HOUSTON (AP) – A condemned murderer known as the “Tourniquet Killer” because his four victims were tortured and strangled with handmade tourniquets has received an execution date. State District Judge Maria Jackson has set 55-year-old Anthony Shore for lethal injection Oct. 18. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg described Shore Thursday as a “true serial killer” who terrorized young Hispanic females in the Houston area for 17 years. The slayings went unsolved until DNA evidence linked him to the sexual assault of two juvenile relatives. He subsequently confessed to the killings and was convicted in 2004 of the slaying of 21-year-old Maria del Carmen Estrada. Her body was found in the drive-thru lane of a Dairy Queen in 1992.
His other victims included two teenagers, one of them in 1986, and a 9-year-old.
MERCEDES (AP) – A funeral has been held in South Texas for a U.S. sailor killed last month in the collision of a Navy destroyer with a container ship off the coast of Japan. The Monitor in McAllen reports that the funeral for Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez was held Thursday in Mercedes. Burial followed in nearby Weslaco. The 26-year-old was one of seven sailors killed aboard the USS Fitzgerald when the naval destroyer was struck on June 17 by a Philippine-flagged container ship. His wife, Dora Hernandez, has described the support that the family has received since her husband’s death as “overwhelming,” with people offering food, kind words and prayers. She and Noe Hernandez both graduated from high school in Weslaco in 2009. Their son will soon turn 3.
DALLAS (AP) – Only hours after the ambush that killed five Dallas law enforcement officers, mental health experts began searching for ways to ease the effects on the men and women who patrol the nation’s ninth-largest city. A year later, scores of Dallas officers have received or will receive specialized training in “mindfulness” and other stress-management techniques. They aim to teach police how to better understand and control their emotions. Richard Goerling is a police lieutenant in Oregon who teaches mindfulness. He says one of the most powerful things you can do is teach officers that it’s OK to be human.
HOUSTON (AP) – International applications to public universities in Texas have dropped by at least 10,000 over the past year, and some school officials cite President Donald Trump as a cause. A review of university data by the Houston Chronicle shows a 12.5 percent decrease in applications from international students last fall. That compares to the 30 percent increase in applications from 2013 to 2016. Analysts and campus administrators say a sluggish global economy and greater competition from other countries have impacted applications. Some also say President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric has created an unwelcoming environment.… Read More
CORPUS CHRISTI (AP) – The Trump administration says Texas has rid its voter ID law of any discriminatory effects and is asking a judge who once compared the measure to a “poll tax” to not take further action. The U.S. Justice Department under former President Barack Obama had previously joined minority rights groups in challenging the voter ID law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011. But the new administration told U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos this week that Texas lawmakers in May fixed the measure by adopting a weaker version. The changes let voters without an ID cast a ballot by signing an affidavit but make lying on that form a felony. Gonzales has twice ruled that the original Texas law was intentionally crafted to discriminate against minorities.
DALLAS (AP) – A Dallas police officer charged with aggravated assault in the fatal shooting of a woman in a January confrontation has been fired. Police say Christopher Hess was fired at a Wednesday hearing. Police say an internal affairs investigation found Hess violated the department’s felony traffic stop policy and use of force policy and placed a person in greater danger than necessary. Hess was charged last month in the shooting of 21-year-old Genevive Dawes. Police have said Hess and another officer were responding to a suspicious persons call when Dawes allegedly ignored commands to exit her car, reversed into a police cruiser, rammed a fence and was reversing away when police fired. Hess can appeal the firing. A call to an attorney representing Hess on the felony charge wasn’t immediately returned Thursday.
AUSTIN (AP) – Sen. Ted Cruz is expressing doubt about whether the Republican-backed plan to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law will pass the Senate. Speaking Thursday on San Antonio’s KTSA Radio, Cruz said, “It is precarious.” He said the GOP’s Senate majority “is so narrow, I don’t know if we can get it done or not.” Back in Texas with the Senate out of session, Cruz was also appearing at an Austin town hall later Thursday. He rejected the original version of the health care overhaul but is pushing a conservative alternative aiming to cut costs by giving states greater flexibility to create separate higher-risk pools. Seeking compromise is a departure for Cruz, who long relished being a conservative insurgent who infuriated Senate establishment leaders from both parties.
DALLAS (ABC) – A year ago Friday, five police officers were gunned down after a peaceful demonstration in downtown Dallas. On Thursday, a memorial was unveiled to honor the fallen law enforcers. The last echoes of the shots fired by gunman Micah Xavier Johnson have faded away. But even a year later, “We struggle some days to work through our emotions and still ask, ‘Why,'” said Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Chief James Spiller. He added, “We continue because we know that’s what our fallen brothers and their families expect us to do. On Thursday, those families attended the unveiling of the Dallas Circle of Heroes Memorial two miles from the site of the ambush.
COPPELL (AP) – Retail gasoline prices in Texas have slipped a penny to settle at an average $2.03 per gallon. AAA Texas on Thursday reported that compares to the nationwide price at the pump of $2.24, which held steady from last week. Association experts say U.S. gas prices during the July Fourth holiday travel period were the cheapest since 2005. The AAA survey found Amarillo has the cheapest gasoline in Texas this week at an average $1.93 per gallon. Drivers in Galveston face the highest gasoline prices statewide at an average $2.06 per gallon. Association officials say tepid demand and increased gasoline and crude output continue to put downward pressure on retail gasoline prices.
SOUTH HOUSTON (AP) – Officials say an overnight fire at a vacant warehouse in South Houston spread to a used car dealership and left nearly 1,900 homes and businesses without electricity when a transformer blew. A Houston Fire Department statement says the blaze was extinguished before dawn Thursday. Nobody was hurt. Arson investigators from nearby Pasadena were dispatched to the scene. Fire department authorities say a transformer near the two-story warehouse exploded during the fire reported around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. CenterPoint Energy spokeswoman Olivia Ross says nearly 400 customers were still without power Thursday as crews worked to repair equipment and restore electricity. Officials say several vehicles in a dealership lot were damaged or destroyed. Some of the vehicles burned. No damage estimate was immediately available.
GALVESTON (AP) – Nearly 188,000 cars converged on Galveston Island on the Fourth of July and city officials who traditionally estimate 2.5 people were in each of those vehicles means the population swelled by almost a half-million folks. They left behind a mountain of trash. A 35-person cleanup crew from the Galveston Park Board of Trustees hit the beaches Wednesday beginning at 3 a.m. and when they were finished they’d collected 49,800 pounds of garbage – nearly 25 tons. On the average day, the cleaning crew picks up 3,400 pounds. Park board spokeswoman Mary Beth Basset tells The Galveston County Daily News the cleanup people are “truly the unsung heroes” of the community. For the entire five-day holiday weekend starting Friday, the city counted 780,000 vehicles coming into Galveston.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – San Antonio police say a 63-year-old woman was fatally struck by a police car after an officer responded to reports of fireworks in her neighborhood on the Fourth of July. Police said Josephine Carter died Tuesday from head trauma. Police said in a statement that “the details surrounding this tragic accident are still under investigation.” Police said the officer had responded to a call about a person shooting off fireworks. After that person agreed to stop and went inside, the officer was driving off when he heard an impact at the front of his car and found he’d struck Carter. Police say the cul-de-sac was dark and Carter was wearing dark clothes. Carter’s neighbors said she’d been sitting outside their house before she was struck while returning to her home.
HONOLULU (AP) — United Airlines has apologized to a Hawaii teacher who was forced to hold her 2-year-old son on her lap for three-and-a-half hours after an employee gave the toddler’s purchased seat to a standby passenger. Hawaii News Now reports that Shirley Yamauchi says she paid almost $1,000 each for two tickets because children over the age of 2 are required to have their own seat. She boarded the plane in Houston with her son, Taizo, and they took their seats. The Kapolei Middle School teacher says a flight attendant came to check if Taizo was present before a standby passenger showed up with a ticket with the toddler’s seat number. Yamauchi says she told a flight attendant about the problem, but the woman just shrugged, said the flight was full, and walked away. The company issued an apology five days after the incident.
GREGG COUNTY — A Gladewater man has been sentenced to two life sentences after pleading guilty to murdering his parents. According to KETK, Casey Douglas Lansdale, 42, pleaded guilty to capital murder Wednesday. He will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years. On January 22, Gladewater Police responded to a residence on North Main Street in reference to a welfare check on Raye and Charles Lansdale, both 68, who were reportedly missing. Officers found the two bodies inside the house. An autopsy revealed the couple had been fatally shot.
AUSTIN (AP) – Video cameras will be mounted inside Texas’ highest criminal court this year after legislation passed in May ended the court’s no-camera policy. The Austin American-Statesman reports that the cameras mounted in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin will allow oral arguments to be archived for later viewing and possibly watched live – the details are still being worked out. State Rep. Terry Canales, a Democrat from Edinburg, authored the camera legislation. He says, “Issues that affect our personal liberty will be decided at that court. I can’t wait to watch those unfold and be decided.” The Texas Supreme Court has been showing oral arguments online for a decade. The Legislature provided $346,000 to buy equipment and operate a courtroom video system for the next two years.
GALVESTON (AP) – Galveston County authorities say a 27-year-old Houston man has drowned while trying to save his 5-year-old son in an area at the west end of Galveston Island known for its treacherous rip currents. Deputies say Rufino Suarez and his son were among seven people in a kayak that flipped neared San Luis Pass. The boy was found unconscious but breathing and has been taken to a hospital. Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis says the father’s body was found later near a bridge over the pass that separates Galveston Island from Brazoria County. Authorities say neither Suarez nor his son was wearing a life jacket. Authorities had issued warnings about potentially strong currents and had singled out San Luis Pass as an area to avoid.
FRISCO (AP) – Police say Dallas Cowboys linebacker Damien Wilson has been arrested on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Frisco police say Wilson was arrested Tuesday outside of Toyota Stadium during the city’s Fourth of July celebration. Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas played Tuesday night at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, home to the Cowboys’ practice facility. Police say Wilson was released from jail after posting bond. They say the case remains under investigation and they won’t release additional information, including what kind of weapon was involved, at this time. Wilson is entering his third season with the Cowboys. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says the league is “looking into the matter to understand the facts.” Cowboys spokesman Scott Agulnek says the team is gathering information and didn’t have immediate comment. Agents for Wilson didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A Texas businessman who collected a Wisconsin Lottery jackpot that was rigged by his friend has admitted using the windfall for an investment scheme that produced another wave of undeserved government money. Court records show Robert Rhodes recently testified that he used the $783,000 payout to receive an additional $180,000 in bogus tax refunds. Rhodes sent $450,000 to the Caribbean to buy an insurance policy for a corporation that never did any business – except receive the lottery prize. He claimed the policy as a tax-deductible “business expense,” receiving refunds from the U.S. government and Wisconsin.… Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. military says that a U.S. Army soldier based in Texas was killed in southern Afghanistan. The U.S. says Pfc. Hansen B. Kirkpatrick, 19, of Wasilla, Alaska, was killed Monday in an indirect fire attack in Helmand Province. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas. Two soldiers were wounded in the attack. Their wounds aren’t considered life-threatening and they’re being treated at a coalition medical facility. There has been a recent increase in U.S. military deaths and injuries in Afghanistan as the fighting season with the Taliban becomes more intense and American forces work more closely with their Afghan partners in the battle. Hundreds of U.S. forces, including Marines, are in the south.
HOUSTON (AP) – A 39-year-old Houston man is accused of faking more than 700 vehicle inspections. Constable deputies say Damien Deon Oliver is charged with two felony counts of tampering with a governmental record after investigators determined he was allowing vehicles failing emission tests to be shown as passing the tests at a southwest Houston auto shop. The Houston Chronicle reports the practice is known as “clean scanning” and involves entering a vehicle identification number in computer records and then connecting the testing device to another vehicle. Harris County Constable Mark Herman says the fake tests contribute to air pollution and allow unsafe vehicles on the road. Oliver is held on $20,000 bond on each charge.
AUSTIN (AP) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has now raised more than $500,000 to pay for private attorneys who are defending him on criminal securities fraud charges. Financial statements released Wednesday show that the Republican last year received donations for his legal bills not just from Texas but from individuals and groups in Arizona, Arkansas and Virginia. They include the brother of Republican state Sen. Don Huffines and a suburban Dallas city councilman in Paxton’s hometown of McKinney. Paxton is prohibited from using taxpayer dollars or campaign contributions to pay for his personal legal defense. He was indicted shortly after taking office in 2015 on charges of misleading investors in a tech startup called Servergy. He has pleaded not guilty. A judge in Houston has yet to set a new trial date.
SMITH COUNTY — Two juveniles have confessed to a July 4th burglary. It happened at the Dollar General, 12125 Hwy 271, around 5:05 a.m. An unknown amount of cigarettes were taken during the burglary, which was caught on video. Later that day, the Smith County Sheriff’s office received a call from a parent advising that her son and another boy had committed a burglary. The boys, ages 15 and 13, confessed. Two cigarette packs were recovered from the teens. The remainder of the cigarettes had been given away. Both boys were identified as the subjects that were on the video from Dollar General. They were processed into the Juvenile Attention Center.
DALLAS (AP) – Dallas police say an 18-year-old man was fatally shot as two men stole his pickup at an apartment complex. Police said Wednesday that they are still searching for the suspects following the shooting early Tuesday morning of Oziel Garcia. Garcia’s brother, 19-year-old Isaar Garcia, said he heard the gunshot that killed his younger brother outside their home. He said he found his brother in the apartment complex’s breezeway, suffering from a gunshot wound to the neck. He said his brother was coming home after going to watch a Fourth of July fireworks celebration in nearby Addison. Isaar Garcia says his brother was always there for him. He says, “I feel heartbroken.”
ATHENS — A July 4th trespassing call ended with two men in the Henderson County Jail for possession of illegal drugs. According to Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse, Stephen Grant Ivie, 25, of Frankston, and Leslie Brian Kelley, 34, of Tyler. (pictured) were both arrested Tuesday in the Berryville area after it was reported that they were trespassing on property without the owner’s permission. The responding deputy found a clear plastic bag containing a crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine, a package of pills and marijuana. Ivie was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana. Kelley was arrested for possession of dangerous drugs. Both are in the Henderson County Jail awaiting arraignment.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – San Antonio police say an officer involved in a shootout with a suspect that left his partner dead has been released from the hospital. The San Antonio Express-News reports Officer Julio Cavazos was released Tuesday, five days after he was shot while investigating a reported vehicle break-in. His partner, Officer Miguel Moreno, was killed and the gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Salame says Cavazos and his family thank everyone for their “support during this difficult time.” Police officials previously said that Cavazos faces a long recovery. Authorities also announced Tuesday that the funeral service for Officer Moreno will take place Friday at Community Bible Church in San Antonio. A private burial will follow. Moreno was a 9-year veteran of the department.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – A historic Texas military band is preparing to play its final note. The 323rd Army Band at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio is one of four bands nationwide being deactivated next year. The band called Fort Sam’s Own performs roughly 350 times a year at military funerals, command changes and parades. The San Antonio Express-News reports the band will continue to play for months, but the 30-year-old unit will end its tour with San Antonio’s Fiesta festival in April 2018. The unit’s 54 members will then be scattered to army posts across the country. Army bands have decreased from 99 to 91 in recent years amid cost cutting. Fort Sam’s Own is the last in a continuous line of Fort Sam bands stretching back to the 1890s.
KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) – An attorney from Texas won a Key lime pie-eating contest in the Florida Keys. Trey Bergman of Houston devoured a 9-inch pie smothered with whipped cream in 51.92 seconds during Tuesday’s Mile-High Key Lime Pie Eatin’ Contest in Key West. The rules prohibit contestants from using their hands. Bergman wore a yellow bathing cap, saying it helped him cut through the whipped cream and pie to get to the crust faster. The competition drew 21 competitors and highlighted Key West’s annual Key Lime Festival. Other festival events included an offbeat Key Lime Pie Drop and tasting strolls featuring Key lime cocktails and pie. Key lime pie was designated Florida’s official pie in 2006 by state legislators.
MIDLAND (AP) – Authorities say a 28-year-old Midland man has been charged with capital murder in the death of a 5-month-old baby. Midland police say Timothy Allen Penn was charged with capital murder Monday after the baby died Sunday. The baby had been hospitalized since June 21. Police have said Penn was arrested June 22 after telling officers he struck the child multiple times. At that time, he was charged with injury to a child with intent to cause serious injury. He remained in Midland County jail Tuesday. Bond on the injury to a child charge was set at $250,000. Bond hadn’t been set yet for the capital murder charge. A message could not be left at a number listed for his attorney.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – San Antonio police say that the funeral service for the 32-year-old officer who was killed in a shootout with a suspect will take place Friday. Officer Miguel Moreno was shot in the head as he stepped out of his patrol car on Thursday to question a man about a vehicle break-in. Moreno died the next day. During the shootout, Moreno’s partner was injured and the gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. On Friday, a funeral procession of emergency vehicles will go to Community Bible Church in San Antonio, where a service will be held. A private burial will follow. The night before, a viewing will be held at a funeral home, followed by a service there. Moreno was a 9-year veteran of the department.
TYLER — Carter BloodCare in Tyler is working hard this summer to keep its supply up. According to a news release, a variety of Texans might need blood transfusions — ranging from motor vehicle accident victims to cancer patients fighting for a few more months of life. You can help by visiting one of several locations holding blood drives in Tyler in coming days. The events are scheduled for this Friday and Saturday as well as Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week, at three businesses and a couple of apartment complexes. Check http://www.ktbb.com/calendarofevents/ for more information. You can also go to http://www.carterbloodcare.org to learn more.