Child Porn Judgment Has East Texas Link
WASHINGTON (AP/Staff) – A major Supreme Court ruling Wednesday on child pornography restitution has an East Texas link. The court tossed out a judgment of nearly $3.4 million — money that was supposed to be paid to a woman by a man whose computer was found to contain two images of her as a child. The man is Doyle Randall Paroline of Brownsboro. Paroline was appealing the lower court order holding him responsible for the judgment associated with the ongoing Internet trade and viewing of images of the woman being raped by her uncle when she was 8 and 9 years old. The court says federal law limits how much money the victims of child porn can collect from people who viewed the material. Read more …
Deputy Fired over Dog’s Fatal Shooting
EMORY — An East Texas deputy has been fired after shooting a family’s dog while responding to a burglary. The family is outraged after a necropsy shows their dog was shot dead while apparently moving away from law enforcement. KETK reports the family’s dog, Candy, was shot by a deputy responding to a burglary call at the home of Cole and Jayna Middleton on Farm to Market 514 in the Daughtery Community April 18. Officials with the Rains County Sheriff Office say Deputy Jerred Dooley responded to the call at 2:41 p.m., nearly two hours after the initial call for help. According to Rains County Communication Supervisor Patrick Wilson, the two-hour delay was investigated and the cause was found and corrected with administrative actions. Read more …
Man Gets Life in Prison for Child Sex Assault
GILMER — A sex offender was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday after a jury of 12 convicted him of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old child. KETK reports Jason Wayne Belcher, 35, was found guilty of sexually abusing the child in an Upshur County home when the mother was away at work. The crime took place in January 2012, said Criminal District Attorney Billy W. Byrd. The jury also heard additional evidence in which the suspect was accused of raping another child in Wood County. The victim made a teacher aware of the incidents, which had allegedly been ongoing for years, in February 2014. That investigation is ongoing. Read more …
Murder Suspect Waives Right to Jury Trial
LONGVIEW — The woman accused of shooting and killing a clerk at a Kilgore adult video store has waived her right to a jury trial. Samantha Gonzales Lara is charged with first-degree felony murder after police say she shot and killed Renee Garrett in January of 2011. Lara has been in the Gregg County Jail since her arrest in February of 2012. Kilgore police don’t believe she acted alone.
Power Outages Hit Some Tyler Customers
TYLER — A number of Tyler-area residents are experiencing power outages this afternoon. KETK reports over 1,000 customers have been affected. Officials estimate that all power should be restored by early this evening.
Authorities Seek Burglars in Incident near Hideaway
SMITH COUNTY — Smith County deputies are currently searching for two burglars following a Thursday incident in northwestern Smith County. According to KETK, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office reports that a woman was asleep in her home on CR 411 near Hideaway when she was awakened to an unknown man in her home shortly after 10:30 a.m. The burglar was startled by the homeowner and ran from the house without taking any items. The burglar jumped in a dark colored sedan with another man and possibly headed toward Highway 110. Both men were described as black males. Read more …
Suspects Named in April 21 Burglary, Chase
TYLER — The Smith County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspects in a burglary and chase which involved a young child in the getaway vehicle. At approximately 9:40 a.m. April 21, the Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of a burglary of a habitation in progress in the 11000 block of Sycamore Street in western Smith County. While patrol deputies were en route, the homeowner returned home to find the suspects leaving her residence, according to officials. Authorities say the suspects fled in a black pickup truck and were pursued by the deputies. Read more …
Tyler Police Investigate an Aggravated Robbery
TYLER — Tyler Police are investigating an aggravated robbery. It happened around 12:30 Thursday morning in the 1100 block of North Albertson. Officers said a 24-year-old Hispanic man said he and two friends were “jumped” by two other Hispanic men. The victim said he was struck in the back of the head with a gun when a struggle broke out. The suspects reportedly got away with the victim’s cellphone. He was treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
Man Gets 50 Years for Murder, Claims Victim Practiced Witchcraft on Him
RUSK — An East Texas man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for the 2012 murder of his ex-girlfriend. According to the Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office, Jose Diaz Perez, 51, was found guilty for murdering Caselin Ramirez on March 17, 2012. Officials tell KETK the couple had separated two weeks prior to the murder. Ramirez reportedly left Perez due to his excessive drinking and controlling behavior. Read more …
Self-Proclaimed Aryan Brotherhood Member Killed in Officer-Involved Shooting
NACOGDOCHES — An East Texas man who was an admitted Aryan Brotherhood member, and whose record stretched into Cherokee County, is dead after an officer-involved shooting with deputies from the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office. KETK reports deputies were involved in a shooting with Darrell Joseph Legnon, 25, during a traffic stop in Cushing Tuesday night. At around 11:00 p.m., a Cushing Independent School District resource officer conducted a traffic stop after seeing what was termed a suspicious car on the school campus. The motorist attempted to drive away from the officer, but he was able to catch up with the car and stop the it on Highway 204 at 6th Street. Two Nacogdoches County Deputies were in the area at the time and responded as a backup unit. Read more …
Former Bank Teller Pleads Guilty to Embezzling
TYLER — A Longview bank teller has been found guilty of embezzling over $1.3 million over a 13 year period. Kerri Monroe Jones pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Tyler. Thursday, U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider accepted her guilty plea. According to the Longview News-Journal, Jones worked at the Longview branch of Capitol One Bank as its lead teller from April 19, 2000, until September 16, 2013, and admitted to embezzling money throughout the entire 13 years, according to court documents. Jones waived her right to prosecution by indictment and consented to prosecution by information. She voluntarily surrendered herself and was arrested April 17. A sentencing date has not been set. She is facing up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
2014 Labor Market Analysis
TYLER — Dr. Marilyn Young, Professor of Management, College of Business and Technology, University of Texas at Tyler, has completed the 2014 Labor Market Analysis. The report addresses characteristics of the labor force for businesses considering expanding or opening new facilities within the Tyler and Smith County area. Numerous aspects of the labor force, such as current status, availability, minimum wage requirements, and demographic characteristics were examined. Read more …
Sheriff Smith to Hold Town Hall Meeting in Whitehouse
WHITEHOUSE – Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith will hold a town hall meeting tonight from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the TASCA Activity Center in Whitehouse, located at 10495 County Road 2167. The town hall meeting is his first of 2014. During 2013, Sheriff Smith’s first year in office, he held town halls in Lindale, Starville, Tyler, and Whitehouse. Read more …
Public Water Forum Tonight in Tyler
AUSTIN — The Texas Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will conduct a forum tonight at UT Tyler to discuss urban and rural perspectives on the water infrastructure needs of communities in Northeast Texas. According to a news release, “Speakers will discuss Texas’ future water needs and provide an opportunity for the public to obtain valuable information on this important issue.” Read more …
Campaign 2016: Texas Gov. Perry Says He Needs Prep
WASHINGTON (AP) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he’ll need more preparation if he runs for president again in 2016. Perry says he learned a lot when he ran last time. He tells CBS “This Morning” it was a humbling experience. The Republican governor says he recommends not having major back surgery six weeks before you start running. And he says that whether he runs for president or not, preparation on foreign policy, economics and other issues will serve him well. Perry had a lot of support when he ran in 2012. But he entered the race late and lost his edge after making several verbal blunders during the GOP debates. The Texas governor is in New York this week promoting Texas business.
Court Filing Claims Ship that Collided with Oil Barge Was Speeding
HOUSTON (AP) – A ship that collided with an oil barge in the Houston Ship Channel last month was speeding. That’s the claim in a federal court filing from the owner of the barge that spilled about 170,000 gallons of oil. The barge company is seeking $10 million from the ship owner, which says it has no responsibility for the accident.
Amid Nevada Fight, Texas in Its Own Land Dispute
AUSTIN (AP) – A Texas land dispute has the outgoing governor and the Republican candidate favored to replace him decrying the same federal agency currently embroiled in an armed standoff in Nevada. Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday accused the Bureau of Land Management of trying “to take private property” in Texas. Attorney General Greg Abbott, now running for governor, has also expressed concern that federal authorities may eventually trample private property rights. At issue is territory along the Red River that the Bureau of Land Management says is public land. But the case is complicated by the fact that the agency is in an armed standoff in Nevada with states’ rights advocate Cliven Bundy. Perry and Abbott insist Bundy isn’t the issue. But they are decrying what they see as federal overreach.
Abbott: Pay Teachers Bonuses for High Exam Scores
HOUSTON (AP) — Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says that as governor he would seek bonuses for high school teachers whose students perform well on college readiness exams. The Republican today called for paying teachers up to $2,000 a year extra if their students perform well on advanced placement tests. Texas consistently ranks near the bottom nationally in average teacher pay, according to many groups that track classroom salaries.
American Airlines Posts Record Earnings
DALLAS (AP) – American Airlines is making money again after its merger with US Airways. The company has posted record first-quarter earnings of $480 million. As separate airlines, American and US Airways lost $297 million a year earlier.
Child, 10, among 3 Austin Burglary Suspects
AUSTIN (AP) – An investigation into nearly a dozen attempted burglaries in Central Texas has led to the arrest of three youths, including a 10-year-old suspect. Travis County jail records show 17-year-old Erik Marciel was being held Thursday on two counts of attempted burglary of a habitation. Online jail records don’t list an attorney for Marciel, who was booked Wednesday with bond set at $7,500. He is being charged as an adult. Austin police say a 10-year-old and a 13-year-old have also been detained. Police declined to name the boys. Investigators say another suspect is being sought after reports of house break-ins on April 10. Police responded to reports of a neighbor seeing four people acting suspiciously near a home, including trying to open the windows.
Man Gets Life Sentence in Drug Trafficking Case
McALLEN (AP) – A South Texas man has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in a drug trafficking case. A federal judge on Thursday sentenced 38-year-old Daniel Nunez of Hidalgo. He had pleaded guilty in November 2012 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and conspiracy to transport and attempt to transport monetary instruments to Mexico to promote drug trafficking. Prosecutors say Nunez was involved in an organization that brought marijuana into the U.S. from Mexico. The marijuana would then be loaded onto tractor-trailers and taken to the Dallas area as well as spots in Florida and Alabama for distribution.
Dallas Police Probe Shooting Death
DALLAS (AP) — Police say a 37-year-old man who was found shot on a North Dallas street has died. Dallas police had no immediate witness or suspect information in yesterday morning’s shooting death of Matthew De La Garza.
Worker Dies in Industrial Accident
POINT COMFORT (AP) — A contract worker has died after falling about 25 feet while doing routine cleaning at a Formosa Plastics Corporation plant in southeast Texas. The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office today identifies the victim as Christopher Adames, 26, of Port Lavaca. The accident happened at the Formosa Plastics’ specialty PVC unit in Point Comfort, about 110 miles southwest of Houston.
Drug Smuggler Tied to Sheriff Pleads Guilty
McALLEN (AP) — A drug smuggler whose campaign contributions led to the recent resignation and federal conviction of a South Texas sheriff has pleaded guilty in McAllen to federal drug trafficking and money-laundering charges. The U.S. Attorney’s office says Tomas Reyes Gonzalez, 37, of Weslaco pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to possess drugs with intent to distribute them and conspiracy to launder money.
Feds Probe District’s Immigrant Teacher Hiring
DALLAS (AP) — A North Texas school district is facing a federal investigation and a payout of more than $500,000 to reimburse international teachers after their recruitment violated regulations. Some teachers in the Garland Independent School District in suburban Dallas believed the district’s irregularities are to blame for their possible deportation. The district hired an outside law firm to investigate its program after being contacted by in September by employees concerned about wrongdoing. That investigation found the official formerly in charge of the district’s program was poorly supervised. Also, foreign hiring during that official’s most prolific period, from 2008 on, was at an unreasonable rate. The district self-reported the findings in February to federal investigators.