Category: State News
DeSOTO (AP/Staff) – Three people face charges after the driver of a stolen car backed into a Dallas-area police officer before being shot by another officer, according to authorities. The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office on Friday identified the suspects as Carl Eric Meyer, Paul Lee and his sister, Amanda Michelle Lee. Paul Lee was charged with evading arrest in Thursday’s incident in DeSoto, as police pursued a stolen truck. Officials say Lee wrecked the truck and jumped into a car carrying the other two suspects. Meyer was shot after the officer was struck. Meyer faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a public servant. Amanda Lee was charged with engaging in organized crime. Meyer was being held without bond. Jail records didn’t immediately list information for the Lees. Details on the injured officer weren’t released.
MIDLAND (AP) – A sexual assault suspect has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing a West Texas deputy as he tried to serve a warrant. Dan William Higgins of Midland pleaded guilty Thursday to capital murder and aggravated assault on a peace officer. The plea deal means Higgins avoids a possible death penalty for the Oct. 9 slaying of Midland County sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Naylor. Higgins was sought on an aggravated sexual assault warrant. Investigators say Naylor was shot in the head during an exchange of gunfire with the suspect. Higgins barricaded himself in the home for several hours before surrendering.
AUSTIN (AP/Staff) – The Texas Department of Public Safety has changed its valuation method for drug seizures, dramatically increasing their worth, a week before submitting a border operations report to lawmakers. The Austin American-Statesman reports that the department is now using 2012 data compiled by the White House based on national retail sales, rather than 2014 Drug Enforcement wholesale prices that are specific to Texas. The change comes as the department is seeking more money for border security. Officials say that they adopted the new method in order to rectify inconsistencies in prices used in local, state and federal illegal drug seizures in Texas. The calculations value the drugs seized during the Rio Grande Valley’s Operation Strong Safety at more than $1.8 billion. Under the old method, the seizure would only have been worth about $161 million.
AUSTIN (AP) – An ex-top adviser to former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has been sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison for stealing $2.5-plus million in campaign funds from the then-powerful Republican. Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield was sentenced Friday but remains free on bail until being assigned to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks also ordered Barfield to pay $2.5 million in restitution. Barfield ran Dewhurst’s unsuccessful 2012 U.S. Senate campaign. He had faced a longer sentence, but pleaded guilty in October to wire fraud, making a false tax return and embezzling federal campaign funds. Barfield also admitted to lying about his taxable income on his 2008 tax return, and owes the IRS nearly $430,000. Dewhurst lost his re-election bid and left office in January.
DALLAS (AP) – A Texas snowstorm has closed schools, snarled travel and forced a main highway to Oklahoma to shut down after dozens of vehicles slipped off the road. The Texas Department of Public Safety says U.S. 75 near Melissa, 25 miles north of Dallas, was closed for a time but northbound lanes reopened Friday afternoon. DPS says two vehicles were in a wreck, then other vehicles swerved to avoid the accident and went off the slick road. The Collin County Sheriff’s Office says nearly 20 vehicles were involved. At least seven travelers were treated for minor injuries. Flightaware.com reports nearly 400 arrivals and departures were canceled Friday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Lubbock received about 4 inches of snow. Schools in Lubbock, Abilene, Midland, Odessa and San Angelo canceled classes Friday.
IRVING (AP) – The Dallas area has had another minor earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey reports a 3.1 magnitude quake happened at 6:18 a.m. CST Friday. The quake was centered 3 miles east-northeast of Irving. Police in Irving had no immediate reports of damage or anyone hurt in Friday morning’s earthquake. Seismologists have said that dozens of small quakes rattling North Texas in recent months were concentrated along a narrow 2 mile subsurface fault. Experts from Southern Methodist University weeks ago placed more than 20 monitors around the quake sites and then determined the fault existed. Officials are still trying to figure out what’s been causing the earthquakes.
OXON HILL, Md. (AP) – Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry says the Islamic State group seizing territory in the Middle East represents the worst threat to freedom since communism. The likely Republican presidential contender spoke Friday morning in front of an audience of conservative activists at the second day of the annual CPAC convention just outside of Washington. The former governor has been studying up on foreign policy and trying to reintroduce himself to voters after a poorly-received 2012 run. Perry slammed President Barack Obama’s approach to dealing with world leaders, arguing that the world would be safer if the White House took a harder line approach. He also touted his efforts as governor to secure his state’s border with Mexico and said any conversation about immigration reform has to begin with border security.