SMITH COUNTY — An East Texas man who was wanted for allegedly soliciting realtors is in custody. According to KETK, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office says Michael Minnich, 39, was arrested by the Smith County Precinct 4 Constable’s office on Wednesday morning. Minnich was also wanted on a parole violation. On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office released a statement saying Minnich and his wife, identified as Felicia Garland, were contacting realtors and claiming they were “cash buyers and needed to close quickly.” He reportedly also was asking to meet realtors at properties. Smith County officials were in close contact with the Longview Police Department during the investigation. According to judicial records, Minnich is being held in the Smith County Jail on no bond.
SMITH COUNTY — The Smith County Sheriff’s Office is responding to a “situation” in which SWAT is involved. According to KETK, officials say the situation is taking place at Highway 31 West and Loop 49. Law enforcement has blocked off roads at this time. The Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office also says it is on scene of a structure fire at the area in which the SWAT team is responding. Details are very limited, but we’ll update information as it’s made available.
HENDERSON — An East Texas teenager who was missing for seven months in 2015 has left home again. According to KETK, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office says Paiglynn Raymond left her home Monday and has not been seen or heard from since. The teenager left home in April 2015 after being dropped off at Sabine High School. Investigators with the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office said she left the campus, was picked up by a truck driver, and was dropped off at a bus station near Dallas. She reunited with her family around Thanksgiving. … Read More
HOUSTON (AP) – A multilevel Houston parking garage that was being demolished instead collapsed and scattered debris across the site and on top of an excavator. Authorities say a worker operating the heavy equipment escaped harm Tuesday when several decks of what was left of the garage tumbled down. The accident happened as crews worked to tear down the parking structure at Corporate Plaza. Crews will now work to clear the debris from what used to be the parking garage.
RALLS (AP) — A car slammed into the rear of a tractor-trailer rig on a highway in the West Texas plains, killing three and critically injuring three others in the car. The Texas Department of Public Safety says the crash happened about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday about 30 miles east of Lubbock on the eastern fringe of the small town of Ralls. DPS Trooper John Gonzalez says it appears the car was eastbound on U.S. 62-82 when it crashed into the 18-wheeler, which was stopped to turn into a fertilizer plant. The dead included two adult passengers of the car and a toddler. The three taken to University Medical Center in Lubbock were the driver and two passengers. The truck driver wasn’t injured. The speed limit on the four-lane highway is 75 mph.
MCALLEN (AP) — A former priest has been arrested in Arizona in the 1960 slaying of a 25-year-old Texas schoolteacher. Eighty-three-year-old John Feit was arrested Tuesday by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department and awaits extradition to Texas. Feit faces a murder charge in the death of Irene Garza. Authorities say Garza visited Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, where Feit was a priest, on April 16, 1960. Garza had planned to go to confession that evening but never returned, and her body was found days later in an irrigation canal. According to an autopsy, Garza died from a head injury. Feit was a suspect in the killing but was never charged in the case. Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez said that he presented the case against Feit to a grand jury last week.
HUNTSVILLE (AP) – A 42-year-old man sent to death row for a fatal shooting during a Dallas-area sandwich shop robbery in 2002 has received an execution date. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said Tuesday convicted killer Terry Darnell Edwards is scheduled for lethal injection May 11. The U.S. Supreme Court in November refused to review his case. Edwards was convicted of killing 26-year-old Mickell Goodwin at a Balch Springs Subway store where she worked. The store manager, 34-year-old Tommy Walker, also was gunned down. Evidence showed Edwards had been fired from the sandwich store a few weeks before the July 2002 shootings. About $3,000 was taken in the holdup. Edwards is among 10 inmates scheduled for execution in the coming months in Texas, the nation’s most active death penalty state.
HOUSTON (AP) – A Houston-area man accused of forcing a Nigerian woman to care for his five children and home without pay for two years and seizing the nanny’s passport has been granted a bond by a federal magistrate judge. Chudy Nsobundu of Katy appeared in federal court Tuesday in Houston after he and his wife, Sandra Nsobundu, were arrested a day earlier on charges of forced labor, withholding documents, conspiracy to harbor an illegal immigrant and visa fraud. Chudy Nsobundu was granted a $5,000 bond. His wife was given an unsecured bond earlier Tuesday. Chudy Nsobundu was asked by the judge to hire an attorney after he didn’t qualify for a court-appointed lawyer. A criminal complaint says the 38-year-old nanny was rescued last October following a tip to an anti-human trafficking group.
AUSTIN (AP) – Austin police say an unarmed nude teenager was fatally shot by an officer in an altercation partly captured by patrol car video. Police on Tuesday identified the person who died as 17-year-old David Joseph. Police Chief of Staff Brian Manley says Officer Geoffrey Freeman fatally shot Joseph on Monday when the teen refused orders to stop and charged at the officer. Police haven’t released the patrol car video. Manley says Freeman initially responded to a report of one male chasing another through an Austin apartment complex, resumed his patrol then came upon the naked Joseph. Freeman has been an Austin police officer for 10 years. He’s been put on administrative duty. An autopsy was ordered. Joseph was black, as is the officer.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – An ailing 12-year-old dolphin has died at SeaWorld San Antonio in the park’s fourth animal death since last summer. A SeaWorld official said Tuesday that necropsy results are expected in about six weeks on the Pacific white-sided dolphin called Dart. Becca Bides says Dart died Friday after veterinarians monitored him for a month for unspecified health-related issues. Another Pacific white-sided dolphin, a 37-year-old named Betty, was being monitored Tuesday for inflammation or possible infection. Officials didn’t immediately say if they believe the cases are related. SeaWorld San Antonio has five white-sided dolphins and 21 bottlenose dolphins. A beluga whale born premature died last July. A beluga whale named Stella died in November after apparent stomach trouble. A killer whale named Unna died in December after suffering a fungal infection.
BARTLETT (AP) – Water service has been restored to a Central Texas town following pump problems but a boil drinking water notice remains in effect. Two water tank pumps failed in Bartlett and town officials declared a state of emergency Monday. The designation helped clear the way for emergency spending for pump repairs in Bartlett, a town of about 1,600 located 45 miles northeast of Austin. Interim City Administrator Barbara Wilson says some residents noticed a sharp decline in water pressure as early as Sunday afternoon. Authorities say the boil water notice was expected to remain in effect for several days. The Bartlett Independent School District provided bottled water for drinking and portable bathrooms.
CORPUS CHRISTI (AP) – A South Texas woman has been sentenced to 35 years in prison over the fatal beating of her 6-year-old son allegedly by her boyfriend. Nancy Rae Martinez pleaded guilty Monday to injury to a child in a plea deal in Corpus Christi. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports the mother was previously charged with capital murder in the 2014 death of her son, Xadrian. Her now-former boyfriend, Albert Villarreal, faced trial Tuesday on a capital murder charge. An affidavit says the victim’s then-8-year-old sister told investigators that she saw Villarreal hit her brother because the boy soiled his clothing. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. Conviction would carry an automatic life term in prison.
GLADEWATER — The city of Gladewater has asked that residents not burn outdoors until further notice. In a news release online, Fire Chief Wayne Smith warned that dry and windy conditions in the next few days could contribute to fire danger. According to the Longview News-Journal and KETK, the fire department will not issue burn permits until conditions are deemed safe. Rusk County officials released a statement about crews working several fires in the Overton and New London areas Monday.
LUFKIN — One man has been killed in a two vehicle wreck in Lufkin at the intersection of Raguet Street and Old Mill Road. Police said, around 6:30 Monday night, Jesus Acosta, 69, turned onto Raguet Street and was struck by another vehicle. According to KETK, Acosta was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The other vehicle was driven by Alton Dixon, 29. Dixon is a P.E. teacher/coach at Lufkin ISD, according to the school’s website. He also played football at Texas A&M. Dixon was flown to a Tyler hospital with unknown injuries. The wreck is under investigation.
GALVESTON (AP) – A Southeast Texas school bus driver who went by “Mr. Happy” on an adult website must serve nearly 42 years in prison in a child pornography case. Michael Lee Martinez was sentenced Monday in federal court in Galveston. The 46-year-old Galveston man in September pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child, plus possession and distribution of child pornography. Investigators say Martinez, who drove a Galveston school bus in 2014, produced images for a website used by pedophiles to exchange pornography. Martinez had nearly 2,000 child porn videos and images when indicted and arrested last year. Prosecutors say Martinez abused three girls by using them as subjects. There’s no evidence that the bus driver’s criminal behavior was connected to his job or that the victims were on his route.
CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico (AP) – Mexican authorities say a gas explosion has ripped through a house where at least 60 abducted migrants were being held captive in a city on the Texas border, injuring five people. The government of Tamaulipas state says two of those were gravely injured by Monday’s blast in Reynosa, across from McAllen. The government says the explosion was caused by an accumulation of gas. Authorities are trying to locate a number of people who ran away after the blast. Officials say the migrants had been held against their will for a week.
WACO (AP) – About 100 people gathered on the Baylor University campus for a candlelight vigil, march and prayer service to protest what they regard as the university’s weak policing of sexual violence. The demonstrators gathered Monday night outside the home of University President Kenneth Starr before marching to Baylor’s Truett Seminary for a brief prayer service for the survivors of campus sexual violence. The event follows an ESPN report earlier this month about three students who said the Southern Baptist-affiliated university in Waco failed to act on allegations that they were sexually assaulted by a former football player later convicted in one of those cases.
HOUSTON (AP) – A San Antonio man condemned for a fatal shooting during a robbery 12 years ago has lost a federal appeal, moving him a step closer to execution. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday rejected arguments from 34-year-old Juan Castillo that primarily contended the legal help at his trial was deficient. Castillo was convicted of the December 2003 slaying of 19-year-old Tommy Garcia Jr. Evidence showed Garcia was shot seven times in an ambush at a San Antonio lovers lane after he was lured there by Castillo’s girlfriend. She pleaded guilty before Castillo’s 2005 trial and testified against him. Late in his trial, Castillo fired his lawyers and represented himself. He cross-examined no witnesses during the trial’s punishment phase and made no final argument to jurors.
AUSTIN (AP) – Police say a man has died after being shot by an Austin officer responding to a call of a suspicious person acting aggressively in a neighborhood. Police Chief of Staff Brian Manley told reporters that the man died at a hospital after being shot Monday morning in northeast Austin. Manley says the officer arrived to find the suspect naked in a street and shot the man when he failed to heed orders to stop and charged the officer. Authorities have not identified either the suspect or the officer, who Manley says has been on the force for more than 10 years. The officer was placed on administrative leave as authorities continue to investigate the shooting.
NOONDAY — High winds are believed to have been the cause of a fire that destroyed a Smith County home Monday. According to KETK, the Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office says crews were called out to the fire on Highway 155 South in the Noonday area around 11:00 a.m. No injuries were reported, but officials believe the fire could have occurred when the homeowner’s son was burning materials in the front yard and high winds caused the flames to spread. The homeowner in fact says that is exactly what happened. A wind advisory and wildfire risk were posted in Monday’s weather forecast, and those advisories continue today.
DALLAS (AP) – A lock of hair snipped from the head of John Lennon as the Beatle prepared for a film role is expected to sell for $10,000 at a Dallas auction later this month. Heritage Auctions said in a news release Monday that the 4-inch lock was collected by a German hairdresser who trimmed Lennon’s hair before he started shooting “How I Won the War.” The dark comedy, released in 1967, follows the World War II misadventures of British troops led by an inept commander. The auction will be held Feb. 20 and Heritage says it will include other rare items linked to The Beatles, such as a signed photograph of all four members. Memorabilia from other artists such as Elvis Presley and Led Zeppelin also will be auctioned.
DALLAS (AP) – The weekend will start early for children in a West Texas school district that’s adopted a four-day school week. The new schedule in Olfen, northeast of San Angelo, is believed to be the first such change since lawmakers last year gave schools greater leeway in setting their calendars. Superintendent Gabriel Zamora says the move was prompted by the need to provide more tutoring and individualized attention for struggling students. Underperforming students will still have to show on Fridays. Another reason for the change in the fall is that it may help the district attract students from elsewhere, thus increasing the amount of state aid. The state previously required that schools provide 180 days of instruction. The requirement now is at least 75,600 minutes of instruction.
TAFT (AP) – A man has been arrested in the stabbing death of an 84-year-old woman who was found dead in her home in rural Southeast Texas. San Patricio County Sheriff Leroy Moody says 45-year-old Lincoln Wade Kilsby of Taft was arrested Friday on a capital murder charge in the death of Emma Hinojosa Parker. Relatives of Parker found her body Wednesday in her home near the small town of Taft. She lived there alone. Moody says the two knew each other because Kilsby was once lived nearby. He says the motive seems to have been “money,” with credit cards and cash being stolen from her. Kilsby remained in jail Monday on $500,000 bond. Jail records did not list an attorney for him. Taft is located about 12 miles north of Corpus Christi.
TYLER — Tyler police are investigating a fatal accident in which vehicle struck a church. Around 11:54 Sunday night, officers were sent to a West Glenwood location and found that a pickup had left the roadway and struck the northeast corner of Dale Chapel Baptist Church. The badly damaged pickup was occupied by 67-year-old Banelle Bagwell. Ms. Bagwell was unconscious and was pinned in the vehicle. Tyler Fire Department personnel arrived and began rescue efforts using the jaws of life and other equipment. Ms. Bagwell was quickly freed from the vehicle and transported to East Texas Medical Center by EMS. A short time later, she was pronounced dead. The cause of the accident is unknown. No one was inside the church at the time of the accident.
TYLER — The Tyler Museum of Art ushers in its 45th anniversary with “Chihuly: Works from Texas Collections,” showcasing the work of glass master Dale Chihuly. Museum Executive Director Chris Leahy welcomed a large crowd at an opening reception — and expects more strong attendance, pointing out that Chihuly is “probably the best known of glass sculptors.” Leahy also lauded the work put into the exhibit by its curator, Caleb Bell; Derek Frazier, who arranged it and did the lighting; and interns from UT Tyler. The exhibit continues through May 15. The show opened Sunday and continues through May 15.
DALLAS (AP) – A Texas real estate and energy mogul is lobbying Dallas officials to prevent the return of a sex exposition that has previously drawn about 15,000 people. The Dallas Morning News reports billionaire Ray Hunt emailed city council members over the weekend asking that on Wednesday they vote against this summer’s Exxxotica expo. Hunt, who owns valuable downtown land, said in his email that the event runs counter to the values and beliefs of most Dallas residents. Mayor Mike Rawlings joined women’s advocacy groups last year in criticizing the opening of Exxxotica at the city-owned Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. The council Wednesday is scheduled to act on a resolution proposed by Rawlings that would bar the three-day expo from the convention center.
FORNEY (AP) – Kaufman County police say a 5-year-old boy is injured after accidentally shooting himself with a handgun in Forney. Capt. Fred Klingelberger said officials were called to a trailer near a paintball facility about an accidental shooting Saturday evening. Klingelberger said that two boys, ages 5 and 6, were watching TV when the 5-year-old grabbed a handgun. Police say that the 6-year-old told him to put the gun down and continued watching television before hearing a gunshot. Police say the 6-year-old found the other child on the floor and went and told adults, who called authorities. The boy was transported to Children’s Medical Center Dallas. Klingelberger said the boy was “awake and alert” when he was taken to the hospital.
TYLER — One woman has been killed in a wreck in Tyler last night. Vannelle Bagwell, 67, Tyler, was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Tyler Police responded to the wreck on Glenwood around 11:55 Sunday night. Officers said Bagwell’s truck crashed into Dale Chapel Baptist Church, pinning her in the vehicle. The jaws of life were used to remove Bagwell from the truck. The cause of the crash is under investigation. No other injuries were reported.
CORPUS CHRISTI (AP) – Former “The Price is Right” host Bob Barker will return to a Texas military installation where he became a Navy fighter pilot to help celebrate its 75th anniversary. Naval Air Station Corpus Christi on Thursday announced the 92-year-old Barker will be the guest speaker at its March 12 celebration. The Navy installation has supported pilot training and operations since opening in 1941. A Naval Air Station Corpus Christi statement says Barker became an aviator and earned his wings on Dec. 6, 1944. He achieved a lieutenant junior grade rank. Barker began hosting “The Price is Right” in 1972. He retired from the game show in 2007.