ORANGE (AP) – Police say a Southeast Texas man who used a hammer to kill his 2-year-old daughter is being held on $2 million bond after being arraigned on a capital murder charge. Orange police Capt. Robert Enmon says 26-year-old Yovahnis Roque was arraigned Wednesday. Roque was arrested Tuesday after the discovery of his slain daughter in their home. Enmon says she was killed in her bedroom with a hammer. Enmon said it was the most horrific crime he’s dealt with in his 29-year career, calling it “the crime scene of nightmares.” Roque remained jailed Wednesday. Jail records didn’t list an attorney for him.
DALLAS (AP) – The family of a 12-year-old girl who died in a natural gas explosion at her Dallas home has released cellphone video the girl recorded in the minutes leading up to the blast. Linda “Michellita” Rogers is shown in three separate short videos preparing her hair and wearing her uniform in preparation for a cheerleading event. She speaks quietly so as not to wake her family in the early-morning hours. The last video, shot in hyper speed as she braided her hair, was recording when the explosion occurred Feb. 23. Her family was able to escape from the rubble of the home. The National Transportation Safety Board found that Atmos Energy had received complaints weeks before the explosion of gas leaks in the neighborhood. The company in a court filing has denied it failed to adequately respond to leaks in the area.
PECOS (AP) – A federal judge in West Texas has sentenced two former public officials to prison for accepting bribes in awarding a document management system to a company. Judge David Counts on Tuesday sentenced 67-year-old Carlos Eduardo Nieto to two and a half years in prison and 57-year-old Lorenzo Padilla Hernandez to two years. Each is also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. Nieto was a special projects coordinator for the city of Presidio and served on the board for the Presidio school district. He pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and deprivation of honest services. Hernandez was a commissioner for Presidio County. He pleaded guilty in August to the same charge. Prosecutors say they used their positions of influence to direct the contract to the unnamed company.
HOUSTON (AP) – A Georgia man has been sentenced to more than six years in federal prison for a bogus invoice scam that cost a Central Texas city nearly $800,000. Derrick Ervin of Atlanta was sentenced Tuesday to 77 months behind bars in the email scheme targeting the city of Bryan. A judge in Houston also ordered the 40-year-old Ervin to repay Bryan. Ervin in November pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Investigators say Ervin last March and others posed as city vendors, emailed fake invoices to Bryan and asked that funds be sent to new bank accounts. The municipal money was sent to accounts controlled by Ervin and set up using stolen identities.
TEXARKANA, Texas (AP) – The mayors of Texarkana in Texas and Arkansas have pledged to cooperate on the annual homeless counts in their respective cities. The Texarkana Gazette reports the mayors of both cities on Tuesday agreed to help synchronize the count. Arkansas-side Mayor Allen Brown and Texas-side Mayor Bob Bruggeman plan to contact legislators. Both states dictate when to do “point in time counts” of the homeless. The figures help determine government funding. Officials say some homeless in Texarkana frequently cross the state line, leading to duplicate numbers. The most recent Texarkana counts happened on different days during the same week in January, recording 63 homeless on the Arkansas side and 120 on the Texas side. The mayoral comments came during a meeting of the Joint Texarkana Community Committee held in Texas.