Sep

22

Posted by : admin | On : September 22, 2016

castleberry-douglas-fisher-pic

By Toni Garrard Clay
AISD Communications Coordinator
ATHENS–The evening of Sept. 15 was a celebration of achievement, past and present, for Athens ISD as many of the community’s leading citizens attended a gala honoring the inaugural class of the Hornet Hall of Fame.
Athens High School class of 1940 graduate Vivian Anderson Castleberry, 1977 AHS graduate Drew Douglas, and the late historic Athens educator R.C. Fisher were all inducted and honored before a crowd of about 90.
“This started with the simple idea that, as a school district, we should not only be looking forward toward our goals, but backward as well, to honor the remarkable achievements of so many who have come before,” said AISD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Janie Sims. “This is only the beginning.”
Each of the inductees were introduced through short biographical videos, which have been posted to the district’s website, www.athensisd.net and Facebook page Athens Independent School District.
Following their introductions, Castleberry and Douglas were interviewed on stage by AISD Communications Coordinator Toni Garrard Clay about their time as a Hornet and their accomplishments since. Following Fisher’s biographical piece, Fisher High Alumni Association President Prince Fite joined Clay on stage to discuss his experience as a 1962 graduate of R.C. Fisher High School, which closed in 1966 with desegregation.
Castleberry describes her time as a student in Athens during the pre-World War II years as pivotal in determining the course of her life. During her senior year, 1939-40, she was president of the student council, editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and member of a debate team that won third place in state.
She went on to graduate from Southern Methodist University and in the mid-1950s was hired as the home editor for the Dallas Times Herald, where she remained for 28 years. During her time as women’s editor, Castleberry revolutionized how newspapers covered women’s issues.
“I didn’t want to just write about things,” she said. “I wanted to write about people.”
Upon retirement, a trip to Russia as a citizen diplomat led to Castleberry founding Peacemakers Incorporated and the subsequent hosting of several international conferences. She has authored a number of books, is the namesake of the University of North Texas Castleberry Peace Institute, and in 1984 was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. She and her late husband, Curtis Castleberry, were married for “67 years, 7 months, 27 days and 21 hours.” She has five daughters and many grand and great-grandchildren.
Drew Douglas is a graduate of the AHS class of 1977 and is currently serving as the Athens Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year. He was a standout football player for the Hornets and graduated near the top of his class. Douglas enrolled at Baylor University, where he walked onto the Bears’ football team his first two years and was named scout team player of the year both years. His junior and senior years, he received a full scholarship.
In 1983, having had his real estate license since his last year in college Douglas began to buy, sell, trade, invest in and develop real estate. He earned his broker’s license in 1984, partnered with Steve Grant in 1989, and has been a general contractor for the past decade.
In August of 2010, Douglas opened the Athens Thrift Store. The store accepts donated goods, which it offers to the public at reasonable prices. The profits are then given away. Since opening, Athens Thrift Store has contributed approximately $300,000 to 20 different non-profit organizations in Henderson County.
Douglas has two children, Jessica and Joseph, and three grandchildren. He and his wife, Lori, have been married since 1992.
Richard “R.C.” Fisher was born in 1888, the son of a former slave and the youngest of six children. After attending public school in High Bank, Texas, he went on to graduate from Prairie View State Normal School for the training of teachers.
In 1914 under a segregated system, Fisher joined the faculty of a two-room wood schoolhouse on the north side of Athens called, “Athens Colored School.” When he became principal in 1925, he renamed it “Blackshear” to honor Edward L. Blackshear, a former professor of his.
Fisher died in 1932 after a short illness at the age of 44, having been predeceased by his wife and only child, a daughter. Upon his death, the new brick building constructed to serve African-American students was named in his honor.
During his time in Athens, R.C. Fisher was in many ways a liaison between the African-American and white communities. In addition to being a principal at Blackshear High School, he began serving in 1920 as a team trainer, known then as a “rub doctor,” for the football and basketball teams at Athens High School. The respect for Fisher, affectionately known then as “Doc Fisher,” was such that when Grand Saline announced they would not allow him on their sideline, Athens High School refused to play there.
After his death, Jimmie Kitts, a former coach at Athens High School, described Fisher as having had “all the fine qualities in his character that a man could possess.”

Sep

22

Posted by : admin | On : September 22, 2016

The News Staff Reports
TYLER–The No. 4-ranked Malakoff Tigers improved to 3-0 on the season with a 46-14 victory over the Tyler Grace Community Cougars Friday at Tiger Stadium.
QT Barker had a highlight-reel 73-yard kickoff return for a touchdown early in the game to bring the Tigers into a tie 7-7. In the second quarter the Tigers took the lead for good when Judd Miller found Tyler Russell for a seven-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion gave Malakoff the 15-7 lead.
JaQuaylon Hart helped the cause on defense, running back a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 22-7 lead. The final Tigers touchdown in the first half was another pass from Miller to Russell for a 9-yard strike. Malakoff led 29-7 at the break.
After halftime, the Tigers just kept bringing it to Tyler Grace. Barker got things going again with a 48-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, followed by a PAT by Everardo Garcia to make the score 36-7.
Garcia booted a 28-yard field goal to build the lead to 39-7. Grace answered by their final touchdown of the night to make the score 39-14 in the fourth quarter.
RJ Carr scored the final touchdown on the night with a 86-yard run to bring the score to the 46-14 final.
The Tigers are back in action Sept. 23 in the District 9-3A opener against the Whitney Wildcats at Tiger Stadium.

Sep

22

Posted by : admin | On : September 22, 2016

By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF–The Malakoff ISD School Board authorized the superintendent to negotiate funding terms to move forward on a plan to save the district thousands of dollars annually on its energy needs.
A representative from Ideal Impact presented a four-year partnership with the district to optimize all its energy systems, install unique software and act as a consultant to conserve energy and dollars. Ideal Impact views what it does as a ministry which has been returning massive amounts of funds back to schools and universities for the past eight years.
The partnership guarantees a return of savings above the cost of service. The board agreed to finance the $204,000 for four years of the partnership to save approximately $73,000 a year, a 28 percent reduction on energy expenditures.
Trustees learned there would be no other costs to upgrade or replace equipment, and that the program was not simply a light bulb exchange program. “Actually there’s very little savings opportunity in lighting, though a lighting team will be making recommendations,” the representative said.
A team from Ideal Impact conducted their own energy analysis of the district’s systems at its own cost, over 10 days, before giving the board its estimate of what it would require to deliver savings — $55,455.10, annually. “This is a good faith agreement among men of good will. After all is done to weatherize equipment, optimize controls for energy conservation and comfort, Ideal Impact trains any and all willing to learn how to maintain and monitor the efficiency of the system and documents everything in simple terms, so in the years ahead others can continue to realize the energy savings.
It also acts as a consultant on energy matters; including how to measure how much energy any given event might require for expense considerations, negotiating with energy suppliers for the best price and plans to expand or shrink facilities for the remainder of the four years. “Our goal is for the project to be self-sustaining,” the representative said.
“They’re offering to help us help ourselves,” Superintendent Randy Perry said.
Monthly comparisons on energy savings will include necessary adjustments to compare apples to apples, using 2016 as a base year. “Every month you’ll get a report off every meter,” the representative said. “The sooner we start the sooner the district can realize the savings. There should be between $6,000 and $7,500 savings right away. But it’s up to you when to start,” the representative said. “However, I suggest you start before the peak energy months (December, January, February) because these would set a new high demand baseline that would be applied to your billing for the next 12 months,” she said.
“If we don’t do this, we’re going to have to look elsewhere to save money,” Perry said. “For the long term, it’s the smart thing to do. When I’m gone and you’re gone, the district will still be saving money.”
Trustees agreed with Perry’s recommendation that they not use the district’s fund balance for the partnership but rather seek funding through a maintenance note coming from Maintenance and Operation funds. Preliminary research had found such a note at 3.5 percent from Government Capital. Perry said he would negotiate a rate of 3.25 or better for the partnership.
In other business, trustees:
• heard enrollment was at 1,344.
• heard teachers had until Oct. 4 to submit grant applications to the Malakoff Education Foundation.
• heard The Homecoming Parade was set for Tuesday, Oct. 11 and a tailgate celebration at Brookshire’s in Malakoff from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• heard Sen. Robert Nichols would meet with area superintendents regarding his fight against school vouchers on Oct. 12 in Athens.
• set homecoming for Friday, Oct. 14.
• noted Academic Designations at several of the campuses.

Sep

15

Posted by : admin | On : September 15, 2016

By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF—The Malakoff City Council adopted its 2017 budget and tax rate Monday. The $1,853,000 budget includes adding staff and pay raises, an $87,000 bond payment and increases in the fire and police departments. The council approved a penny increase in the tax rate from 48 cents to 49 cents per $100 property value. The fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
Commenting on the budget, Mayor Pro Tem Tim Trimble said, “We’ve given our employees all the tools they need to get the job done.”
During the same meeting, council members unanimously approved a monetary gift for city employees of $250 each. No reason was given.
Two members of the Malakoff Economic Development Corp, Kasey Jamison and Vincent Bailey Jr. were reappointed for another two-year term. million budget.
During a public hearing on the budget and tax rate, David Hennessee pointed out that the ditch cleaning operations on Martin Street, where he lives has not been effective as now there is standing water where it has not been before, even washing back under the street and power pole. “The water is not flowing as it should,” he said.
City employee Tim Whitley answered that a water study is now underway by engineers to determine how best to correct the issue. Once done, the Texas Department of Transportation is to be brought in to help correct it.
Hennessee also noted that the administration line item went up quite a bit, to which City Administrator Ann Barker said that more personnel was being added.
Another resident asked that a street light be installed on North Lincoln, to which she was answered one is being ordered from TXU and that the paperwork had been sent in.
Also on the agenda were closed sessions with three employees, individually for evaluation; and a session with the city attorney regarding pending litigation touching on the fire department, and non-emergency calls being directed to the Malakoff Police Department.

Sep

15

Posted by : admin | On : September 15, 2016

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–The Athens Hornets are still looking for their first win of the season following a 42-21 loss to the 5A Red Oak Hawks Sept. 9.
The Hornets got out on the right foot, scoring the game’s first touchdown on a 11-yard run from JaQuaylon Bowman. Dakota Anderson made good on the extra point for the Hornets to take a 7-0 lead at the 7:15 mark in the first quarter. That’s as good as things got for the Hornets, as the Hawks scored 28 unanswered points to take a stranglehold in the contest.
Red Oak’s first touchdown came in the opening seconds of the second quarter when quarterback Chris Bugg found Jordan Munoz in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown pass at the 11:52 mark. Kicker Edgar Perez kicked the PAT to tie the game 7-7.
The Hawks scored again just two and a half minutes later when Bugg went deep to Brock Houston for a 41-yard touchdown pass at the 9:30 mark. Red Oak led 14-7 and stayed in the lead for the remainder of the contest.
The Hornets surrendered momentum to Red Oak on the ensuing kickoff by fumbling the ball on the one-yard line, where the Hawks recovered and followed up with a touchdown run to take a 21-7 lead with 9:13 remaining.
The Hawks were not done as with 6:01 remaining in the half, Bugg ran in a 12-yard touchdown for the 28-7 lead.
Athens got one more score on the board before halftime when quarterback Xavius Fulton found Noah Bush for a 32-yard touchdown with 1:57 remaining. Anderson kicked PAT for the 21-14 deficit.
Red Oak came out in the second half and extended the lead back to three touchdowns when Houston caught a six-yard touchdown at the reception in the fourth quarter.
The Hornets final touchdown came at 6:08 when Fulton connected with Bush again, this time for a 68-yard touchdown strike to bring the game to 35-21.
The Hawks scored one more time, with a 83-yard run from Blake Sonnier at the 2:52 mark to bring to the score to its 42-21 final.
Fulton finished the with 100 passing yards and two touchdowns and four interceptions. He had 29 yards rushing. Athens finished the night with 270 yards of offense, compared to 416 for Red Oak.
The Athens Hornets are in a spot they have not seen since the 2005 football season following a 42-21 loss to the Red Oak Hawks in the home opener.
The Hornets fall to 0-3 and the Hawks improve to 2-1. Athens hopes to pick up its first win of the season Friday when they host the Robison Rockets for homecoming. Kick off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Robinson is 3-0 after its 56-14 victory over Troy last week.

Sep

15

Posted by : admin | On : September 15, 2016

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By Pearl Cantrell
News Staff Writer
ATHENS–Athens attorney Nancy Perkins has pledged a multi-million-dollar gift in honor of her mother, naming the Trinity Valley Community College Foundation as the beneficiary of her entire estate, the largest single gift ever made.
The gift will be formally announced and celebrated at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15 in the auditorium attached to the Orval Pirtle Administration Building. The auditorium will ultimately be named the Pauline Knight Perkins Performing Arts Center.
Pauline graduated from Athens High School in 1944 and spent the summer as a model for Neiman Marcus. “My mother was a beauty at 5-8 and 115 pounds,” Nancy told The Monitor “She was stunningly beautiful.” After that she worked as a stenographer for the state and applied to work at the college, she added.
Pauline Perkins was the first secretary to college founder and President Orval Pirtle, and ultimately became the longest-living member of the original faculty. Pauline passed away May 22, 2016 at the age of 90.
Nancy will present a 1946-47 signed yearbook belonging to her mother to the TVCC Foundation as a token of the gift yet to come.
While at the college, Pauline studied to obtain her teaching degree and fulfilled a 27-year career in education. Her first position was as a sixth grade teacher for the Mabank school district, Nancy said, though most of her mother’s teaching was at the middle and high schools in Athens. She retired from teaching in 1989 but continued to live a life of service, assisting her daughter in her law practice.
“TVCC is where my mother began her professional career and where she was happiest,” Nancy told representatives of the college. “Her gift is her legacy, which we believe will help future generations and will forever commemorate her beauty and generosity.”
Nancy Perkins is a practicing attorney throughout the state of Texas and a Mabank High School 1973 Valedictorian. “It is because of her encouragement that I have what I have,” she told The Monitor.
“Nancy’s extraordinary generosity in leaving a legacy gift to TVCC in her will and estate plans is truly inspiring to everyone at TVCC. The kindness and humbleness demonstrated by Nancy will live on for generations to come,” said TVCC Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the TVCC Foundation Kristen Bennett. “This gift will make a monumental impact in the lives of students for decades. Because of Nancy and her mother — their indelible love of TVCC and concern for others — their gifts will remind us all that we, too, can make a difference in the lives that follow.”
“Trinity Valley has been blessed by the support and contributions of former students and community members. We want to express our deepest thanks to Nancy Perkins,” TVCC President Dr. Jerry King added. “The generosity of this gift in honor of her mother, Pauline Perkins, to Trinity Valley will provide a legacy that will positively impact the lives of our students and their families for generations.”
After high school, Nancy earned an Associate’s degree at Henderson County Junior College and a triple bachelor degree in history, political science and criminal justice at University of Texas-Austin on a four–year fellowship in 1976. From there she attended the University of Houston, where she became the youngest (22) to graduate with a doctorate of Jurisprudence. She passed the bar exam at Southern Methodist University and opened a law office in Athens in 1979.
The usual seven years or more most take to complete a law degree, she pared down to five short years. She said she was in a hurry to be useful, an attitude she gets from her mother.
Nancy described the years since her mother’s retirement in 1989. Her mother helped her in her law practice as a trial lawyer, handling both civil and criminal cases from east, north and central Texas. “We both worked and we both saved and along the way we accumulated a large estate,” Nancy said.
“My mother went with me into prisons and jails. She attended seminars with me and helped me with the paperwork and scheduling. Right up to the day of her death, she asked me if I had any new cases. I told her ‘yes, in Tyler and I want you to be with me.’ She never quit. She was truly the wind beneath my wings.”
She then went on to attend law school at the University of Houston, where she was the youngest person (22) to graduate with a doctorate of Jurisprudence degree. She took her bar exam at SMU and began her law career in Athens in 1979.

Sep

08

Posted by : admin | On : September 8, 2016

STANTON PEARCE

STANTON PEARCE

LAURIE PERRY

LAURIE PERRY

JAMES LITTLEJOHN

JAMES LITTLEJOHN


Special to The News
HENDERSON COUNTY– In his continuing attack on the drug trade, Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse led a team of deputies on a house raid over the Labor Day weekend and arrested three people.
“Even on the holidays, we are on guard,” Hillhouse said. “Henderson County Sheriff’s Office is working hard to get these folks off our streets, just as I promised the people.”
The night of Sept. 3into the early hours of the next morning, Hillhouse and seven of his deputies executed a narcotics search warrant at a Chandler home.
Laurie Perry, 56 of Chandler was arrested for manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, a first degree felony carrying a penalty of up to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.
Both Stanton Pearce, 54, of Tyler and James Littlejohn, 30, were arrested at a residence on Lovely Drive in the Forest Grove subdivision in Chandler.
Both Pearce and Littlejohn were charged with possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
Investigator Brad Beddingflield presented Judge Dan Moore of the 173rd District Court with information that led the search warrant for the arrests.
Hillhouse called upon a team of investigators Beddingfield, Josh Rickman, Ray Yockey, Cayce Hampton, Jeromey Rose, Patrol Sargent Daniel Wright and Deputy Linus Multon to conduct the raid.
“These are the men and women who put their lives on the line every day,” Hillhouse said. “It is too easy to forget that real people, real law enforcement officers, risk everything to keep our community safe and drug free.
“We never know what is behind that door when we approach a home on a raid,” he said. “That is why these deputies deserve our thanks.”

Sep

08

Posted by : admin | On : September 8, 2016

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–The visiting Fairfield Eagles came away with a 18-0 win over the Athens Hornets in the second week of high school football action Sept. 2 at Bruce Field.
The only score in the first half was a field goal kick by Fairfield’s Erik Rodriguez Reyes in the second quarter.
Both teams went into the locker room at half with Fairfield leading 3-0.
The third quarter remained scoreless for both teams.
Fairfield had success moving the ball in the fourth quarter and the Eagles’ quarterback Zach Barlow hit Erik Rodriguez Reyes with a pass for a touchdown. Although Fairfield thought about a extra point kick, they decided to go for a two-point conversion and had success with Reyes scoring the two points, bringing the score to 11-0 Fairfield.
The Eagles scored a rushing touchdown by Kameron Ransom to close out the game along with Reyes kicking the extra point, ending the game with Fairfield up 18-0.
This loss along with week one’s loss brings the Athens Hornets to 0-2 for the season. Athens hosts Red Oak Friday, Sept. 9 at home. Red Oak won Sept. 2 beating Arlington Heights of Fort Worth 17-14 Sept. 2 and they are 1-1 for the season.
Fairfield lost to La Vega in week one and are now 1-1 for the season. They travel to Palestine and play the Wildcats also Friday, Sept. 9, who beat Jacksonville 49-40 Sept. 2 and are 2-0 for the season.

Sep

08

Posted by : admin | On : September 8, 2016

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By Delanda S. Johnson
Special to the News
MALAKOFF–On Aug. 28, Johnson Chapel A. M. E. church celebrated its 119 years of existence.
Johnson Chapel A.M.E. Church was organized in 1897 in the Cedar Creek bottoms,under a brush arbor on Abe Johnson’s Farm.
Johnson Chapel has gone through many trials and tribulations, but with the courage and strength of its members, descendants of Bro. Abe Johnson, and the local community, Johnson Chapel A. M. E. church stands strong in the 21st century.
The program moved forward with Evangelist Alma Berry opening service along with Sis. Delanda S. Johnson interacting with the congregation with songs of praise and worship.
Bro. Gilbert Smith welcomed everyone to Johnson Chapel, “the friendly church where everybody is somebody and Christ is ALL.”
Rev. Rickey Barnes, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Malakoff and who is also a fourth generation descendant of Abe Johnson, spoke on behalf of the Johnson family. “We are honored to be here once again at this Annual Homecoming service to remember the past and to help keep the future of Johnson Chapel A. M. E. church alive and well.”
Rev. Linda Ross, Pastor of Johnson Chapel introduced the speaker; who was none other that the former Pastor of Johnson Chapel, Rev. I. B. Wells, Jr.
Rev. Wells is currently the Pastor of Stearne Chapel A. M. E. church in Bryan, Texas.
Rev. Wells graduated from Brownwood High School and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Tarleton State University. He is an educator certified to teach History and Physical Education. He has won Area, District and Regional championships and in 2014 he coached the Calvert Lady Trojans to play for the State title in basketball and became the State Championship runner-up. He was also selected as Brazos Valley Coach of the Year in 2013-2014.
Even though he loves coaching sports, he loves being a coach for God, winning souls on the battlefield of life. Spreading the gospel and leading people to Christ is what he is passionate about, praying for the sick, offering counseling to adults and students hoping to make a difference in the lives of God’s people.
Sis. Cydnei Wells performed a strong and spiritual praise dance before her father preached.
Rev. Wells acknowledged that he was happy to be back home (Johnson Chapel) and in the Malakoff community. “When I was Pastor here at Johnson Chapel, the Malakoff community supported me. Even when I was coaching at Calvert and we were playing for the State Championship, the Malakoff community supported me by watching the game on television. Also now that my Oakwood team comes to Trinidad and beats them, the Malakoff community supports me,” said Rev. Wells.
The service moved on with Rev. Wells giving his sermon, “Wake-up You Sleepy Head,” coming from Genesis 28:10-22.
Rev. Wells said that sometimes we feel that we are all alone, but as a child of God we must know that God is everywhere. He will never leave you nor forsake you; God will be with you know matter what.
“Ask yourself, how many times have you felt stressed out? How many times have you felt tired of running? How many times have you felt depressed? How many times have you just gone back and forth trying to find peace? You must know that God is there through all of your situations. He is the way out of no way. He is the Prince of Peace. All you need to do is turn everything over to the Lord,” said Rev. Wells.
Rev. Wells said that everything that God gives to you is holy and you must know that God will walk with you no matter what. “God will never turn His back on you. He shows grace and mercy on you each and everyday. So, “Wake-up You Sleepy Heads” and know that Jesus died to set us free from all sins. He is our salvation and He has all power in His hands,” said Rev. Wells.
After a soul stirring sermon, the Rev. G. B. Bailey, Sr. award was presented. This award was started by Rev. Bill Burton, former Pastor of Johnson Chapel in honor of the late Rev. G. B. Bailey, Sr., who was also a former Pastor of Johnson Chapel and Presiding Elder of the Northeast Texas Conference (known now as North Texas Conference).
This award represents the faithfulness and helpfulness that the person gives to the community and to Johnson Chapel.
This year’s winner was Bro. Clyde Bailey. He is a native of Malakoff and a graduate of Malakoff High School. He attended Henderson County Junior College (now known as Trinity Valley Community College).
Bro. Bailey works for Lumia Energy in Henderson and also does carpentry work, where he is a skilled brick layer and deals with concrete.
Bro. Bailey’s Christian walk started at Johnson Chapel A. M. E. Church. However he is now a member of Antioch Baptist Church where he serves as Chairman of the Trustee Board. Even though Bro. Bailey is no longer a member of Johnson Chapel, he gives his time and service whenever there is a need.
It is said that he is a man of the community, who gives a helping hand.

Sep

01

Posted by : admin | On : September 1, 2016

raheem Miller

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Raheem Mark Miller has been found guilty Tuesday of capital murder in the death of Cedric Alvin Collins, 23 of Malakoff on June 8, 2014. Jurors returned the guilty verdict after two hours of deliberations.
This conviction has a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
The State of Texas and the defense rested on Monday, Aug. 29 in a trial which began with jury selection only a week prior. The defense rested without calling any witnesses.
According to reports, Collins was found lying beside his vehicle in the 700 block of Robbins Road, near the intersection of Lantana and Robbins, with what appeared to be a gunshot wound. The victim was transported to East Texas Medical Center where he later died.
Witnesses had reported seeing two men fleeing the scene. Det. Adam Parkins was assigned the case and obtained information that pointed to Miller.
The jurors heard five days of testimony in which the Henderson County prosecutor tried to prove Miller had murdered Collins after robbing him, making this a capital murder offense. Evidence included videotaped interviews with the defendant.
The third videotape contained an interview conducted by Bobby Rachel, a reserve deputy from Navarro County who had been asked to interview Miller at the request of Texas Ranger Michael Adcock. During the interview, which jurors watched, Miller said he and another man made a plan to rob Collins after arranging a drug deal selling fake drugs.
Miller told Rachel he didn’t plan on using a gun. Miller said that Collins was killed after the other person pulled a gun on Collins and they fought over it. Investigators cleared the other person mentioned in Miller’s testimony of any wrongdoing in the murder case.
Miller had denied having a gun but eventually admitted to Rachel that he did have one. When Rachel asked if he shot Collins, Miller denied ever pulling the trigger. Miller has denied being the one who pulled the trigger since his arrest.
Miller had been held on a $2,000,000 bond in the Henderson County Justice Center since the 2014 murder. Defense attorneys John Youngblood and James Mills represented Miller. Assistant District Attorney Danny Cox assisted District Attorney Scott McKee with the prosecution.
In closing arguments, District Attorney Scott McKee reviewed the evidence as presented by the state. McKee stated that Miller killed Collins while committing the felony crime of robbery, making this a capital murder.
Judge Carter Tarrance had informed the jury they could find Miller guilty of captial murder, felony murder, aggravated robbery or robbery.
While the defendent showed little emotion when the verdict was read, the families of the victim and defendant were emotional.