WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Tyler was on hand for today’s ceremony at Ft. Hood, where 45 Purple Heart and Defense of Freedom medals have been presented to soldiers and others who were shot by former Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan in 2009. Gohmert released the following statement regarding the ceremony:
“This week has been years late in coming; but, I am so thrilled to see that after years of complaining to the military and this administration, we will finally see the proper honor and medical support provided for the 32 who were injured and proper military honor for the thirteen American patriots who were brutally murdered on November 5, 2009 in Fort Hood, Texas. … Read More
TYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler has collaborated with the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County to form a center in Tyler designed to expand outreach and learning opportunities for the East Texas community and UT Tyler students, Dr. Wesley Hickey, College of Education and Psychology interim dean, announced. Services through the UT Tyler Memory Assessment and Research Center will include the assessment of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients as well as counseling to help family members, caregivers, and others affected by these disorders. The community will continue to benefit from the services already provided by the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County, in addition to the services made available by the UT Tyler Department of Psychology and Counseling at the center, according to a UTT news release. … Read More
PALESTINE — The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office has released more details in connection with the murder of Michael Cecil Espinosa. According to KETK, investigators determined the suspects were allegedly collecting “dope” or money or both when they reportedly shot Espinosa, said the Sheriff’s Office. The 34-year-old man was found on a porch with a gunshot wound at a home in the 3000 block of FM 320. He later died at a Palestine hospital. … Read More
LONGVIEW (Staff/AP) — The Longview Police Department has released a suicide note found on 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard, who was fatally shot by police earlier this year. The official autopsy for Coignard revealed she was carrying a “suicide type note” among her belongings when she confronted officers in the police department lobby, according to KETK and the Longview News-Journal. … Read More
MARSHALL — Marshall police captured three juveniles Wednesday afternoon who were far from the detention center they escaped. According to KETK, police say the detainees left the Gulf Coast Trade Center in New Waverly. At around 3:42 p.m., the Marshall Police Department learned the juveniles were believed to be in the area of the 1300 block of W. Pinecrest. Officers headed to the location stopped to speak with a person at the corner of Calvert and Scenic Loop. The juvenile was in turn arrested for escape. A short time later, two other escapees were caught in the Brookshire’s parking lot. The juveniles were transferred to the Willoughby Juvenile Detention Center.
TYLER – Authorities in Smith County have arrested 25 parents who allegedly violated court orders requiring them to pay child support. That’s according to a news release from the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Sheriff Larry Smith led the effort, with assistance from the Tyler and Troup Police Departments; the Smith County Community Supervision and Corrections Department; and constables from precincts 2, 3, 4, and 5. Thursday’s sweep was conducted in conjunction with the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division. … Read More
AUSTIN (AP) – Lawmakers Thursday began grilling Uber executives about safety concerns at a House committee hearing on a bill that would set statewide regulations for ride-hailing firms. Marshall Republican Rep. Chris Paddie said Thursday that his proposal seeks to charge companies a $115,000 annual registration fee to offset implementation costs. The committee planned to debate his measure but not immediately approve it on to the full House. Uber pulled out of San Antonio because of local ordinances, but backs the bill since it would supersede local rules by letting the company operate statewide. Paddie’s measure also mandates that ride-hailing firms conduct background checks, which they say they already do – although some lawmakers want fingerprinting required. Recently, a Houston Uber driver who’d passed a background check was arrested on for alleged sexual assault.
SMITH COUNTY – East Texas game wardens have found the body of a missing boater who disappeared on Lake Palestine. On Wednesday, in the Noonday area of the lake, a 77-year-old man who was fishing from his boat went missing near The Villages Resort. Family members first alerted authorities that A. Reed Franklin had not returned from a fishing trip. Smith County officials tell KETK the man left to go fishing around 7:00 p.m., and about an hour later, his boat was found empty. At around 11 a.m. on Thursday, a search team found Franklin’s body north of the Villages marina. Officials say he died from drowning. Game Warden Quint Balkcom said Franklin was from the Smith County area.
SMITH COUNTY — One man is in custody and a second person is still wanted following a Smith County manhunt. According to KETK, Sheriff Larry Smith says a vehicle was stolen in Tyler and stopped by the Smith County Precinct 5 Constable’s Office on Highway 69. Two individuals got out of the vehicle and ran from officials. Lt. Gary Middleton said a man was captured behind Tyler Pipe on County Road 4215, where the automobile was dumped. The suspect was identified as Todd Allen, 19, of Oakwood. Officials say he was found hiding behind a travel trailer behind a house. … Read More
LUFKIN — Lufkin police have arrested a woman accused of following up on her threat to pour hot grease on her live-in boyfriend while he was sleeping on Tuesday. According to KETK, Felicia L. Polk, 50, is charged with second-degree aggravated assault and Class C possession of drug paraphernalia. Officers responded to the 300 block of Humason Avenue around 3 a.m. in reference to a disturbance. It was reported by the victim that Polk had poured what he thought was grease all over him while he was in bed. The victim said she was still at the home and was trying to boil another pot to pour on him. He said Polk had been drinking all day and was very drunk.… Read More
QUITMAN — The Wood County Sheriff’s Office announces the arrests of two men last week during a drug raid at a home on FM 1643. According to KETK, during the execution of the search warrant on April 2, authorities found several people inside the home and three more reportedly ran from the back of the house. Investigators say they chased the suspects and caught two men, Ronald Yates (pictured) and Terry Shane Davis. Davis, of Quitman, was reportedly found to be in possession of methamphetamine at the time of his arrest. Ronald Yates, of Winnsboro, is the owner of the home on FM 1643.… Read More
TYLER — The Smith County Veterans Service Office is hosting media tours and an open house of its newly decorated facility at 210 E. Ferguson on Tuesday, April 14. Veterans Service Officer Michael Roark and Assistant Veterans Service Officers Andrea Odom and Colt Webb are hosting media tours from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and are inviting the public for an open house until 4 p.m. Formerly housed in the Cotton Belt Building, the Veterans Service Office moved to its current location in April 2013. … Read More
TYLER — The Tyler City Council Wednesday awarded the sale of the Fair Foundation Building (FFB), the Lindsey Building, and the attached vacant lot to the highest bidder, Invest In Tyler, LLC. According to a city news release, the sale of the Fair Foundation Building was advertised in the newspaper for three consecutive weeks and subsequently posted in an online auction with Auctioneer Express. The auction ended on March 18, with a maximum bid of $678,888 given by Invest in Tyler, LLC. Sealed bids for the sale of the Lindsey Building and attached vacant lot were solicited in the newspaper for two consecutive weeks and then opened on March 24. The highest bid was for $888,888. … Read More
TYLER — A familiar face is throwing his hat back in the ring for the position of Smith County sheriff. KETK reports that former Game Warden Chris Green, 53, announced Wednesday at the Smith County Courthouse Annex that he would run for sheriff in 2016. In 2012, Green ran against Donn Rust, Bobby Garmon, and current Sheriff Larry Smith. A runoff between Green and Smith was required with Smith, a former ATF agent, walking away with 53 percent of the vote. Rust was a former deputy constable with Smith County Precinct 3, and Garmon held the position of chief deputy under past sheriff J.B. Smith. After conceding to Smith in the previous runoff, Green began working as a landman. … Read More
MT. PLEASANT — An East Texas man has been arrested for possession of child pornography. Mount Pleasant Police Detectives Monday arrested Timothy Paul Rovell, 41, for child porn possession. According to KETK, detectives received a criminal complaint about Rovell from Arkansas State Police on an unrelated criminal offense which lead investigators to the suspect. During an interview with Rovell, detectives determined he had child pornography on numerous electronic devices. The devices were seized and will be examined further by the FBI forensics lab to recover additional information. Rovell was booked into the Titus County Jail with bail pending. This is an ongoing investigation that could result in additional charges against Rovell.
HALLSVILLE – A Hallsville man has died in a motorcycle accident. The accident occurred just before 9:00 Monday night on Farm Road 450 just off U.S. Highway 80. Steven Ullrich, 39, reportedly slid off his motorcycle while trying to avoid a car. He was pronounced dead at a Longview hospital. According to the Longview News Journal, Hallsville Police Chief Paul Montoya said officers were investigating circumstances surrounding the death.
MANSFIELD (AP) – Authorities say a 44-year-old man being held on drug charges has died in a Mansfield jail. The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office identified the man as Wendale Webb of Emory. Fort Worth police say Webb was arrested after officers found him inside a vehicle with less than 2 ounces of marijuana on him. He was transferred Sunday night from the Fort Worth jail to the Mansfield jail. Mansfield police spokesman Officer Thad Penkala says that Webb was found unresponsive shortly afterward in a holding cell. Jail staff and Mansfield emergency personnel tried to revive Webb, but he was pronounced dead early Monday. The medical examiner didn’t release a cause or manner of death as of Monday night.
UPSHUR COUNTY — New Diana coach Keith McKinley, who had been hospitalized in Dallas after suffering a heart attack on March 29, died on Tuesday. According to the Longview News-Journal and KETK, New Diana head football coach and athletic director Brett Ratliff confirmed McKinley’s death. McKinley, who coached football, basketball and baseball at New Diana, collapsed due to a heart-related ailment and was flown to a Dallas hospital. He was 40. McKinley was at New Diana for two years. He was the special teams coordinator in football and the first assistant in both basketball and baseball. McKinley was previously the head baseball coach and defensive coordinator at Ore City. He is survived by his wife, Nikki, and three children.
PALESTINE – Two persons have been arrested in Anderson County with the Easter Sunday murder of Michael Cecil Espinosa, 34. Charged with murder are James Robert Kennedy, 26, and Juan Fernando Rangel, 35. Each are under a $1 million. Sheriff Taylor says Kennedy was arrested around 3:34 Tuesday afternoon at the Whispering Pine Apartments in Palestine. A short time later Rangel was arrested in Crockett.… Read More
VAN ZANDT COUNTY — An East Texas couple confesses to stealing from graves. Van Zandt County Constable Pat Jordan says Ruby Brown and her husband, Jackie, were caught stealing brass plaques from grave sites and selling them at scrapyards. Jordan says he knows people come upon hard times, but that they just can’t resort to stealing, especially “from cemeteries and so forth — there’s no excuse for that.” He says the two were using the money to buy drugs. They’ll face four years’ probation.
MARSHALL — The East Texas Baptist University Board of Trustees has elected Dr. J. Blair Blackburn of Dallas as the university’s next president. The announcement came from ETBU Board of Trustees chair Hal Cornish after a special called trustee meeting Tuesday afternoon. Dr. Blackburn will succeed Dr. Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver, who left to become the president of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, on June 1, 2014. … Read More
TYLER — Officials with UT Health Northeast announced that Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s free public cancer conference on Prevention and Early Detection. It’s scheduled for Saturday, April 25, at the UT Health Academic Center Amphitheater. The public event will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and includes continental breakfast and lunch. Presentations conclude at 1:30 p.m. The annual cancer conference is provided as a public service for those who are interested in learning more about early detection, treatment, and advancements in cancer care. Physicians and nurses who attend for a fee will be eligible for continuing education credits. … Read More
EAST TEXAS (Staff/AP) — Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers executed arrest warrants Tuesday morning in Wood and Van Zandt Counties as a result of sealed indictments handed down from both a Van Zandt County grand jury and a federal grand jury. KETK reports a seven-month-long investigation conducted by the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office, the Canton Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives yielded the indictments. Officials say at least 16 people were arrested. … Read More
EAST TEXAS — Two Texas Baptist universities, East Texas Baptist and Houston Baptist, go to federal court today demanding exemption from having to provide birth control in their health care plans. It’s essentially the same as the Hobby Lobby case. But attorney Adele Keim of the Becket Fund says the Obama administration has refused to extend that Supreme Court ruling to religious-affiliated universities. She says this case, heard by the Fifth Court of Appeals in Houston, could affect Christian affiliated colleges from Notre Dame to Brigham Young, as well as all religious charities.
LONGVIEW — One person has been killed in a head-on collision near Longview. It happened just before 12:00 Monday afternoon on Farm Road 2208 near Alpine Road in Harrison County. Rachel Elizabeth DeLorme, 19, of Hallsville, was pronounced dead at the scene. According to the Department of Public Safety report, DeLorme’s car swerved into oncoming traffic and collided with a pickup driven by Phillip Lamar Martindale, of Arp. Martindale was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.… Read More
TYLER — A senior Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) student at John Tyler High School, Breana Mobley, received first place in the Joseph S. Raumbaugh Oration Contest hosted by the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) at their state convention in Houston. Breana will represent the Texas SAR as she competes in the National Sons of the American Revolution Congress Convention June 28 in Louisville, Kentucky. In the Oration contest, contestants prepare and deliver a speech that must be original, no less than five minutes or more than six minutes, and must discuss an event, personality, or document that pertains to the Revolutionary War. The event discussed must also show a relationship to America today.… Read More
UNDATED (AP) — A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will meet with the NFL on Tuesday to discuss his playing status. The person spoke Monday to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information. Peterson, a Palestine, Texas native, was suspended under the NFL’s personal conduct policy through at least April 15 due to a child abuse case involving his young son, a decision he appealed. Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he planned to meet with Peterson before that date to determine his status.
TYLER – A policy change has been instituted at the Smith County Sheriff’s Department pertaining to the timely filing of cases. According to a news release, the policy change states, Pursuant to Texas Criminal Code, Article 17.151, within 90 days, a defendant accused of a felony and detained in jail pending trial of an accusation against him must be released either on personal bond or by reducing the amount of bail required, if the state is not ready for trial of the criminal action for which the defendant is being detained. In such a case, a judge makes the determination of personal bond or reduced bail, but does not dismiss the charges for which the defendant was jailed. … Read More
TYLER — There was a school bus crash near the intersection of Loop 323 and the Old Troup Highway in Tyler Monday afternoon. It occurred shortly before 3:45. A pickup struck the rear of the bus as it was preparing to stop at the railroad tracks. There were only a few students aboard the bus and none were injured.
PALESTINE — Several agencies are investigating an Easter Sunday homicide in Anderson County. According to KETK, Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor says deputies were dispatched to a home in the 3000 block of FM 320 at around 6:06 p.m. When law enforcement made it to the scene, they found a man on the front porch of the house with an apparent gunshot wound to his abdomen. The victim was take to a Palestine hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The man was identified as 34-year-old Michael Cecil Espinosa. An autopsy was performed in Tyler on Monday. Taylor said officials are awaiting the results. … Read More