Category: Local News Archive

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Smith County Deputies Investigate Noonday Bank Robbery

caddyNOONDAY – Smith County Sheriff’s Deputies continue their investigation an early morning bank robbery. Shortly after 7:00 Friday morning, dispatchers with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call reporting that the Austin Bank, located at 16909 Highway 155 South in Noonday, had been robbed. A small-framed black male who was wearing an ace bandage over his face held a female employee at gunpoint as she arrived for work and prepared to enter the building. The robber instructed the woman to take him into the bank. She complied, and the robber left the bank with an undetermined amount of money using her vehicle as the getaway car, according to officials. The woman was not harmed. The vehicle is a white diamond colored 2009 Cadillac CTS 4-door, Texas license plate number CJ7 Z230. Read the rest of this entry »

Person of Interest Questioned after House Fire

lviewhousefireLONGVIEW — One person was detained by the Longview Police Department following a house fire. The blaze broke out on the 1200 block of Chad Street around 4:30 Thursday afternoon. The back of the home, living room and kitchen were heavily damaged by heat and smoke before the fire was contained. According to KETK, one person was taken into custody for questioning by officers but their identity is unknown. Fire officials are currently investigating the blaze. The cause has not been determined, but officials did report the fire began in the living room. One person has been displaced.

Double Homicide Suspect Moved; $2 Million Bail

604640051727LONGVIEW — The man accused of murdering two people in a Longview home was transferred from Smith County to the Gregg County Jail Wednesday, and his bail has been set at $2 million. Isaiah Christopher Roberts, 36, of Tyler, had been held in the Smith County Jail since he was caught following a multi-county chase, ending in Tyler. KETK reports the pursuit began after Roberts allegedly shot and killed two people in the 300 block of Thelma Street in Longview Sunday morning. The victims were identified as Robert’s ex-wife Chanda Martin, 38, and her friend Kimberly Rayson, 35. Read the rest of this entry »

Grand Jury No-Bills Case of Longview Woman Hit, Killed by Car

tabithafacebookLONGVIEW — A case in which a Longview woman was hit and killed by a car in December 2013 has been no-billed, according to the Gregg County District Attorney’s Office. KETK reports Tabitha Rodriguez was struck and killed by a vehicle December 21 on South Green Street in Longview. The Longview Police Department investigated the circumstances surrounding the victim’s death, including the initial and follow-up investigations and interviews. In January of this year, an individual who believed they might have been involved in Rodriguez’s death contacted the Longview Police Department and provided information. After investigating the circumstances, police delivered their findings to the Gregg County District Attorney’s Office for presentation to a grand jury to determine if sufficient probable cause existed to bring any charges; the grand jury decided such probable cause did not exist.

Child Sex Assault Defendant Found Not Guilty

michaelchalmersmugLONGVIEW — According to Longview criminal defense attorney Hayward Rigano, his client Michael James Chalmers, 43, has been found not guilty of continuous sexual abuse of a child. Rigano tells KETK three charges were tried under the continuous abuse charge, which is the highest of the three felonies. As a result of the exoneration, the charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child and sexual performance by child will be dropped. “My client is very glad to be done with this,” Rigano said. The trial took place in Gregg County’s 124th District Court. A 16-year-old girl had accused Chalmers of sexually assaulting her in 2011.

Fired Deputy Pleads Not Guilty to Animal Cruelty

dooleymiddletonfamilyvidEMORY (AP) – A fired East Texas sheriff’s deputy has pleaded not guilty to an animal cruelty charge in the shooting of a farm dog that was later euthanized. KLTV reports a lawyer for Jerrod Dooley entered the plea Wednesday in Emory. Rains County Sheriff David Traylor fired Dooley, saying the rookie deputy used bad judgment during the April 18 burglary call near Point. The sheriff’s office and Dooley received numerous threats following the shooting of a blue heeler named Candy. Dooley has said the dog charged him before he opened fire. Jail records show Dooley was arrested May 27 and was freed the next day on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. His attorney, Pete Schulte of Dallas, says a necropsy shows the bullet Dooley fired wasn’t fatal and that the dog might have survived had its owner not drowned it to euthanize it.

Athens PD Arrests Teen in Connection with Murder

raheemmillerhendersoncoATHENS — Athens Police have reported the arrest of one person related to the June 8 murder of Cedrick Collins. On Tuesday, Raheem Mark Miller, 18, of Athens, was arrested on a capital murder warrant and booked into the Henderson County Justice Center. KETK reports bond on Miller has been set at $2 million. Collins, 23, of Malakoff, was found lying beside his vehicle in the 700 Block of Robbins Road on June 8 with what appeared to be a gunshot wound. Collins was transported to the local hospital and died a short time later. Based on information developed during the investigation, officials say Collins was shot during the course of being robbed. Read the rest of this entry »

Cowan Center Continues Promoting 2014-2015 Season

thumb_uttylerTYLER — Personnel with the UT Tyler Cowan Center are getting the word out about the facility’s recently-announced 18th season. The 2014-2015 highlights include Larry The Cable Guy, Justice Clarence Thomas, “Sister Act,” and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis Holiday Show. KTBB’s Bill Coates recently sat down with Cowan Center Executive Director Susan Thomae-Morphew for a full-length interview. You can go to Susan Thomae-Morphew Interview to hear their conversation in its entirety. Read the rest of this entry »

Nugent Family Wants Voice in Bernie Tiede Case

bernie_panolaEAST TEXAS — Marjorie Nugent’s family members are asking the state’s highest criminal court to hear their side as it weighs a motion that could free Bernie Tiede from a life sentence he was serving for Nugent’s murder. According to KETK, Nugent family spokesman Ryan Gravatt of Austin said Wednesday the family also has sent Panola County District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson a letter asking why he agreed Tiede should be freed after serving 15 years of a life sentence jurors handed him in 1999. Tiede left Carthage on special probation this past month after Davidson said he would have prosecuted Tiede under a lesser charge had newly uncovered evidence been available before the trial.

Injured Oncor Worker Sent to Dallas Hospital

OncorRUSK — Treatment continues for an Oncor worker injured while repairing a utility pole in Rusk. The worker was initially flown to a Tyler hospital following the Wednesday morning incident. He was then transferred to a Dallas hospital burn unit for further treatment. His name has not been released. Oncor spokesman Charles Hill told KETK a second crew was sent to repair major outages reported in the area. The incident is under investigation.

Two Busted on Drug Charges in Henderson County

Landon Wayne WyrickSEVEN POINTS – Henderson County authorities have arrested two suspects on a variety of narcotic charges. Landon Wayne Wyrick and Alona Betty Rodriguez, 32, were arrested as law officers executed a search warrant at a home in Seven Points just after 5:00 Wednesday morning. KETK reports officers recovered a quantity of suspected methamphetamine, suspected xanax and three handguns. Wyrick was charged with manufacture/deliver of a controlled substance penalty group 1 over four but under 20 grams. Rodriguez was charged with possession of a controlled substance

Baylor, TJC Announce Partnership on New “Baylor Bound” Transfer Program

thumb_tjc-logoTYLER — Baylor University and Tyler Junior College officials Wednesday announced the creation of a formal Baylor Bound program that will help students transfer more easily between the two institutions and will also continue to expand educational opportunities for young people all across Texas. That’s according to a TJC news release. TJC President L. Michael Metke and Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr signed the partnership agreement during a ceremony in the board room of TJC’s White Administrative Services Building. According to the release, beginning in fall 2015, the Baylor Bound program will serve highly motivated TJC students who, upon meeting the program’s criteria, will transfer to Baylor toward the goal of completing their undergraduate degree. Read the rest of this entry »

82 Years for Attempted Kidnapping of Students

CedrickLewisMug.1403108133PALESTINE — A man convicted of trying to steal a Palestine ISD school bus full of students was sentenced by an Anderson County jury to 82 years in prison Tuesday. KETK reports Cedrick B. Lewis, 31, was convicted on 20 of 30 counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of unlawful use of a motor vehicle. He was sentenced to 80 years on each count of kidnapping; those sentences will run concurrently. The suspect will serve an additional two years for the motor vehicle conviction. He was also fined a total of $210,000. Read the rest of this entry »

Winona Rescinds Boil Water Notice

thumb_boilingwater-2WINONA — The city of Winona has canceled the boil water notice issued on Monday. According to City Administrator Bryan Richards, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has given permission to lift the notice and stated the water is safe. According to KETK, city officials first issued the notice after the chlorine pump at Well #5 failed and was replaced.

Lindale Superintendent Shared Thoughts About STAAR Test

Stan SurrattLINDALE — Many students, parents and now school superintendents are frustrated with the State Assessments of Academic Readiness test or better known as the STAAR test. According to KETK, Lindale ISD superintendent Stan Surratt wrote a letter to parents assuring them that this test does not define their kids. The letter is getting state wide attention, and a lot of other administrators are following suite. The Lindale ISD also got an overwhelmingly positive response from parents. Read the rest of this entry »

Fatal Smith County Wreck

DPS badgeSMITH COUNTY – A one vehicle accident in Smith County has left one person dead and one injured. Dead at the scene on Farm Road 14, near John Soules Foods, was Brandon Knowles, 26, of Tyler. Injured was a passenger, Leslie Wilkins, 23, of Tyler. The Department of Public Safety reports Knowles’ car was south bound when it left the road and overturned. The accident occurred Monday evening around 10:30.

No Decision on Longview School Superintendent

Horace Williams2LONGVIEW – In a meeting lasting just over two hours, Longview school trustees made no decision about their superintendent finalist. Controversy continues after an initial search narrowed the candidates down to current Assistant Superintendent Horace Williams. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report school board negotiations first stalled over Williams’ salary demands. Since Williams’ apparent appointment was made public, though, questions have been raised over his history. That most recently included filed grievances, questionable employee hiring, extensive travel logs and financial deficits at Cedar Hill schools, the Dallas-area district he previously served as superintendent.

Lindale PD Warns of Phone Scam

thumb_police-4LINDALE — Lindale police are warning of a scam in East Texas that has popped up locally. According to KETK, police say groups of men are calling people stating they are either federal agents or members of a federal Texas police force. The caller will then say the recipient has won money or applied for a grant. The scam is to get personal information or ask you to send money to secure funds to be transferred to your account. If a person does not cooperate, the callers begin a tirade of verbal abuse and repeated calling, according to authorities. Police ask you not to continue the call once you learn the scam has started. Law enforcement advises residents to hang up and continue to do so when the calls continue. Do not engage in conversation or arguments.

County Receives National Award for eBond Program

image002TYLER — Smith County has received the prestigious National Association of Counties Achievement Award for developing a first-of-its-kind electronic bond posting system that has streamlined the process of bonding individuals out of jail and saved the County thousands of dollars in labor. That’s according to a county news release. The “Smith County eBond Program” was awarded the Achievement Award for the category of Information Technology, which highlights outstanding innovation and advancement of information technology in county governments, according to the release. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Seek Two Suspected of Snatching Wallet, Using Credit Cards

tylerrobbers061714TYLER — The Tyler Police Department is seeking the help of the public in identifying two people who are believed to have stolen a wallet from a vehicle and used the credit cards. The picture shows the suspects entering the Wal-Mart on Highway 64 West, where they allegedly charged hundreds of dollars on the stolen cards. According to KETK, if you recognize the people in the picture or know of their location, you should contact Detective Brock at (903) 535-0122.

Officials: Harrison County Jailer Killed in Accidental Shooting

thumb_Harrison-County-Sheriffs-DepartmentMARSHALL — A Harrison County jailer was killed after his gun accidentally discharged. Deon John Adams, 22, of Marshall, was found dead at his home in the 900 block of Alvin Street around 12:45 yesterday morning said Harrison County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Jay Webb. The Marshall Police Department responded to the scene. KETK reports Adams had been a jailer with the sheriff’s office since last August. No foul play is suspected.

UTT, KC Launch Nursing Degree Partnership Program

IMG_9840-drmabry-nursingKILGORE – As part of a recent partnership initiative designed to expand opportunities for student success in the Gregg County area, The University of Texas at Tyler and Kilgore College have launched the Roadmap to Success Program. “Our nursing program at the Longview University Center and Kilgore College’s nursing program have been strong partners for many years. We are excited to announce the next phase of collaboration, which will help high school students transition seamlessly from Kilgore College to the bachelor’s degree nursing program at UT Tyler’s Longview University Center,” said UT Tyler President Rodney H. Mabry. Read the rest of this entry »

Gilmer Man Sentenced for Murder

Eddie BakerGILMER — An East Texas man convicted of murder has been sentenced to prison. Eddie Baker, 28, Gilmer, was sentenced to 45 years behind bars after pleading guilty last week to several charges, including murder. According to KETK, in February of last year, Baker stabbed three people, killing one of them after an argument turned violent.

Trial of Accused Murderer Postponed

cardwell__cedric_gcsoLONGVIEW — The trial for a Longview man accused of murder has been postponed. KETK reports the trial of Cedric Bernard Carldwell, 43, was originally scheduled to begin this week. Carldwell allegedly shot and killed Huey “Bull” Gray April 14 of last year during an argument at a neighborhood party in the 400 block of Walnut Street. Carldwell was taken into custody the following day but was released on $175,000 bond. He was re-arrested 10 days later, when he was allegedly found to be in the possession of a firearm. Being a felon, one of the restrictions placed on Cardlwell after his 2007 prison release was he was not allowed to own or carry a gun. Read the rest of this entry »

Boil Water Notice in Winona

boilingwater-2WINONA – Until further notice, Winona is under a boil water notice. The problem is low chlorine residuals. The chlorine pump at the city’s Well 5 location failed and had to be replaced. The system is back in operation but the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says, until they can test the well, the boil water notice must remain.

Texas State Railroad Hauling More Than Passengers

Texas State RailroadPALESTINE — Short-haul freight service has resumed at the Texas State Railroad after a 45 year absence. This is the first revenue generating freight service on the railroad’s line since Iowa Pacific Holdings, LLC took over as operator in August 2012, and the first on the railroad since before it became a historic passenger train operated by the state of Texas through Texas Parks and Wildlife. The last freight hauler was Texas Southeastern Railroad, which leased the line in the 1960’s and gave up the lease in 1969. Read the rest of this entry »

Longview Trustees to Discuss Superintendent Finalist

Horace WilliamsLONGVIEW — Longview school trustees meet this evening to continue their discussions about their superintendent finalist. Controversy continues after an initial search narrowed the candidates down to current Assistant Superintendent Horace Williams. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report school board negotiations first stalled over Williams’ salary demands. Since Williams’ apparent appointment was made public, though, questions have been raised over his history. That most recently included filed grievances, questionable employee hiring, extensive travel logs and financial deficits at Cedar Hill schools, the Dallas-area district he previously served as superintendent.

Man Draws Life Sentences for Gregg County Robberies

Robby Brian StevensLONGVIEW – A man sentenced to three life prison sentences for aggravated robbery in Upshur County, now has four more on his ledger. Robby Brian Stevens, 43, of Leander, appeared in state district court in Longview Monday morning. He pled guilty to four counts of aggravated robbery in Gregg County. He was sentenced to four more life sentences. They will be served concurrently with the life sentences from Upshur County. Stevens was captured in Tyler on January 2nd following a manhunt of several hours.

Roadwork on ESE Loop 323 Delayed a Day

thumb_TxDotTYLER – Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews were scheduled on Monday to complete several days of weather-interrupted work on South Loop 323 between Broadway Avenue and Paluxy Drive. But the work was halted by equipment failure. Crews will not be able to continue and finish the work until today.

Silver Alert is Cancelled: Man is Safe

marvingardnerpicATHENS — A Silver Alert has been canceled in Henderson County after a missing man was found. Authorities had been looking for Marvin Delbert Gardner, 82. He is diagnosed with a cognitive impairment. He had last been seen around 8:15 Sunday night at 7907 Farm to Market Road 2494 in Athens. Law enforcement officials said it was believe that his disappearance posed a credible threat to his health and safety. In cancelling the Silver Alert Monday, authorities said he has been found and is safe. No other information was released.

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