campus of former star quarterback Robert Griffin III was spray-painted TCU purple. The vandalism of the statue outside McLane Stadium in Waco was discovered Thursday. On Friday, photos emerged of “61-58” painted in Baylor green on a wall on the TCU campus in Fort Worth. In a joint statement, Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw and TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte condemned the acts of vandalism. McCaw said “it is most disappointing that the actions of a few cast a negative light on a rivalry that dates back more than a century.” Del Conte says TCU officials “are working closely with Baylor and public safety officials at both universities on their investigations.”
AUSTIN (AP) — Actor Shia LaBeouf has been arrested and charged with public intoxication after an incident in Austin. Jail records show LaBeouf was booked Friday night into the Travis County Jail and released on his own recognizance. No attorney was listed on the record. He was arrested in the city’s Sixth Street entertainment district. The Austin City Limits music festival is taking place there through Sunday. Police have not responded to a request from The Associated Press for additional details. His publicist did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the arrest.
PALESTINE — A former Anderson County teacher will be spending time in prison because of an improper relationship between an educator and Student. In a plea agreement with the state, Rachel Bauer, 25, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The former Frankston High School agriculture teacher was also sentenced to 10 years deferred adjudication probation for the felony offense of Sexual Assault of a Child. The probation begins once she is released from prison. Bauer must register as a sex offender for life.
AUSTIN (AP) — Texas has filed suit against Volkswagen, charging that the automaker’s emissions rigging violated state consumer protection laws and clean air standards. Attorney General Ken Paxton said Thursday that his state would seek restitution for consumers, and an injunction and civil penalties to prohibit future violations. Paxton, who himself has been indicted for securities fraud, said in a statement, “When companies willfully violate the public’s trust, a penalty must be paid.” VW says it installed devices designed to defeat emissions testing on many Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars dating to model year 2009. Paxton said Texans purchased around 32,000 affected vehicles. There are about 49 authorized VW dealerships statewide. Last month, Harris County, which includes Houston, filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against VW, alleging the automaker contributed to air quality problems.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl should have been executed for leaving his post in Afghanistan. Trump made the comments Thursday afternoon at a rowdy rally inside a packed Las Vegas theater at the casino-hotel Treasure Island. Trump says Bergdahl is a “no-good traitor” and would have been shot 30 years ago. Bergdahl was charged in March with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The Army conducted a hearing on his case earlier this month in Texas. Bergdahl is accused of leaving his post in southeastern Afghanistan in June 2009. He was held prisoner by the Taliban for five years, then exchanged for five Taliban commanders being held by the U.S. Trump has long railed against the deal. Read the rest of this entry »
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston police say a bicyclist has died after someone fired at him from a vehicle. Police tell the Houston Chronicle that the man was riding a bicycle along the roadway when he was shot late Wednesday night. The man, whose name has not been released, was wounded and later died. The car sped away. Investigators found several bullet casings on the street. So far, police have no motive or suspects in the case.
BEEVILLE (AP) — Two men have been arrested and charged with murder in the fatal shooting of two men and a woman at a South Texas home. The Bee County Sheriff’s Office says Felix Lee Perez,23, was arrested about 5:00 Thursday afternoon without incident in a residential neighborhood on Beeville’s south side. Bee County Sheriff Carlos Carrizales said Presciliano “Pres” Martinez, 36, was arrested Wednesday night in a neighborhood west of downtown Beeville. The sheriff did not offer a possible motive for the gunfire September 22 at a house in Beeville. Carrizales says authorities were summoned by a call from inside the home or from a neighbor. The victims were identified as 33-year-old Barry Garcia, 18-year-old Marc Fuentes and 45-year-old Rosalinda Posada. Beeville is 50 miles northwest of Corpus Christi.
DALLAS (AP) — Somebody is going to get some barbecue, but who gets it will be decided by the outcome of Saturday’s annual Red River Rivalry game between Texas and Oklahoma in Dallas. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin have made the two state’s traditional wager over the outcome. A statement from Abbott’s office says a Texas win would mean Fallin and Head Country Bar-B-Q in Oklahoma City will sponsor 600 meals to be served at Austin’s Capital Area Food Bank. An OU win would mean Abbott will send a shipment of meals from Railhead BBQ in Fort Worth to the City Rescue Mission, an Oklahoma City nonprofit partnering with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
SMITH COUNTY — Two persons have been killed in a fiery collision on Interstate Highway 20 in Smith County. The collision between two tractor trailer trucks was reported around 11:00 Wednesday night west of Highway 14. All eastbound lanes of I-20 eventually reopened after being shut down near FM 2015.
LONGVIEW — Five persons have been arrested by members of the Longview Police Department SWAT team as they served a search warrant. The arrests occurred shortly after 2:00 Wednesday afternoon at a home in the 1300 block of El Paso Street. A search of the house turned up a firearm that was stolen in White Oak and a large quantity of powder cocaine, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine. The names of the suspects and their charges were due to be released following their arraignment.
SMITH COUNTY — More repair work is planned for the Interstate Highway 20 eastbound outside lane today in Smith County. The work will occur at Mile Marker 566-567. Motorists should slow down, pay attention and expect lane closures from 7:00am to 6:00pm. Motorists can choose to take other routes if possible to avoid delays.
GALVESTON (AP) — The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has kicked off a yearlong celebration leading up to its 125th anniversary, which will be marked next year. The Galveston County Daily News reports the university will be holding events to celebrate the anniversary over the next year. The celebration officially kicked off Monday with a picnic. Galveston was chosen as the site of Texas’ first public medical school by a statewide vote in 1881. It was established 10 years later, in 1891. The school’s first academic building, a structure with a Victorian facade known commonly as Old Red, still stands. It was badly damaged by both the 1900 Hurricane and Hurricane Ike, and even survived a proposal in the 1970s that would have replaced it with a parking garage.