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Category: Local News Archive

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Sentencing Trial Continues in Case that Inspired Film ‘Bernie’

d4e80e4789201090dd782e913a00063cHENDERSON (AP) – The re-sentencing trial continues for the East Texas mortician whose murder case inspired the dark comedy movie “Bernie.” Bernie Tiede was convicted in 1999 of killing Marjorie Nugent, a widow more than 40 years his senior whom he befriended in Carthage. Tiede was sentenced to life in prison but freed after a prosecutor said he believed Tiede deserved a reduced prison sentence because of abuse he suffered as a child. Jurors could now send him back to prison or let him remain free. According to The Dallas Morning News, prosecutor Lisa Tanner argued Wednesday that Tiede “was stealing Marjorie Nugent blind, and he was doing it cleverly.” But defense attorney Mike DeGeurin said Nugent controlled Tiede and had a “mean streak and an abusive streak.”

Input Sought on Tyler Park Facilities; Glass Center Showcases New Room

GlassCenterTYLER — The city of Tyler is showcasing a new facility while gathering input for the future of its parks and open space. It all starts as the Glass Recreation Center hosts a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house today from 4:30 to 6 p.m. for its brand new cardio room. The formal ribbon cutting and dedication of the new room will take place at 5:30 p.m. The new cardio room will be named in honor of Corneille Hutcherson, a city employee who worked for 19 years with the Summer Playground Program. … Read More

Three Tyler Educators Honored

TISD_Logo_NewTYLER – Three Tyler School District employees have been honored by Young Audiences of Northeast Texas at their annual Arts in Education Awards banquet. They are retired music teacher Leslie Ring, and teachers Christolyn Milligan and George Brigman. Honorees were selected from nominations made to Young Audiences of Northeast Texas. Individual arts educators from public or private schools within the Region 7 ESC geographic area were eligible to be nominated. Finalists were selected by a panel of local arts professionals and community members.… Read More

East Texas Sales Tax Receipts Slipping

cash register drawer
EAST TEXAS – Both Tyler and Longview are lagging behind the state’s figures in sales tax receipts. The State Comptroller’s office announced Tyler’s sales tax allocation for April is $2.9 million dollars. This is down just over 5% from April of last year. Longview was down just over 2% with an April sales tax allocation of $2.1 million. The yearly figures are also down, with Tyler down nearly 5% for the first four months. Longview is down nearly 8%. Over all, Texas is sending out over $591million in sales tax allocations. This is up about 2½% from April of last year.

More Counties Declared Disasters after March Storms

149791_10150824716544965_1131392788_nAUSTIN (AP) – Four more Texas counties, including two in northeast Texas, have been declared federal disaster areas due to March storms and flooding that swamped roads and inundated a town. The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday announced the designation for Henderson and Shelby counties along with Limestone and Tyler counties. Nine other Texas counties – Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Erath, Hood, Jasper, Newton, Orange, and Parker – were approved for government disaster help on March 19. The declaration clears the way for individuals and public entities to seek federal assistance for losses from storms, tornadoes and flooding March 7 through March 29. Disaster assistance could include grants and loans. Interstate 10 in Southeast Texas was closed for a time during early-March flooding that swamped much of Deweyville.

Don’t Mess With Texas Anti-litter Effort Marks 30 Years

1795656_10151960705406304_930269253_nDALLAS (AP/Staff) – The Don’t Mess With Texas anti-litter campaign has been around for 30 years with more chances to pick up trash across the state — and a couple of high-profile Tyler tie-ins. The Texas Department of Transportation on Wednesday marked the slogan’s 30th anniversary with plans to display, in Dallas, some trash picked up along highways. Boy Scouts across Texas can try to earn a special merit badge to mark the anniversary by taking part in a trash-off Saturday targeting roads. The partnership involves TxDOT and the group Keep Texas Beautiful. TxDOT officials say about 1,500 trash-off events were held last year across the state.… Read More

Nacogdoches Shooting Probed

Nacogdoches-Police-3NACOGDOCHES – Police in Nacogdoches are investigating a drive-by shooting. It happened about 11:00 Monday night in the 300 block of Ritchie Street. Bullets are said to have hit a home and a vehicle. No injuries were reported among those in the home, including two young children. Investigators say they have no description of the shooter’s vehicle and have no suspects in the case.

Kilgore College Brings Home Honors from Dallas Convention

Kilgore College logoKILGORE – Kilgore College photography instructor O. Rufus Lovett has been named the Charles T. Choate Adviser of the Year and The Flare newspaper staff won Sweepstakes in its division at the annual Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention in Dallas. This marks the 26th time over the past 30 years the Kilgore College newspaper has scored the most points in its division to bring home Sweepstakes. The newspaper also took home a second place in Best of Show, competing against nearly 50 universities and community colleges from around the state.… Read More

UT Tyler Model UN Program Recognized at National Conference

U-T Tyler SignTYLER – Students from The University of Texas at Tyler Model United Nations Program have been recognized at this year’s National Collegiate Model UN Conference in New York. The program is a part of the Department of Political Science and History. In recognition of their excellence in the conference as a whole, the UT Tyler delegation, representing Madagascar, received the Distinguished Delegation Award. According to a news release from the school, this honor is presented to the top delegations and based on continually remaining ‘in character,’ teamwork, leadership, speaking and negotiating abilities, knowledge of the issues and proper usage of the procedure rules.… Read More

Smith County Man Arrested for January Chase

Bryan Scott MayfieldWHITEHOUSE – A man wanted by Whitehouse police since January has been taken into custody. Bryan Scott Mayfield, Jr., 26, of Winona, was arrested around 1:00 Monday afternoon. He was taken into custody with the a assistance of the U.S. Marshals Joint East Texas Task Force. Officers say Mayfield led them on a chase from Whitehouse to to Santa Elena Drive and Loop 323 in Tyler. During the chase his car hit a utility pole and an parked vehicle. The chase ended when his car hit a Tyler house. He then fled the scene on foot. Mayfield has been charged with evading arrest and striking an unattended vehicle.

Efforts Underway to Remove Judge Baker

joelbaker-1
TYLER – Grassroots America We The People is working to remove County Judge Joel Baker. Our news partner KETK is reporting the group is trying to raise funds to file a civil suit in district court to remove the judge. The initial cost is $1,000. That sum will grow because of the discovery process and trial costs. The group hopes to file the suit soon. They are in discussion with an Austin attorney to prepare the suit. Their goal is to have Baker removed before the 2018 primary election. The judge has come under fire recently over allegations of lewd behavior.

Authorities Identify Victims in Smith County Accident

Fatalwreck_1459809611366_7923534_ver1.0SMITH COUNTY — Smith County DPS has released the identities of the two people killed and the three injured in a Monday afternoon wreck near Lake Palestine. The wreck occurred near the entrance of The Villages Resort at Farm-to-Market 2661 and Big Eddy Road, also known as County Road 1261. The preliminary crash investigation revealed a Freightliner with a towed semi-trailer, driven by Leon C. Ronald, 69, of Flint, was traveling southbound on 2661. A Hyundai Accent, driven by Matthew Collins, 27, of Austin, was eastbound on 1261. Collins was stopped at the intersection. A Toyota Avalon was northbound on 2661. Collins failed to yield the right-of-way by turning left in front of the Freightliner. The Freightliner struck the Hyundai, which caused the Hyundai to strike the Avalon. The Freightliner and Accent left the roadway and came to rest in the east bar ditch. … Read More

Third Smith County Shooting Suspect in Custody

Ricardo Martinez PinedaTYLER – All three suspects have now been arrested in a recent incident in which Smith County deputies were fired upon. Sheriff Larry Smith said Tuesday that Ricardo Martinez “Rico” Pineda (pictured), 36, of Tyler, was tracked down in northeastern Arkansas. Earlier, Juan Alberto Quiroga, 18, of Tyler, turned himself in to the sheriff’s department. He has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a public servant with a deadly weapon. His bonds, set by 114th District Court Judge Christi Kennedy, total $6,000,000. The driver of the car the suspects were in, Jeremy Robinson, 32, of Hutchins, was previously arrested.… Read More

Affidavit: Alleged Affair Spurred Texas Constable’s Shooting

Meraland JacksonTYLER (AP) – Authorities say a shooting where an East Texas constable and his 5-year-old granddaughter were injured was prompted by his wife’s belief that he was having an affair. That according to an arrest affidavit, 66-year-old Meraland Taylor Jackson told officers she shot her husband, Smith County Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson, Saturday because she believed he had been having an affair with a co-worker. Meraland Jackson is charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon family violence. She’s jailed on $500,000 bond. Police say she shot her 63-year-old husband in the chest and the girl in the ankle. Henry Jackson was in stable condition at a local hospital. The couple’s granddaughter was treated and released. Meraland Jackson told investigators her granddaughter was hit accidentally.

Angelina County Man Charged With Sexual Assault of a Child

John Wesley CarterLUFKIN – An Angelina County man, on probation for child pornography, has been arrested for sexual assault of a child. Free on bond is John Wesley Carter, 45, of Huntington. The former Lufkin charter school counselor was arrested on Saturday. He posted bond the same day. He has been charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault of a child. The girl is said to be 13. She is said to have reported the incident to a teacher and then to a school counselor. Carter is currently serving five years probation after pleading guilty in February of last year to child pornography charges.

Naked Driver Arrested

David Ben McKinneyMT. PLEASANT – A naked driver, Identified as David Ben McKinney, 55, has been arrested in Mt. Pleasant. It started around 2:30 Sunday morning when officer saw a naked man running in town. Then a caller told police they saw naked man get into a truck near the downtown square. A short time later officers stopped the truck near the intersection of Washington and Cotton Streets. Behind the wheel was a naked driver. When officers asked McKinney why he was naked, they say his response was, “I’m drunk.” He was booked into the Titus County Jail on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

Missing Marshall Man Sought

Danny Joe RileyMARSHALL – The Marshall Police Department is seeking the public’s help in solving one of the city’s long standing missing person’s cases. It was August 1992 when Danny Joe Riley was last seen. He was believed to be traveling with another person to Houston. The Marshall Police Departments’ Criminal Investigations Bureau has put in many hours on this case, but has yet to locate Riley. When he disappeared, Riley was 43 years of age, was 5’9” and weighed 165 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. If you have any information about Riley, you’re asked to contact the Marshall Police Department.

Palestine Starting Mosquito Spraying

Palestine  mosquito sprayingPALESTINE – The city of Palestine will start a mosquito spraying program on Wednesday. Spraying will start at 9:00pm in the approximate boundary areas of Kenny Drive to the north, Gardner Drive and Peachtree Drive east to the city limits, Palestine Avenue and North Loop 256 to the south, and Old Brushy Creek Road to the west. It will continue through the night. Other areas throughout the city are planned for the coming days and weeks.… Read More

Nacogdoches County Fire Death

fire image NACOGDOCHES – A Nacogdoches County teen has died in a weekend house fire. The fire was reported around 4:00 Sunday morning on County Road 521, south of Nacogdoches. Killed was Jose Alexis Hernandez, 18. Sheriff’s deputies tried to get into the trailer, but couldn’t because of the heat and smoke. After the fire was extinguished, the victim’s body was found in a bedroom near the kitchen. Investigators believe the fire started in the kitchen from a stovetop that had been left on overnight. An autopsy has been ordered.

Numerous Longview Residents Indicted in Drug/Weapons Case

Longview drug indictmentsLONGVIEW — U.S. Attorney John Bales announced the indictment of 17 suspects, including 16 from Longview, in a federal firearms and drug trafficking conspiracy in Gregg County. The suspects, named in three separate indictments, are alleged to be involved in a conspiracy by either members or associates of the Aryan Brotherhood and criminal street gangs. The defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine from at least January 2014. Many defendants are also charged with firearms violations such as being felons in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.… Read More

Two Inmates, One from Longview, Escape from Van in Florida

police-6DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) – Florida authorities are looking for two inmates, including one from Longview, who escaped from a van heading to Tallahassee. Walton County Sheriff’s officials say they were notified by a private company that transports prisoners that 30-year-old Michael Andrew Rotunno and 31-year-old James Thomas Banks escaped early Monday. Rotunno was being transported from Longview. The van had stopped at the Walton County Jail in the Florida Panhandle. Sheriff’s officials are assisting in the search. Local school districts also have been notified of the escape. Rotunno is charged with larceny in a building and delivering and manufacturing narcotics. Banks faces charges of unarmed robbery and escaping from jail. A Walton County Sheriff’s news release says the inmates were on their way to a facility in Jackson, Minnesota. Banks was on his way from Orange County, California.

Tyler Police Chief Announces His Retirement

image002TYLER — Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle has announced his retirement. According to a news release, after 33 years of service, Swindle will retire in June. He started his law enforcement career in 1982 as a a patrol officer, eventually advancing through the ranks as investigator, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy chief and finally, as chief of police in 2000. Chief Swindle is responsible for the operations of Neighborhood Services, Code Enforcement and Animal Services. He is also the liaison for the Health Department.… Read More

East Texas Constable’s Wife Charged in Shooting

751493191540 TYLER (AP) – Police say the wife of an East Texas constable has been charged after her husband and 5-year-old granddaughter were injured in a shooting during a family disturbance. Tyler police said Sunday that 66-year-old Meraland Taylor Jackson has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon family violence. She was jailed on $500,000 bond Sunday. Jail records didn’t list an attorney. Police say the Saturday shooting was the result of a disturbance between the woman and her husband, Smith County Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson. Police say she shot him in the chest and the girl in the ankle. Henry Jackson and the girl were taken to the hospital. He was in fair condition Sunday. She’s been released. Police haven’t said what caused the disturbance.

Two More Tyler Robbery Suspects Arrested

Tyler Wal-Mart robbery 3-31-16TYLER – Investigators have arrested two more suspects in Thursday morning’s robbery of Wal-Mart on the Troup Highway. Named in arrest warrants for aggravated robbery were Dustin Chrzas and Keonta Rashaud Johnson. Both are 19. Bond was set at $500,000 for each man. According to police, the two loaded flat screen televisions into a shopping cart and pointed a gun an an employee while taking the TVs from the store. The alleged driver of the getaway car, 25-year-old Jamaine Pringle of Tyler, was arrested on Thursday.

TxDOT’s Weekly Road Construction Update

TxDotTYLER – Here’s a look at work planned in the TxDOT Tyler District during the Week of April 4. These schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, equipment failure or other unforeseen issues.

The contractor plans to close Bellwood Road on the Loop 323 West Widening Project in Tyler starting Monday and keeping the closure in place for at least a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, motorists should remain alert as night work continues starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday to place hot mix in the southbound lanes. Daytime work continues as well. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes if possible to avoid delays. Get more information about this project in the Smith County portion of this story. … Read More

Public Library Addresses Overdue Books; Over $600,000 Owed

cityoftylerTYLER — Citing a backlog totaling over $600,000, the Tyler Public Library has implemented a new policy on overdue books. The City Council recently authorized the city manager to enter into an agreement with Unique Management Services, Inc. to aid in the collection of fines and fees owed to the library. Officials say $640,228.10 is currently owed to the library in delinquent fines and lost materials dating back fourteen years. … Read More

TJC Newspaper Staff Wins 39 Awards

tjc-signDALLAS – Tyler Junior College communications and media students took the sweepstakes awards for newspaper and online during the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) annual conference March 31-April 2. According to a press release, TIPA is the oldest collegiate media organization in the country. It consists of 77 public and private two-year colleges and four-year universities in Texas that teach journalism or have existing or planned student publications. TJC students placed in an array of categories including design and layout, news and feature writing, photography, and online breaking news package. Laura Krantz is TJC department chair of Communications & Student Media and TIPA president. Krantz says says her students showed TJC is preparing them with tools for success “in an ever-changing news business.”

Palestine Police Department Investigating Shooting

police-1PALESTINE – Palestine police are investigating a shooting reported early Saturday morning. Police say at 2:30 a.m., officers were dispatched to a home on West Carolina Street near the Del Mar Street intersection on a report of gunshots in the area. They found a victim who had been struck after several bullets were fired by an unknown suspect from outside the residence through the wall of the victim’s bedroom. The victim, whose identity is not being released, was transported to a Tyler hospital for treatment. The full extent of his injuries is unknown at this time, according to police. Anyone with any information is urged to contact Detective Mark Harcrow at 903-731-8422. Information can also be submitted anonymously by texting PALPD, then the tip, to 847411.

One in Custody after Allegedly Stealing Patrol Vehicle

sheriff-ruskcountyHENDERSON — One person is in custody after authorities say he stole a Rusk County patrol car and led them on a chase early Friday morning. According to KETK, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office says shortly after midnight, deputies pulled over a vehicle with a tail light out as it headed south on Highway 259. The driver was identified as a man from the Houston area. During the stop, officials say the driver was able to get into a patrol vehicle and leave the scene. They report he headed south with another patrol vehicle in pursuit.… Read More

Man Indicted in Parents’ Murders

Casey LansdaleLONGVIEW — A Gladewater man’s murder case will now go to trial after a Gregg County grand jury indicted him on Friday. According to KETK, the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office says Casey Lansdale, 41, is accused of murdering his parents in January. The bodies of Raye and Charles Lansdale, both 68, were discovered during a welfare check by police. After interviewing the suspect, police arrested him and charged him with murder. He was booked into jail on $1 million bond. Judicial records showed Casey had a history of family violence.

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Sentencing Trial Continues in Case that Inspired Film ‘Bernie’

Posted/updated on: April 8, 2016 at 10:38 am

d4e80e4789201090dd782e913a00063cHENDERSON (AP) – The re-sentencing trial continues for the East Texas mortician whose murder case inspired the dark comedy movie “Bernie.” Bernie Tiede was convicted in 1999 of killing Marjorie Nugent, a widow more than 40 years his senior whom he befriended in Carthage. Tiede was sentenced to life in prison but freed after a prosecutor said he believed Tiede deserved a reduced prison sentence because of abuse he suffered as a child. Jurors could now send him back to prison or let him remain free. According to The Dallas Morning News, prosecutor Lisa Tanner argued Wednesday that Tiede “was stealing Marjorie Nugent blind, and he was doing it cleverly.” But defense attorney Mike DeGeurin said Nugent controlled Tiede and had a “mean streak and an abusive streak.”

Input Sought on Tyler Park Facilities; Glass Center Showcases New Room

Posted/updated on: April 7, 2016 at 4:56 pm

GlassCenterTYLER — The city of Tyler is showcasing a new facility while gathering input for the future of its parks and open space. It all starts as the Glass Recreation Center hosts a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house today from 4:30 to 6 p.m. for its brand new cardio room. The formal ribbon cutting and dedication of the new room will take place at 5:30 p.m. The new cardio room will be named in honor of Corneille Hutcherson, a city employee who worked for 19 years with the Summer Playground Program. … Read More

Three Tyler Educators Honored

Posted/updated on: April 7, 2016 at 3:04 pm

TISD_Logo_NewTYLER – Three Tyler School District employees have been honored by Young Audiences of Northeast Texas at their annual Arts in Education Awards banquet. They are retired music teacher Leslie Ring, and teachers Christolyn Milligan and George Brigman. Honorees were selected from nominations made to Young Audiences of Northeast Texas. Individual arts educators from public or private schools within the Region 7 ESC geographic area were eligible to be nominated. Finalists were selected by a panel of local arts professionals and community members.… Read More

East Texas Sales Tax Receipts Slipping

Posted/updated on: April 7, 2016 at 2:20 pm

cash register drawer
EAST TEXAS – Both Tyler and Longview are lagging behind the state’s figures in sales tax receipts. The State Comptroller’s office announced Tyler’s sales tax allocation for April is $2.9 million dollars. This is down just over 5% from April of last year. Longview was down just over 2% with an April sales tax allocation of $2.1 million. The yearly figures are also down, with Tyler down nearly 5% for the first four months. Longview is down nearly 8%. Over all, Texas is sending out over $591million in sales tax allocations. This is up about 2½% from April of last year.

More Counties Declared Disasters after March Storms

Posted/updated on: April 7, 2016 at 11:29 am

149791_10150824716544965_1131392788_nAUSTIN (AP) – Four more Texas counties, including two in northeast Texas, have been declared federal disaster areas due to March storms and flooding that swamped roads and inundated a town. The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday announced the designation for Henderson and Shelby counties along with Limestone and Tyler counties. Nine other Texas counties – Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Erath, Hood, Jasper, Newton, Orange, and Parker – were approved for government disaster help on March 19. The declaration clears the way for individuals and public entities to seek federal assistance for losses from storms, tornadoes and flooding March 7 through March 29. Disaster assistance could include grants and loans. Interstate 10 in Southeast Texas was closed for a time during early-March flooding that swamped much of Deweyville.

Don’t Mess With Texas Anti-litter Effort Marks 30 Years

Posted/updated on: April 7, 2016 at 10:38 am

1795656_10151960705406304_930269253_nDALLAS (AP/Staff) – The Don’t Mess With Texas anti-litter campaign has been around for 30 years with more chances to pick up trash across the state — and a couple of high-profile Tyler tie-ins. The Texas Department of Transportation on Wednesday marked the slogan’s 30th anniversary with plans to display, in Dallas, some trash picked up along highways. Boy Scouts across Texas can try to earn a special merit badge to mark the anniversary by taking part in a trash-off Saturday targeting roads. The partnership involves TxDOT and the group Keep Texas Beautiful. TxDOT officials say about 1,500 trash-off events were held last year across the state.… Read More

Nacogdoches Shooting Probed

Posted/updated on: April 6, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Nacogdoches-Police-3NACOGDOCHES – Police in Nacogdoches are investigating a drive-by shooting. It happened about 11:00 Monday night in the 300 block of Ritchie Street. Bullets are said to have hit a home and a vehicle. No injuries were reported among those in the home, including two young children. Investigators say they have no description of the shooter’s vehicle and have no suspects in the case.

Kilgore College Brings Home Honors from Dallas Convention

Posted/updated on: April 6, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Kilgore College logoKILGORE – Kilgore College photography instructor O. Rufus Lovett has been named the Charles T. Choate Adviser of the Year and The Flare newspaper staff won Sweepstakes in its division at the annual Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention in Dallas. This marks the 26th time over the past 30 years the Kilgore College newspaper has scored the most points in its division to bring home Sweepstakes. The newspaper also took home a second place in Best of Show, competing against nearly 50 universities and community colleges from around the state.… Read More

UT Tyler Model UN Program Recognized at National Conference

Posted/updated on: April 6, 2016 at 3:22 pm

U-T Tyler SignTYLER – Students from The University of Texas at Tyler Model United Nations Program have been recognized at this year’s National Collegiate Model UN Conference in New York. The program is a part of the Department of Political Science and History. In recognition of their excellence in the conference as a whole, the UT Tyler delegation, representing Madagascar, received the Distinguished Delegation Award. According to a news release from the school, this honor is presented to the top delegations and based on continually remaining ‘in character,’ teamwork, leadership, speaking and negotiating abilities, knowledge of the issues and proper usage of the procedure rules.… Read More

Smith County Man Arrested for January Chase

Posted/updated on: April 6, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Bryan Scott MayfieldWHITEHOUSE – A man wanted by Whitehouse police since January has been taken into custody. Bryan Scott Mayfield, Jr., 26, of Winona, was arrested around 1:00 Monday afternoon. He was taken into custody with the a assistance of the U.S. Marshals Joint East Texas Task Force. Officers say Mayfield led them on a chase from Whitehouse to to Santa Elena Drive and Loop 323 in Tyler. During the chase his car hit a utility pole and an parked vehicle. The chase ended when his car hit a Tyler house. He then fled the scene on foot. Mayfield has been charged with evading arrest and striking an unattended vehicle.

Efforts Underway to Remove Judge Baker

Posted/updated on: April 6, 2016 at 1:03 pm

joelbaker-1
TYLER – Grassroots America We The People is working to remove County Judge Joel Baker. Our news partner KETK is reporting the group is trying to raise funds to file a civil suit in district court to remove the judge. The initial cost is $1,000. That sum will grow because of the discovery process and trial costs. The group hopes to file the suit soon. They are in discussion with an Austin attorney to prepare the suit. Their goal is to have Baker removed before the 2018 primary election. The judge has come under fire recently over allegations of lewd behavior.

Authorities Identify Victims in Smith County Accident

Posted/updated on: April 6, 2016 at 11:39 am

Fatalwreck_1459809611366_7923534_ver1.0SMITH COUNTY — Smith County DPS has released the identities of the two people killed and the three injured in a Monday afternoon wreck near Lake Palestine. The wreck occurred near the entrance of The Villages Resort at Farm-to-Market 2661 and Big Eddy Road, also known as County Road 1261. The preliminary crash investigation revealed a Freightliner with a towed semi-trailer, driven by Leon C. Ronald, 69, of Flint, was traveling southbound on 2661. A Hyundai Accent, driven by Matthew Collins, 27, of Austin, was eastbound on 1261. Collins was stopped at the intersection. A Toyota Avalon was northbound on 2661. Collins failed to yield the right-of-way by turning left in front of the Freightliner. The Freightliner struck the Hyundai, which caused the Hyundai to strike the Avalon. The Freightliner and Accent left the roadway and came to rest in the east bar ditch. … Read More

Third Smith County Shooting Suspect in Custody

Posted/updated on: April 6, 2016 at 11:39 am

Ricardo Martinez PinedaTYLER – All three suspects have now been arrested in a recent incident in which Smith County deputies were fired upon. Sheriff Larry Smith said Tuesday that Ricardo Martinez “Rico” Pineda (pictured), 36, of Tyler, was tracked down in northeastern Arkansas. Earlier, Juan Alberto Quiroga, 18, of Tyler, turned himself in to the sheriff’s department. He has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a public servant with a deadly weapon. His bonds, set by 114th District Court Judge Christi Kennedy, total $6,000,000. The driver of the car the suspects were in, Jeremy Robinson, 32, of Hutchins, was previously arrested.… Read More

Affidavit: Alleged Affair Spurred Texas Constable’s Shooting

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Meraland JacksonTYLER (AP) – Authorities say a shooting where an East Texas constable and his 5-year-old granddaughter were injured was prompted by his wife’s belief that he was having an affair. That according to an arrest affidavit, 66-year-old Meraland Taylor Jackson told officers she shot her husband, Smith County Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson, Saturday because she believed he had been having an affair with a co-worker. Meraland Jackson is charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon family violence. She’s jailed on $500,000 bond. Police say she shot her 63-year-old husband in the chest and the girl in the ankle. Henry Jackson was in stable condition at a local hospital. The couple’s granddaughter was treated and released. Meraland Jackson told investigators her granddaughter was hit accidentally.

Angelina County Man Charged With Sexual Assault of a Child

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 2:54 pm

John Wesley CarterLUFKIN – An Angelina County man, on probation for child pornography, has been arrested for sexual assault of a child. Free on bond is John Wesley Carter, 45, of Huntington. The former Lufkin charter school counselor was arrested on Saturday. He posted bond the same day. He has been charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault of a child. The girl is said to be 13. She is said to have reported the incident to a teacher and then to a school counselor. Carter is currently serving five years probation after pleading guilty in February of last year to child pornography charges.

Naked Driver Arrested

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 12:24 pm

David Ben McKinneyMT. PLEASANT – A naked driver, Identified as David Ben McKinney, 55, has been arrested in Mt. Pleasant. It started around 2:30 Sunday morning when officer saw a naked man running in town. Then a caller told police they saw naked man get into a truck near the downtown square. A short time later officers stopped the truck near the intersection of Washington and Cotton Streets. Behind the wheel was a naked driver. When officers asked McKinney why he was naked, they say his response was, “I’m drunk.” He was booked into the Titus County Jail on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

Missing Marshall Man Sought

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Danny Joe RileyMARSHALL – The Marshall Police Department is seeking the public’s help in solving one of the city’s long standing missing person’s cases. It was August 1992 when Danny Joe Riley was last seen. He was believed to be traveling with another person to Houston. The Marshall Police Departments’ Criminal Investigations Bureau has put in many hours on this case, but has yet to locate Riley. When he disappeared, Riley was 43 years of age, was 5’9” and weighed 165 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. If you have any information about Riley, you’re asked to contact the Marshall Police Department.

Palestine Starting Mosquito Spraying

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 11:58 am

Palestine  mosquito sprayingPALESTINE – The city of Palestine will start a mosquito spraying program on Wednesday. Spraying will start at 9:00pm in the approximate boundary areas of Kenny Drive to the north, Gardner Drive and Peachtree Drive east to the city limits, Palestine Avenue and North Loop 256 to the south, and Old Brushy Creek Road to the west. It will continue through the night. Other areas throughout the city are planned for the coming days and weeks.… Read More

Nacogdoches County Fire Death

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 11:58 am

fire image NACOGDOCHES – A Nacogdoches County teen has died in a weekend house fire. The fire was reported around 4:00 Sunday morning on County Road 521, south of Nacogdoches. Killed was Jose Alexis Hernandez, 18. Sheriff’s deputies tried to get into the trailer, but couldn’t because of the heat and smoke. After the fire was extinguished, the victim’s body was found in a bedroom near the kitchen. Investigators believe the fire started in the kitchen from a stovetop that had been left on overnight. An autopsy has been ordered.

Numerous Longview Residents Indicted in Drug/Weapons Case

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 11:57 am

Longview drug indictmentsLONGVIEW — U.S. Attorney John Bales announced the indictment of 17 suspects, including 16 from Longview, in a federal firearms and drug trafficking conspiracy in Gregg County. The suspects, named in three separate indictments, are alleged to be involved in a conspiracy by either members or associates of the Aryan Brotherhood and criminal street gangs. The defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine from at least January 2014. Many defendants are also charged with firearms violations such as being felons in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.… Read More

Two Inmates, One from Longview, Escape from Van in Florida

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 10:33 am

police-6DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) – Florida authorities are looking for two inmates, including one from Longview, who escaped from a van heading to Tallahassee. Walton County Sheriff’s officials say they were notified by a private company that transports prisoners that 30-year-old Michael Andrew Rotunno and 31-year-old James Thomas Banks escaped early Monday. Rotunno was being transported from Longview. The van had stopped at the Walton County Jail in the Florida Panhandle. Sheriff’s officials are assisting in the search. Local school districts also have been notified of the escape. Rotunno is charged with larceny in a building and delivering and manufacturing narcotics. Banks faces charges of unarmed robbery and escaping from jail. A Walton County Sheriff’s news release says the inmates were on their way to a facility in Jackson, Minnesota. Banks was on his way from Orange County, California.

Tyler Police Chief Announces His Retirement

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 10:33 am

image002TYLER — Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle has announced his retirement. According to a news release, after 33 years of service, Swindle will retire in June. He started his law enforcement career in 1982 as a a patrol officer, eventually advancing through the ranks as investigator, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy chief and finally, as chief of police in 2000. Chief Swindle is responsible for the operations of Neighborhood Services, Code Enforcement and Animal Services. He is also the liaison for the Health Department.… Read More

East Texas Constable’s Wife Charged in Shooting

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 4:53 pm

751493191540 TYLER (AP) – Police say the wife of an East Texas constable has been charged after her husband and 5-year-old granddaughter were injured in a shooting during a family disturbance. Tyler police said Sunday that 66-year-old Meraland Taylor Jackson has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon family violence. She was jailed on $500,000 bond Sunday. Jail records didn’t list an attorney. Police say the Saturday shooting was the result of a disturbance between the woman and her husband, Smith County Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson. Police say she shot him in the chest and the girl in the ankle. Henry Jackson and the girl were taken to the hospital. He was in fair condition Sunday. She’s been released. Police haven’t said what caused the disturbance.

Two More Tyler Robbery Suspects Arrested

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Tyler Wal-Mart robbery 3-31-16TYLER – Investigators have arrested two more suspects in Thursday morning’s robbery of Wal-Mart on the Troup Highway. Named in arrest warrants for aggravated robbery were Dustin Chrzas and Keonta Rashaud Johnson. Both are 19. Bond was set at $500,000 for each man. According to police, the two loaded flat screen televisions into a shopping cart and pointed a gun an an employee while taking the TVs from the store. The alleged driver of the getaway car, 25-year-old Jamaine Pringle of Tyler, was arrested on Thursday.

TxDOT’s Weekly Road Construction Update

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 4:34 pm

TxDotTYLER – Here’s a look at work planned in the TxDOT Tyler District during the Week of April 4. These schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, equipment failure or other unforeseen issues.

The contractor plans to close Bellwood Road on the Loop 323 West Widening Project in Tyler starting Monday and keeping the closure in place for at least a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, motorists should remain alert as night work continues starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday to place hot mix in the southbound lanes. Daytime work continues as well. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes if possible to avoid delays. Get more information about this project in the Smith County portion of this story. … Read More

Public Library Addresses Overdue Books; Over $600,000 Owed

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 4:20 pm

cityoftylerTYLER — Citing a backlog totaling over $600,000, the Tyler Public Library has implemented a new policy on overdue books. The City Council recently authorized the city manager to enter into an agreement with Unique Management Services, Inc. to aid in the collection of fines and fees owed to the library. Officials say $640,228.10 is currently owed to the library in delinquent fines and lost materials dating back fourteen years. … Read More

TJC Newspaper Staff Wins 39 Awards

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 4:06 pm

tjc-signDALLAS – Tyler Junior College communications and media students took the sweepstakes awards for newspaper and online during the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) annual conference March 31-April 2. According to a press release, TIPA is the oldest collegiate media organization in the country. It consists of 77 public and private two-year colleges and four-year universities in Texas that teach journalism or have existing or planned student publications. TJC students placed in an array of categories including design and layout, news and feature writing, photography, and online breaking news package. Laura Krantz is TJC department chair of Communications & Student Media and TIPA president. Krantz says says her students showed TJC is preparing them with tools for success “in an ever-changing news business.”

Palestine Police Department Investigating Shooting

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 12:28 pm

police-1PALESTINE – Palestine police are investigating a shooting reported early Saturday morning. Police say at 2:30 a.m., officers were dispatched to a home on West Carolina Street near the Del Mar Street intersection on a report of gunshots in the area. They found a victim who had been struck after several bullets were fired by an unknown suspect from outside the residence through the wall of the victim’s bedroom. The victim, whose identity is not being released, was transported to a Tyler hospital for treatment. The full extent of his injuries is unknown at this time, according to police. Anyone with any information is urged to contact Detective Mark Harcrow at 903-731-8422. Information can also be submitted anonymously by texting PALPD, then the tip, to 847411.

One in Custody after Allegedly Stealing Patrol Vehicle

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 10:38 am

sheriff-ruskcountyHENDERSON — One person is in custody after authorities say he stole a Rusk County patrol car and led them on a chase early Friday morning. According to KETK, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office says shortly after midnight, deputies pulled over a vehicle with a tail light out as it headed south on Highway 259. The driver was identified as a man from the Houston area. During the stop, officials say the driver was able to get into a patrol vehicle and leave the scene. They report he headed south with another patrol vehicle in pursuit.… Read More

Man Indicted in Parents’ Murders

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 10:39 am

Casey LansdaleLONGVIEW — A Gladewater man’s murder case will now go to trial after a Gregg County grand jury indicted him on Friday. According to KETK, the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office says Casey Lansdale, 41, is accused of murdering his parents in January. The bodies of Raye and Charles Lansdale, both 68, were discovered during a welfare check by police. After interviewing the suspect, police arrested him and charged him with murder. He was booked into jail on $1 million bond. Judicial records showed Casey had a history of family violence.

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