BELTON (AP) – A former Texas law enforcement officer who worked for several East Texas agencies must serve life in prison without parole for the 2014 killing of Little River-Academy police Chief Lee Dixon. David Gene Risner was sentenced Wednesday night in Belton. Jurors on June 6 convicted Risner of capital murder, but deadlocked on whether he deserved the death penalty or life in prison without possibility of parole. A judge then sentenced the 59-year-old Risner to life behind bars. Dixon was fatally shot in June 2014 while responding to a report of an armed man. Dixon was the only police officer in Little River-Academy, a town of about 2,000 located 60 miles northeast of Austin. Risner formerly was a police officer in Edgewood, Gun Barrel City and Grand Saline, plus worked for the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office.
TYLER — Tyler-area residents are continuing to join hands in a spirit of peace and unity following the Orlando massacre. This evening at 6:30, a consortium of local groups representing the LGBT community and others will hold a vigil at Bergfeld Park honoring victims of the attack. Organizers say attendees should expect “peaceful, non-violent words and actions.” On Tuesday, the East Texas Islamic Society held its already-scheduled annual open house Tuesday evening in observance of the holy month of Ramadan. A huge crowd was on hand, and society spokesman Anwar Khalifa says after 13 years of holding the event, attendance gets better every year. Given what’s been on the news, Khalifa says that’s “very encouraging,” noting that “we’re all here for knowledge…and better understanding.” He adds, “I feel like it’s extremely important that we open our doors for our community.”
HENDERSON — The judge presiding over the Bernie Tiede case has dismissed the convicted murderer’s theft indictment, agreeing it violated Tiede’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial, according to the Longview News-Journal and KETK. The action by visiting Judge Diane DeVasto expands the possibilities for Tiede, who is appealing a 99-year sentence jurors levied in April after hearing three weeks of testimony. Defense attorney Mike DeGeurin’s motion for a new sentencing trial, which would be Tiede’s third for the 1996 murder of 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent in Carthage, remains pending before DeVasto.… Read More
GREGG COUNTY — A Longview man is safe after his boat capsized Tuesday morning on the Sabine River, just north of the Texas 149 bridge. KETK reports, Ismael Martinez, 59, had been planning to spend his Wednesday morning fishing just near the bridge. But when he got to the spot where he was going to tie off his boat, the boat flipped. A rescue call came in to emergency responders at 7:45, Gregg County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Josh Tubb said. Emergency response teams from Gregg County, Lakeport, Texas Parks & Wildlife and the Longview Fire Department responded to the scene, with the Longview Fire Department’s water rescue team bringing the man’s boat to shore. Martinez was not injured, but he did lose one sandal and his bait.
GLADEWATER — Two young alligators were rescued from a Gladewater swimming pool Tuesday afternoon, Game Warden Todd Long said. Homeowners living about a quarter of a mile from the river called authorities Tuesday when they noticed the alligators were stuck in their pool, which had a low water level. It’s not known when exactly the alligators became trapped, according to the Longview News-Journal and KETK. Long, along with officers from the Gladewater Police Department, moved the alligators and released them back into the Sabine River. The Parks and Wildlife Department is seeing a lot of displaced alligators recently because of flooding, Long said. He urged anyone who sees an alligator where it shouldn’t be to contact the Parks and Wildlife Department or their local authorities.
ATHENS — An East Texas man has received the maximum sentence for six sexually-related crimes after pleading guilty. KETK reports that Cedric Verachai Herring, 34, formerly of Brownsboro, was sentenced in Athens Tuesday. He gets life in prison for aggravated sexual assault, life in prison for sexual assault of a child, 99 years for sexual assault of a child, 20 years for indecency with a child by contact, 20 years on each of two counts of sexual performance by a child, and 10 years for possession of child pornography. Herring was indicted after an investigation into the cases in April 2014 when a complaint was made to the Brownsboro Police Department by the mother of one of Herring’s victims.… Read More
GREGG COUNTY — The mother of a toddler who died Tuesday in a fire north of Lake Cherokee has identified the child, two of her other children injured in the fire, and the children’s father — and she says the surviving kids are going to be all right. According to KETK and the Longview News-Journal, Tasha LaShell Holland said 3-year-old Ayden Bounds was the boy who died in the fire Tuesday afternoon on Victorian Oak. Holland said Bounds, who had moderate autism, was “the sweetest little boy you could ever meet.” Lilly Bounds, 1, was taken to a hospital in Dallas. Jacob Bounds, 4, was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview. The children’s father, Thomas Bounds, was also injured in the fire while getting the children out of the home. The extent of his injuries is not yet known.… Read More
TYLER (AP) – A former Texas death row inmate says he wants to tear up an agreement that dismissed his murder charge while protecting prosecutors in his case from any findings of misconduct. Kerry Max Cook fired his legal team last week after a judge dropped the charge against him in the 1977 Tyler slaying of a 21-year-old woman. In Facebook posts and emails to the New York-based Innocence Project and the Innocence Project of Texas, the 60-year-old Cook says he never approved an agreement that would absolve prosecutors of wrongdoing. Cook has been free since 1999, after a judge found his rights were violated due to false testimony and suppressed evidence that could have helped his defense. He still wants full exoneration and has a hearing this month to determine his innocence.
TYLER — Brookshire Grocery Co. Wednesday announced the pending acquisition of 25 former Walmart Express stores in smaller communities. According to KETK, the company announced the new stores will open this summer as the company’s new “Spring Market” brand. The acquisition is scheduled to close in July. BGC says the name “Spring Market” represents and honors the company’s great history, which began in 1928 with the opening of its first store on Spring Avenue in Tyler. The stores will offer hometown convenience in an easy to shop format with a surprising assortment of products at highly competitive prices, according to the company.… Read More
LONGVIEW — Longview ISD Deputy Superintendent Andrea Mayo has resigned effective June 30 to take a position as Assistant Superintendent of Operations for Duncanville ISD. According to a news release, Mayo said she is stepping down to take a position closer to her residence in the Dallas area. “It is with a heavy heart that I leave Longview ISD,” she said Tuesday in the release. “It is not something I thought would ever happen, but the opportunity to be able work much closer to home — and spend more time with my family — was too good to pass up.” LISD Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox said Mayo leaves “big shoes to fill” and thanked her for her long and distinguished service to the district.
LONGVIEW — Longview Police arrest a suspect wanted in a shooting earlier this month. According to KETK, Tyson Dixon, 22, was taken into custody for aggravated assault. According to police, on June 6th, officials received a report of gunfire near the intersection of Scenic Drive and Spring Street. Bullet casings were located at the site, but no victim was found. Officers were later notified that Victor Jessie, 21, arrived at a Longview hospital with a gunshot wound. Police confirmed Jessie was connected to the shooting on Spring Street. Police say Jessie, who sustained life-threatening injuries, was taken to the hospital by way of personal vehicle. Prior to the incident, Dixon was named as a person of interest in the connection with the August 2015 fatal shooting of Laprida Shears at Bunny’s in Tyler. Dixon was also booked on outstanding warrants. Police say he has gang ties and has since posted his $50,000 bond.
SMITH COUNTY — The Smith County Commissioners Court on Tuesday voted to approve a reinvestment zone and a four-year tax abatement as an incentive for Arkansas-based Boyd Metals Inc. to open a full-line steel service center in Smith County. According to a press release from the Commissioners Court, Tyler Economic Development Council President/CEO Tom Mullins said they were contacted in 2014 by Boyd Metals about opening an assembly and distribution center in Smith County. Recently, the former Amega West facility on Sand Flat Road became available, and Boyd Metals closed on purchasing the 38,540-square-foot building on Monday, June 13. The company plans to operate a distribution center for all types of steel and expanded metal products.… Read More
SMITH COUNTY — A visiting judge has appointed an East Texas judge to hear the petition asking for the removal of Smith County Judge Joel Baker. According to KETK, this comes after District Attorney Matt Bingham asked to be recused and that request was granted. The Attorney Pro Tem appointed by visiting Judge David Peeples is Jim Parsons of Palestine.
TYLER – A 53-year-old former bank vice president and trust officer has been sentenced in Tyler federal court for unlawfully structuring transactions. Carol D. Rushton of Tyler pleaded guilty Dec. 17 and was sentenced to 36 months of federal probation. Rushton was also ordered to pay a $30,000 fine and must perform 108 hours of community service as well as notify all of her current and future clients of her conviction.… Read More
TYLER — Tyler police have arrested Christopher Lamar Arnold, born in 1984, who was wanted for the May 7 aggravated robbery of the Valero Station at Troup and Thistle. Police are still seeking the female suspect identified as Candice Renae McGee, born in 1988. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is urged to contact the Tyler Police Department, at 903-531-1000, or Crimestoppers at 903-597-CUFF (903-597-2833). Crimestoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrests and charges filed against the suspects in this case or any felony case.… Read More
TYLER — Tyler police have released photos of the suspect in a robbery this past Sunday at Food Fast at Houston and Palace. Authorities say officers responded around 3:15 Sunday morning. They learned that an unknown Hispanic male had come around the sales counter, pushed the clerk down, grabbed the cash register, and left the store walking northbound from the property. Officers checked the area but were unable to locate the suspect. He is described as being in his 20s, wearing a dark blue shirt and tan pants, about 5’05” in height, approximately 180 pounds, with tightly cropped black hair, light brown skin, and speaking English as though it was his primary language. The sales register contained an undisclosed amount of cash. The sales clerk was not injured during the incident.… Read More
RUSK COUNTY — Authorities are seeking leads in a recent hit-and-run that left 26-year-old Longview resident Roberta Alfaro critically injured. Troopers responded to the incident June 10 on FM 95, one mile south of SH 315, near Mt. Enterprise. Preliminary investigation revealed that an unknown vehicle was traveling southbound on FM 95 when it struck Alfaro, a construction worker, on the side of the roadway. Alfaro remains in critical condition in an area hospital. Anyone with information on the driver is asked to call 903-657-0382 or the Rusk County Crime Stoppers at 903-655-8477. Troopers believe that the suspect vehicle will have front end damage.
TYLER – As of Tuesday, people flying out of Tyler Pounds Regional Airport are seeing an expedited screening program. The Transportation Security Administration recently announced the start of TSA Pre✓. This allows select flyers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and keep 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels in a carry-on bag. The Tyler airport becomes one of more than 160 airports in the country where passengers can experience expedited screening.… Read More
UPSHUR COUNTY — A Longview man is dead in a crash around 11:35 Monday morning on U.S. 259 near Diana in Upshur County. According to DPS Trooper Jean Dark, preliminary investigation revealed that a pickup was traveling southbound in the outside lane of travel at an unsafe speed for the wet road conditions, lost control, and skidded off the roadway to the right. The vehicle struck several trees with its left side. The driver, 25-year-old Marco Arcos-Martinez, was pronounced dead at the scene. Dark said he was not wearing his seatbelt.
NACOGDOCHES — Nacogdoches DPS have released the name of the victims in a fatal wreck that occurred Friday evening. According to KETK, on June 10around 6:00, Nacogdoches County DPS troopers responded to and investigated a three-vehicle crash on US 59, about six miles south of Nacogdoches. The preliminary crash investigation indicated a van failed to yield right-of-way from FM 2864 and was struck by a southbound SUV. After the initial collision the van hit a pickup truck that was stopped in the turn lane of US 59 waiting to turn onto FM 2864. The driver of the van was identified as Gerald Dee Drummond, 60, of Fayettville, Arkansas. Gerald Drummond was taken to a Dallas hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on June 12.… Read More
TYLER — Eastbound traffic lanes will be intermittently closed on Old Henderson Highway at the intersection of SSE Loop 323 in Tyler till 3 p.m. today. Due to damages caused by a motor vehicle accident, a contractor will be drilling a new foundation for a traffic pole. Drivers should proceed with caution or seek alternate corridors during this time.
ANGLETON (AP/Staff) – A man has been arrested in Colorado for the slaying of a former Liberty City-area man whose decapitated body was found about six weeks ago in his truck near a boat ramp. The Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office said Monday 24-year-old Zachary Lyn Foyt (pictured) is being held on $5 million bond in Lakewood, Colorado, pending extradition to Texas. He’s held for the death of 24-year-old Jubal Alexander of Port Arthur. Alexander’s headless body was found May 3 outside Angleton, south of Houston. He was last heard from on April 27. Investigators say Alexander worked at a nearby chemical plant and was living in his truck to save money. Police say they received a tip May 24 tying Foyt to the slaying and that he fled to Colorado. No motive has been determined. KETK reports Alexander was a graduate of Sabine High School.
ATHENS — Since taking the oath of office in early June, Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse says he began following through on a key campaign pledge — to fight illegal drugs in Henderson County. KETK reports that to date, 13 people have been charged with felony possession of drugs, primarily suspected methamphetamine. The arrests came in four separate raids stretching from June 7 to 10. “The raids will continue,” Hillhouse said. “Last week, my office began what will be a systematic effort to make this an unfriendly County in Texas for illegal drugs and that campaign continues today.”
1) Highway 69 between Rusk and Jacksonville – At 7 Mile Hill
2) Highway 79 west of Jacksonville
3) Highway 84 at Farm-To-Market Road 1248 – Reklaw area
4) Farm-To-Market Road 347
5) Farm-To-Market Road 768 – First bridge south of 204 and at Jones’ Dairy … Read More
LINDALE — The Lindale Police Department is seeking information regarding a man who they say has entered the Lowe’s in Lindale and stolen tools on multiple occasions. According to KETK, police say a white male with a pony tail and tattoos on his right arm has walked out of the store numerous times taking various tools in the process. The unidentified man drives a 2007 white Mazda 5. If you have any information on this case, please contact Detective Mike Lazarine at MikeL@LindaleTx.gov.
MABANK — Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse, a team of deputies, and the Dallas SPCA took 48 malnourished, sick, and infected small dogs from a Mabank home Saturday morning, according to authorities. KETK reports the dogs’ owner, Betty Kennedy, 73, of Mabank, faces animal cruelty charges. Officials say the chihuahuas, yorkies, shihtzu, and schnauzer mix dogs — males, females, puppies and adults — were living in their own wastes, were covered with fleas, suffered from mange, had internal parasites, and lacked proper water. They were taken to facilities in Dallas. The warrant to search the premises was signed by Henderson County Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 Milton Adams.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — He was a body builder and a security guard, a religious man who attended the local mosque and wanted to become a police officer. Early Sunday, police say 29-year-old Omar Mateen opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando in an attack that left 49 people dead and 53 wounded. It’s a long road to answers as investigators look into what drove Mateen to commit the terror attack. He was a known ISIS sympathizer. He also was investigated by the FBI twice in 2013 and 2015 after making terroristic threats to coworkers. Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith, who also served as an ATF agent for several years, spoke with KETK and said gun control is not the issue.… Read More
TYLER — Tyler Police are investigating a reported armed robbery Monday morning. Officers said they responded to an apartment on 4400 Paluxy Drive at 2:00 after a man and woman said they were robbed at gunpoint. The suspect took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled on foot. He’s described as a black male, around 5’10 with a medium build. He was wearing a jersey with the number “23” on the back and black cargo shorts.
TYLER — A memorial service will be held Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at Tyler’s First Presbyterian Church for former Tyler ISD Superintendent Jimmy (Jim) Plyler. Plyler died Thursday at 91. According to the Stewart Family Funeral Home website, Plyler served as Tyler’s top school official from 1969-1979. During these years, Tyler schools were integrated, and the landmark Supreme Court ruling was issued which guaranteed a free public education for all immigrant children in the U.S.… Read More
TYLER — Tyler Police are searching for the suspect of a gas station robbery early Sunday morning. Officers were called to the Food Fast convenience store, 805 W Houston, around 3:15 this morning. The clerk told officials that a Hispanic man was the store, came around the counter and pushed the clerk down. The clerk said the suspect took the cash register and fled the scene heading north. He’s described as being in his 20s, wearing a dark blue shirt, tan pants, about 5`05″ in height, approximately 180 pounds, with tightly cropped black hair, light brown skin, and speaking English as though it was his primary language. The sales register contained an undisclosed amount of cash. The sales clerk was not injured during the incident. Contact police with any info.