Sen. John Cornyn Promotes New Bill to Address Border Crisis
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX 28) have each introduced bills in their respective houses of Congress that they together are calling the “Humane Act.” The bill is intended to close a loophole in a 2008 law that treats illegal immigrants from other countries differently than illegal immigrants from Mexico. According to Senator Cornyn, the law requires immigrants from countries other than Mexico to be released to a relative in the United States pending a hearing on a date in the future as set forth in a notice to appear. Most of those appearance obligations are never kept by the illegal immigrants, according to Senator Cornyn, resulting in de facto legal admission into the country. The bill that Sen. Cornyn and Rep. Cuellar have introduced would effectively modify that 2008 law so as to require detention of illegal immigrants, including unaccompanied children, and a speedy trial to determine the disposition of each case. The bill faces stiff headwinds in the Democratically-controlled Senate according to Sen. Cornyn.
KTBB’s Paul Gleiser spoke with Sen. Cornyn. That interview is available below.
Listen to the full interview:
Sheriff’s Office Reviewing Policy on Case Submissions
TYLER (Staff/AP) — Sheriff Larry Smith and the Smith County Sheriff’s Office Command Staff are in the process of reviewing incidents in which inmates were released on personal recognizance bonds. According to a news release, these inmates were released due to their cases not being filed with the District Attorney’s Office in time to indict. Officials say each case file will be reviewed at the Sheriff’s Office as well as any Sheriff’s Office communications to or from the District Attorney’s Office. Read more …
Suspect in Triple Fatality Released on Bond
HENDERSON — The woman accused of killing a woman and her two children in an alleged drunken driving incident has been released on bond. According to the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office, Shelby Taylor, 22, of Henderson, was set free after posting a $501,000 bond on Friday. KETK reports the suspect was facing a 2013 DWI accusation, among other charges, before the fatal crash occurred. The Rusk County District Attorney’s Office has filed three manslaughter charges against her for the deaths of Rudra Patel, 5, Trisha Patel, 12, and Heena Patel, 43. The father, 42-year-old Ketanbhai Patel, survived the crash. Read more …
Bond Set at $2 Million in Four-Year-Old’s Death
ATHENS — Bond has been set at $2 million for an East Texas woman who was arrested after authorities say she admitted to killing her four-year-old daughter. According to the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Stacie Marie Parsons, 25, of Athens, walked into the Athens Police Department around 8:45 Monday morning and told police she had murdered her young daughter. The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office responded to her home in the 410 block of Martin Luther King Drive and found Parsons’s child deceased with head and chest trauma. Officials tell KETK the alleged murder took place at a bridge on County Road 1500. Parsons remains the Henderson County Jail on a single charge of capital murder.
Simpson Holds Town Hall Meeting Following Border Tour
LONGVIEW – State Representative David Simpson of Longview invites citizens from District 7 and the surrounding area to a slideshow presentation and report about his week-long tour of the southern Texas border. After the report, the floor will be open for questions and comments from the audience about immigration and border security, according to a news release. The town hall meeting will take place at The Bridge Building at Mobberly Baptist Church from 5:30 to 7:30 this evening. Mobberly is located at 625 E. Loop 281 in Longview. The event is free and open to the public.
One Killed, Three Hurt in Weekend Crash near Longview
HARRISON COUNTY — Three people are recovering from injuries sustained in a head-on collision that killed one person over the weekend about two miles north of Longview in Harrison County. KETK reports that at 9:27 a.m. on Saturday, an SUV headed north on FM 2208 crossed the center line and smashed into a truck driving south. The driver of the SUV was identified as Janice Wilkinson, 62, of Colmesneil. She was taken to a Longview hospital in stable condition. Two other passengers in the SUV were injured, one fatally. Bobby Wilkinson, 64, of Colmesneil, was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Nancy George. He was taken to the Meadowbrook Funeral Home in Marshall. Sharron Smith, 61, of Colmesneil was transported to a local hospital in stable condition. The driver of the truck, 19-year-old Cayden Ferrill, was treated and released from a Longview hospital. All four passengers were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.
Police: Man Wanted in Robbery Considered “Armed and Dangerous”
LONGVIEW — Longview Police are looking for 25-year-old Vontrequel “Trey” or “Tre” Nickelberry. According to KETK, he is the suspect in an aggravated robbery that occurred May 10 in the 1000 Block of Young St. Police say Nickelberry is considered armed and dangerous. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Nickelberry, you are asked to call police immediately or contact Gregg County Crimestoppers at 903-236-7867 to remain anonymous.
Medical Code Workers Testify against Texas Doctor
TYLER (AP) – Some medical workers responsible for treatment billing codes say they felt pressured by a Dallas-area doctor to allegedly falsify data to get more money from Medicare. Testimony continues in the Tyler health care fraud trial of Dr. Tariq Mahmood, who’s denied wrongdoing. Federal prosecutors say the hospital chain owner conspired to submit more than $1.1 million in false billings. The Dallas Morning News reports Norma Longley testified Monday that she balked at changing billing codes for Renaissance Hospital Terrell patients. Longley says Mahmood insisted diagnoses by other doctors be altered to reflect more expensive treatments. She later discovered her codes for Medicare reimbursements were altered. Cynthia Kennemer Plumlee testified she was fired after refusing to let Mahmood be “involved” in reviewing patient codes. She cited professional ethics.
Harassment Complaint Leads to Prostitution Arrest
LONGVIEW — Police in Longview say a prostitution arrest was made following a harassment complaint. Police were dispatched Tuesday morning to a suspicious vehicle in the area of the 2900 block of Lynn Street. When officers arrived they were told by the victim that the suspect, later identified as 34-year-old Joseph Pearson of Daingerfield, had been continually harassing him since April, 2013. Read more …
Fire Destroys Longview Warehouse, Contents
LONGVIEW — The Longview Fire Department responded to a major fire at a warehouse on Mopac Road Monday afternoon. KETK reports that when officials arrived on scene, the structure was engulfed in flames and collapsed. According to fire officials, the building was used to store extra clothes, hangers, and other storage equipment for Webco’s store displays. Longview Fire Marshal Johnny Zackary said the Miracle Tabernacle church was also keeping about 70 oak pews inside the building. All contents inside the structure, as well as the structure itself, were lost. The cause is undertermined at the moment, but nothing appears to be suspicious about the fire, according to Zackary. No injuries were reported.
3 Hurt in Home Explosion Near Willis, Cause Sought
WILLIS (AP) – Three adults have suffered severe burns in a Central Texas house explosion that leveled the home. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office says the fiery blast happened before dawn Tuesday at a home near Willis. That’s about 40 miles north of Houston. Montgomery County Fire Marshal Jimmy Williams says it could be weeks before investigators determine a cause for the explosion that was felt several miles away. Williams says two men and a woman suffered severe burns and were transported to a hospital. Their names and further details on their conditions weren’t immediately released. Williams says investigators are trying to determine if any nearby homes in the unincorporated area were damaged.
East Texas Fugitive Apprehended in Honduras
BEAUMONT (AP) — Authorities say federal agents have apprehended a man in Central America who’s wanted in East Texas on charges that include indecency with a child. Jefferson County sheriff’s Deputy Rod Carroll said Monday that Matthew Cherry, 31, was arrested in an island community off the north coast of Honduras. Sheriff’s officials say Cherry was wanted for failing to register as a sex offender and two counts of indecency with a child. Agents with the U.S. Marshals Service were acting on a tip when they took Cherry into custody Saturday. Carroll says Cherry fled the country about two years ago to avoid prosecution. Officials contend he was preying on children in Honduras. Cherry is scheduled to be transported to Houston later this week and then taken to Jefferson County.
Prosecutors Seek Death for Police Officer’s Killer
HOUSTON (AP) — Prosecutors are presenting their case for a death penalty for a 23-year-old man convicted of capital murder in the Christmas Eve killings two years ago of a Houston-area police officer and an auto body shop owner. The punishment phase of the trial of Harlem Lewis III continues for a second day Tuesday in Houston. Meanwhile, attorneys for Harlem Lewis III say they intend to present experts to testify that Lewis has an IQ of 76, barely above mental retardation range. Defense attorney Patrick McCann aims to convince the Harris County jury to imprison his client for life without parole. Jurors deliberated about two hours Friday before finding Lewis guilty of the deaths of Bellaire officer Jimmie Norman and auto body shop owner Terry Taylor.
Man Gets 16 Years for Injuring Officer
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A Texas man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for a car crash that caused a San Antonio police officer’s leg to be amputated. A state district judge delivered the punishment to Kevin Balditt, 27, on Monday. Balditt pleaded guilty in April to intoxication assault of a public servant, which is a second-degree felony. Officer Michael Thornton had stopped to help a group with a flat tire one morning in January 2011. He was walking back to his patrol car when Balditt’s car slammed into him. Thornton was pinned between the two cars and was nearly flung over a guardrail along the elevated highway. Thornton’s right leg was amputated about 3 inches below his knee. He now wears a prosthetic and serves in the department’s DWI unit.
Police: Man Posed as Vet to Treat Pets
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston police say they arrested a 26-year-man who posed as a veterinarian to charge customers for vaccinations and other treatment for their pets. Investigators said in a news release Monday that Wilfredo Gutierrez was arrested last week and charged with unlawful practice of medicine. Harris County court records show Gutierrez pleaded guilty to the charge and was jailed for two days. He remains in the county jail on a separate charge of possession of a controlled substance, with bond set at $35,000. Police say Gutierrez was using business names like DogSmart Veterinary Services to enter people’s homes to treat their pets. Authorities say they’re concerned that many pets supposedly given vaccinations are in fact not protected from disease.
Texas Man Travels Country to Buy Homeless Signs
ST. PAUL, MINN. (AP) — A Texas artist is traveling across the country purchasing signs from homeless people. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports Willie Baronet of Dallas stopped in the Twin Cities Tuesday as part of his month long cross-country trip through 24 U.S. cities. He paid $10 to $20 each for cardboard signs made by local homeless people. The artist hopes to raise awareness of homelessness by producing a documentary film and a book, as well as featuring the signs in future art installations and exhibits. Baronet has been purchasing signs for 21 years and estimates his collection to be around 700 signs. He said he bought his first sign in response to the guilt he felt when seeing a person asking for money on the street.