Category: Local News Archive

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Tax Preparer Indicted in SYAM Tax Service Scheme

Eastern District of Texas SealBEAUMONT — A Dallas tax preparer has been indicted for federal violations in East Texas. Shannon Tecoko Mays, 36, has been indicted by a federal grand jury charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to prosecutors, an investigation began in August 2012 in response to numerous complaints to state and federal authorities from citizens in Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Port Arthur and Anahuac regarding income tax returns that were being fraudulently prepared on their behalf. During the investigation, it was discovered that Mays was operating numerous offices across the United States under the name “Syam Tax Services, L.L.C.” and “Baby Momma Tax.” Although the principal office was located in Dallas, Mays also operated or sought to operate satellite offices in numerous other locations, including Fort Worth, Houston, New Orleans, Memphis, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry »

Tiede Seeks Lighter Penalty for Rich Widow’s Death

bernie_tiede_news_journalCARTHAGE (Staff/AP) — According to documents released by the Panola County District Attorney’s Office, previously unsealed documents prompted a reinvestigation of Bernie Tiede’s case. That’s according to KETK. The documents are regarding a newspaper article written by Tiede’s nephew stating Tiede was severely sexually abused as a child but the state has been unable to verify the history of his childhood. With a heavy presence in a courtroom, Tiede entered with his attorney, Jodi Cole, around 1:00pm, seeking a motion to present relief for sentencing with new evidence and to discuss a pending felony theft charge against Tiede. Read the rest of this entry »

Man Gets 30 Years for Several Burglaries

joshua_shapley_book_in_henderson_county_jailATHENS — A Chandler man, 31-year-old Joshua Shapley, has been sentenced in Athens to 30 years in prison after being convicted of several burglaries that happened last spring. KETK reports that during one burglary, deputies with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office were called to a home that had been broken into off Anderson County Road 3030. The owner of the home had left for work and came home to find her home had been ransacked and her television, shotgun, and jewelry had been stolen. Hours later a DPS trooper noticed during a traffic stop that Shapley was in possession of several items matching the description of the items taken. Read the rest of this entry »

Perry Renews Call for Keystone XL Approval

thumb_rick_perry-2AUSTIN — Governor Perry says it’s time for the president to quit stalling and approve the Keystone XL pipeline project. The governor says the State Department announcement that the pipeline would not negatively impact the environment should be enough for President Obama to act. Perry remarked, “The president of the United States knows this is good for this country.” He says the labor unions are pushing to get the project done “and the North American region could become economically and energy secure.” Appearing on CNBC, Perry said the pipeline is state-of-the-art, with satellite monitoring and automatic shutoff valves. The White House says the president will decide once other cabinet members review it. The southern leg of the pipeline runs through part of Smith County and other sections of East Texas.

Man Gets 40 Years in Child Sex Case

Casey PhillipsGILMER — An East Texas man has been sentenced to 40 years for the aggravated sexual assault of a child. According to the Upshur County District Attorney’s Office, Casey Phillips, 34, had pleaded guilty. KETK reports he must serve at least half of his sentence before he will be eligible for parole. If released, he must register as a sex offender for life. The case came to light after an investigation in Harrison County involving the Hallsville Police Department. Evidence showed that in 2010, Phillips lived in New Diana and the victim was nine years old. Phillips was indicted for the offense in November 2013.

Florida Man Charged with Animal Cruelty in Smith County

Gaylord StevensLINDALE — A Florida man has been arrested in Smith County on animal cruelty charges. The Lindale Police Department reports the arrest of Gaylord Stevens, 64, of Pensacola. His bond was set at $2,000. The police department has seized the horses and they are now being cared for by a veterinarian.

Woman Accused of Stealing Mail

kilgoremailmugKILGORE — An East Texas woman is behind bars accused of stealing residents’ mail. KETK reports Rashunda Renee Butler, 31, of Kilgore, was booked into the Kilgore Municipal Jail Saturday. She was charged with fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of marijuana. Read the rest of this entry »

City Seeking Input on Draft Updates for Tyler 1st Plan

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — As part of the Tyler 1st comprehensive planning process, the City of Tyler is seeking input from residents on the draft updates Plan before it is presented to the City Council for adoption. The City will host a public open house from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. today at the Rose Garden Center in the Camilla Room, 420 Rose Park Drive. Read the rest of this entry »

Woman Accused of Stealing Mail

Rashunda Renee ButlerKILGORE — An East Texas woman is behind bars accused of stealing residents’ mail. KETK reports Rashunda Renee Butler, 31, of Kilgore, was booked into the Kilgore Municipal Jail Saturday. She was charged with fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of marijuana. Read the rest of this entry »

Man Held on Kidnapping, Human Trafficking Charges

thumb_police-5LONE STAR — An East Texas man is accused of kidnapping a woman he allegedly tried to sell. Lone Star Police Chief Larry Fleet says Anthony Dewayne Hopkins, 45, had been drinking when he asked a woman to take him home. Fleet says he then kidnapped her, taking her to Titus, Morris, and Marion Counties to try to sell her for drugs. According to Fleet, one would-be customer was on to Hopkins and helped the girl escape. Calling the incident “one of the most hideous crimes that you can commit,” Fleet says Hopkins has done this before. He says the drug in question was likely crack cocaine. Hopkins is charged with kidnapping and human trafficking. Bonds total $600,000.

Tyler Main Street Program Recognized

thumb_tyler-mainstreetTYLER — Tyler has been commended for successful annual progress as a designated Main Street community by the Texas Historical Commission. Tyler’s Main Street program was reaccredited with a near perfect score. 63 designated Main Street programs in Texas were recognized. Tyler’s score of 105.5 out of a possible 106 was the second-highest in the state for communities of comparable size. Read the rest of this entry »

City of Tyler Plans System-wide Outage

TYLER — The City of Tyler IT Department will be making necessary upgrades to the network on Feb. 5, according to a news release. The upgrade process begins at 12:01 a.m., and city officials said it should take approximately four hours. The upgrade will affect all city systems. Employees will not be able to access any city systems or resources. Citizens will not be able to access any City websites or online bill payment systems. Officials say the maintenance window will allow any upgrades or changes that require system outages to be completed at this time. According to the release, “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause your department and we hope to have the network back up as soon as possible.”

Rusk County Sees Spike in Animal Cruelty Calls

thumb_sheriff-ruskcountyHENDERSON — The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office says animal abuse calls reached a record high in January. KETK reports animal control personnel had a total of 16 calls last month. That’s more than the previous three months combined. But Sheriff Jeff Price says don’t let the numbers startle you. “People are being cautious and worrying after the story came out about the dog that had frozen to death back during the very cold weather that we had,” says Price, “and people are just more aware, and they’re watching out for the animals now. So that’s where most of our spike has come from.” He says most of the calls are for dogs, but none of them have been in grave danger.

Death Penalty to Be Sought in Murder of Disabled Man

haslamGILMER — According to the Upshur County District Attorney, the death penalty will be sought in the case against Sarah Haslam, one of the suspects accused of murdering Ronnie Gammage in 2012. KETK reports documents were filed Monday morning after the deadline to do so was extended by the 115th District Court. Haslam, Daniel Jones, and Andrew Conrad Norwine were charged with kidnapping and killing the disabled Gammage. Jones pleaded guilty October 30, 2013, and began serving a life sentence without parole. His sentencing was part of a plea agreement accepted in Upshur County’s 115th District Court. Read the rest of this entry »

Boil Water Notification Issued for Select Henderson Co. Residents

thumb_boilingwaterHENDERSON COUNTY — Monarch Utilities has issued a boil water notification for select customers in Henderson County. KETK reports the notice is for residents who have the Beachwood Estates water system and affects around 400 homes. Read the rest of this entry »

Pine Tree School Bus Drives into Ditch

ptbusLONGVIEW — A Pine Tree ISD school bus ended up in a ditch on Tuesday morning. It happened on Tenneryville Road in northwest Longview. School administration tells KETK that the back tires locked up when the driver applied the brakes, sending the bus into the ditch. The school district didn’t immediately release further information on specifics of the incident. There was a light rain in the area Tuesday morning, but officials are not sure if that was a contributing factor.

Emergency Landing at the Tyler Airport

TYLER — A small plane made an emergency landing at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. KETK reports the plane had a loose door warning light come on, so the pilot notified the airport for an emergency landing to check on the problem. The airport provided extra response teams on scene of the landing as a safety precaution. Control personnel signaled Tuesday morning the plane in and it landed safely without any injuries.

Longview Man Arrested for Reportedly Assaulting Child

beaterGREGG COUNTY — A Longview man was jailed Sunday after police said he assaulted his 7-year-old daughter. Ah Mau Tavita, 46, was charged with injury to a child and remained Monday in the Gregg County Jail on $10,000 bond. According to the Longview News-Journal, police responded shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday to a residence in the 300 block of Gum Street in reference to a call from a child who said his father was beating them with a belt. Police said eight children were at the home, and Tavita’s daughter was in a bedroom with a cut to her head. The children said their father hurt the girl while he was whipping several other children in a back bedroom.

Big Marijuana Haul near Lindale

thumb_DPS-carSMITH COUNTY — The Texas Department of Public Safety has the seized nearly 240 pounds of marijuana near Lindale. According to KETK, while patrolling on Interstate 20 in Smith County Friday, a trooper stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation. Based on information obtained during the traffic stop, the trooper claims to have noted several discrepancies in the information being given. According to authorities, the trooper asked for consent to search the vehicle, and the search of the rented SUV led to the discovery of approximately 240 pounds of marijuana, valued at $1.2 million, hidden in several duffel bags. Read the rest of this entry »

Big Marijuana Haul near Lindale

Joseph BridgesLINDALE — A traffic stop on Interstate Highway 20 in Smith County has resulted in a drug bust. Because of discrepancies in the information given by a California couple, a state trooper requested permission to search their SUV. In several duffle bags, he found 240 pounds of marijuana valued at $1.2 million. Arrested were the driver, Joseph Bridges, 33, and his passenger, Kristina Watts, 41. Both were booked into the Smith County Jail with bonds set at $75,000 on each suspect.

Texas Billionaire Simmons’ Will Released

Harold Simmons2DALLAS (AP/Staff) – Texas billionaire and Wood County native Harold Simmons’ will leaves the bulk of his estate to his widow, with no listed contributions to any political groups or charities. A Dallas judge on Monday ordered a redacted version of Simmons’ will to be released. The will lists Annette Simmons as the sole beneficiary of her husband’s savings and real estate. The will does not list a total dollar value of Simmons’ estate. Attorneys for Annette Simmons had argued for the will to be sealed to protect her safety and privacy, as well as the names of her children and grandchildren. Harold Simmons had a wide range of corporate interests and gave hundreds of millions of dollars to charity. He also bankrolled several political campaigns. He was born in the Wood County community of Golden.

Volunteer Firefighter Accused of Sexually Assaulting Teen

Joseph Hayden TerrellPITTSBURG — A firefighter from Troup has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 15-year-old in Pittsburg. KETK reports, according to the Pittsburg Police Department, early last month, officers received a report of a child sexual assault. Police say after an investigation, details emerged that a 15-year-old girl had been sexually assaulted. Officials have now arrested Joseph Hayden Terrell, 19, in connection with the crime. According to Terrell’s Facebook page, he is a 2012 graduate of Troup High School and is a volunteer firefighter at the North Cherokee Volunteer Fire Department in Mixon. Terrell was booked into the Camp County Jail.

Coach Arrested for Indecency with Child, Placed on Paid Leave

carlbyersmughopkisncojailCOMO — An East Texas coach and teacher has been arrested and placed on administrative leave for alleged indecency with a child. According to the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office, Carl Allen Byers, 51, was arrested Friday and charged with indecency. According to the Como-Pickton Independent School District, school officials received questions involving Byers which involved allegations of violations of district policies. Superintendent Dr. Kay Handin tells KETK this is a personnel decision and the district will not elaborate on the situation, but did say he is on administrative leave with pay. Byers was booked into the Hopkins County Jail but has since been released on $20,000 bond. We’ll update this story as more information becomes available.

Man Given Deferred Adjudication on Murder Charge Gets Re-Arrested

rearrestedmugLONGVIEW — A Longview man who was sentenced in July 2011 to 10 years’ deferred adjudication after being charged with murder in Wood County has been arrested again in connection with the crime. That’s according to KETK and the Longview News-Journal. Ty Jordan Evans, 22, and his brother Damaracus Hearn — 20 at the time of the murder crime — were accused of killing 24-year-old Annamarie Moore during a daytime drive-by shooting in Winnsboro. Evans faced two trials, one in January 2011 and one in May. Both ended in a mistrial after neither jury could come to a decision. He pleaded guilty and received the deferred adjudication two months after the second mistrial. Now Longview police spokeswoman Kristie Brian has said Evans was arrested sometime after 2 p.m. Friday during a traffic stop at the intersection of Tryon and Eastman roads. Read the rest of this entry »

Officials: Woman Found Guilty of Punching ER Nurse while Drunk, on Drugs

lola_thompson_bookinATHENS — A Henderson County jury has found Lola Amelia Thompson guilty of assault on emergency service personnel. KETK reports Thompson, 38, formerly of Kemp, had been indicted for punching an ER nurse at East Texas Medical Center in Athens. Thompson could get up to ten years behind bars. Read the rest of this entry »

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