The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 24 and runs through Friday, Nov. 4. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.
The Presidential election is of course, top of mind for most. Running on the Republican ticket is Donald J. Trump/Mike Pence and the Democratic ticket is Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine. Also running are Libertarians Gary Johnson/William Weld and Green Party candidates Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka.
United States Representative, Dist. 5 comes down to Republican Jeb Hensarling and Libertarian Ken Ashby.
Railroad Commissioner candidates are Republican Wayne Christian, Democrat Grady Yarbrough, Libertarian Mark Miller and Green Party candidate Martina Salinas.
There are several Justices of the Supreme Court elections. In the running for Place 3, is Republican Debra Lehrmann, Democrat Mike Westergren, Libertarian Kathie Glass, and Green Party candidate Rodolfo Rivera Munoz. Place 5 candidates are Republican Paul Green, Democrat Dori Contreras Garza, Libertarian Tom Oxford and Green Party candidate Charles Waterbury. For Place 9, the candidates are Republican Eva Guzman, Democrat Savannah Robinson, Libertarian Don Fulton and Green Party candidate Jim Chisholm.
Court of Criminal Appeals Judge, Place 2 candidates are Republican Mary Lou Keel, Democrat Lawrence “Larry” Meyers, Libertarian Mark Ash and Green Party candidate Adam King Blackwell Reposa. Place 5 candidates are Republican Scott Walker, Democrat Betsy Johnson, Libertarian William Bryan Strange III and Green Party candidate Judith Sanders-Castro. Place 6 candidates are Republican Michael E. Keasler, Democrat Robert Burns and Libertarian Mark W. Bennett.
State Board of Education, District 9 candidates are Republican Keven M. Ellis, Democrat Amanda M. Rudolph and Libertarian Anastasia Wilford.
Malakoff ISD Board of Trustees candidates are Peggy Dewberry, Stephen Burkhalter, Duana Busch, Michael Kent Monroe and Jerry Spiva. Voters may choose up to three of the candidates.
Crossroads ISD Board of Trustee candidates are Shelly Robertson, Darren Himes, William “Russell” Giles, Jr., Dustin Cook, Kevin Hazelip and Shane Stanfield. Voters may choose three candidates
The City of Caney City has a bond election for $191,000 tax bonds for structing and equipping a fire station.
Also on the ballot for some voters in Precincts 1 and 4 is The Henderson County Emergency Services District 11 special election proposition to confirm the creation of the Henderson County Emergency Services District 11 and the levy by the District of a tax not to exceed the rate allowed by the Section 48-e of the Texas Constitution.
See page 3A for polling locations.
Posted by : October 20, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
Posted by : October 20, 2016| On :
Special to The News
ATHENS – With more than 700 arrests made in his first four months in office, Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse continues his campaign against illegal drugs with the arrest of two men Monday, one a felon with methamphetamines and a firearm.
“Lead Narcotics Investigator Kay Langford, and investigators Brad Beddingfield and Josh Rickman are leading the charge in this war on illegal drugs,” Hillhouse said. “With the rest of my fine team, hundreds of drug dealers and users have been pulled off the street, put in jail and are facing serious time for their crimes.”
James Bedard, 42, has been charged with manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance believed to be methamphetamines between 4 and 200 grams, a first degree felony.
He was also charged for the unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, a third degree felony.
Bedard faces up to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted of the first degree felony charge if convicted. He is being held on bonds totaling $14,000
Jerry Thomas Jr., 52, was arrested at an address on FM 2494 in Athens for possession of marijuana.
“It was during that initial arrest of Jerry Thomas for an outstanding warrant that the investigators saw the suspected methamphetamines,” Hillhouse said. “We obtained a search warrant from Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Milton Adams, and arrested Bedard.”
Thomas was released the following day with a $1,500 bond.
Hillhouse took office June 1, promising to lead a campaign against illegal drugs in Henderson County. His efforts have won the praise of civic and community groups.
“The people told me their biggest concern was illegal drugs – especially the devastating impact of methamphetamines on the community,” Hillhouse said. “So, I made it this Office’s mission to spend every hour fighting drugs on the streets, and in homes, hotels, motels and trailer parks.
“To the dealers and users who don’t believe me, rest assured I have plenty of beds in the jail and if you bring your poison to my county, I’ll find you,” Hillhouse said.
Posted by : October 13, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–A dangerous felon was arrested after a late-night shooting; and two other men were charged with unrelated possession of illegal drug Oct. 6, Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse reported.
Michael McFarlin (aka Little Mike) 29, was arrested in Tyler last Thursday following a shooting incident south of Chandler.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to a disturbance call and found two victims, a man and a woman, who had been beaten with a baseball bat. Emergency Medical Service was called and took the male victim to Tyler for treatment.
Deputies also found bullet holes in both the home and vehicles at the residence.
After a day-long investigation, Hillhouse’s team – Chief Kevin Halbert, Captain David Jones, investigators Ray Yockey, Wick Gabbard, Deputies Kyle Pochobradsky, Gabriel Shue, and Jacob Sumrall – arrested McFarlin at a medical clinic in Tyler.
Additional charges are likely, and McFarlin remains in the Henderson County Jail. He is charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a weapon, deadly conduct discharge of a firearm. His bonds total $75,000 and he is being held without bond on a parole violation.
Prior to going to prison in 2007 for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and robbery, he was involved in the manufacture and delivery of controlled substances. Soon after his release from prison, in 2011 he was arrested again for assault, causing bodily injury. He was on his way back to prison when he racked up more charges for family violence, drug trafficking and possession of a firearm by a felon. Upon release from prison a second time a bench warrant was issued for another assault causing bodily injury charge in 2012 and he was returned to prison to serve more time.
“This is one we worked overtime to get off the streets,” Hillhouse said. “He is a danger to this community, and I am proud of my team of deputies for working through the night to get him,” he said.
Meanwhile, lead narcotic investigator Kay Langford and investigators Josh Rickman and Brad Beddingfield arrested Allen Ray Key, 60, at his home of FM 1615 in Athens.
County Court at Law Judge Nancy Perryman granted a search warrant after the Investigators gathered probable cause evidence and information.
Key was found to be in possession of suspected methamphetamine and charged with manufacturing or delivering of a controlled substance up to 200 grams. He was released on a $15,000 bond.
Also Thursday, Sheriff Deputy Sgt. Thomas Goodell arrested James Paul Wilson, 33, of Gun Barrel and charged him with felony possession of suspected methamphetamine.
The Deputy also confiscated $1,002.59 found with the suspected methamphetamine. Wilson and a woman had stopped their vehicle in the median on U.S. Highway 175 between Athens and Eustace and were arguing, which prompted the investigation.
He is being held on a $8,500 bond for possession of a controlled substance less than a gram.
Posted by : October 6, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS—The Henderson County Commissioners issued two proclamations when it met for its first meeting in October, the start of its new fiscal year.
This week marks the National 4-H week, Oct. 2-8, and nine young people accompanied by their AgriLife adult director each took a brief time at the microphone to introduce themselves and tell a little about 4-H and what they liked best about it. They ranged in ages from 8 to 19. While some spoke of their passion for the traditional 4-H areas such as horticulture and animal husbandry, several also showed excitement for the organization’s newest area: robotics.
Justin Jones, the club treasurer, said this is the second year for the robotics program and he has used his experience there to apply for a scholarship to NASA. Presiding officer Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney after hearing from two of the boys on robotics admitted that 4-H has changed a lot since he was young.
“I’m impressed by all of you,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Scotty Thomas said. “We’re all very proud of your accomplishments in the 4-H program.”
McKinney noted in the proclamation that 4-H has been active in Texas for 108 years and that 602,000 young people are participating over a diverse swath of the population.
A second proclamation was issued naming October 2016 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month for the county. Representatives from the East Texas Crisis Center were on hand to be recognized for their faithful service to the victims of this oft overlooked “silent” crime that devastates children and families in the county.
To top off a month of awareness activities, the Center is hosting its Hope Awards to recognize community members, especially in law enforcement and the court system for their help to stop domestic violence and offer hope to those trapped by it. This year’s nominees will be recognized at the annual Wine and Cheese fundraiser set for Oct. 28 in Murchison at the Overton Ranch. Tickets are available by calling the ETCC at (903) 675- 2137.
In other business, commissioners
• Agreed to operate election for Coffee City Nov. 8 for its General Election
• Approved a slate of fees updated for the 2017 year for the Sheriff’s Office and Constable precincts.
• Reset a speed limit on 5.4 miles of CR 4400, located in Precinct 4 south of Larue and Poynor to 35 mph.
Paid the bills totaling $150,420.41 and for the purchase of a steel wheel roller for Pct. 4, $17,500.
Posted by : September 29, 2016| On :
By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
ATHENS–Athens Rotary members heard details about the move by the Henderson County HELP Center and Maggie’s House/Edith Books Child Advocacy Center to North Highway 19, during the club’s weekly luncheon Sept. 22.
The Henderson County HELP Center and Maggie’s House/Edith Books Child Advocacy Center support children who have suffered abuse and neglect with a family advocate to assist them through the court process, and provide counseling for the child victim and non-offending caregivers. Also offered are programs dealing with mental health and pregnancy in schools as well as the United Way Help Line, which can be reached by dialing 211 on telephones.
The child advocacy organizations have roots in that United Way Help Line established at the Henderson County Courthouse in 1987. The organization announced earlier this summer that it was moving from its current location at 309 Royall, just east of the courthouse square, which they has occupied for about a quarter-century. The new property purchased by the center consists of three buildings for a total of 10,000 square feet. The Athens Housing Authority will continue to occupy one of the buildings.
Leslie Saunders, executive director of the HELP Center, said the property would include a serenity garden, nestled between the two buildings being prepared for use, as a private place for those dealing with the complex issues addressed by the organization. Saunders said child abuse cases reviewed by her office have increased 82 percent since Sept. 2015.
The soon-to-be home for the HELP/Child Advocacy Center was financed from an anonymous real estate gift, which was then sold, the proceeds from which were used to buy the State Highway 19 property. The new complex address is 807 N. Palestine, and includes frontage on North Prairieville, which runs parallel to Highway 19.
The News Photo/Russell Slaton
Kathy Benton (left) of Athens Rotary Club is congratulated Sept. 22 for receiving Paul Harris Fellow Plus 1 status by Athens Rotary president Mike Matchael (right), a recognition based on contributions toward the international organization’s humanitarian efforts.
Posted by : September 29, 2016| On :
Special to The News
HENDERSON COUNTY–On Sept. 23, Jamie Lawrence Meador, 31, of Brownsboro, was sentenced to 75 years in prison for a March 2015 shootout with Henderson County Deputies at a residence on CR 4305 near Coffee City. Meador was seriously injured in the shootout. Neither of the deputies was wounded.
Meador was sentenced to the 75 years for Aggravated Assault of a Peace Officer, and also sentenced to four other 20 year sentences for three counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and one count of evading arrest with a motor vehicle.
Meador pled guilty to the charges earlier this year and elected to allow Judge Dan Moore of the 173rd Judicial District Court to set sentencing after a hearing. Meador was facing a punishment range of 15-99 years or life for the Aggravated Assault and up to twenty years each for the unlawful possession cases and evading arrest case.
The case was personally handled by Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee. According to McKee, the case was extremely important to him and the law enforcement community.
According to testimony and District Attorney McKee’s opening statement, the events leading up to the shootout began in December of 2014 when Henderson County Sheriff’s Deputy Keon Mack saw Meador on the side of the road in a broken down pickup with its hazard lights flashing. Although Meador had been to prison before, Mack testified that he did not know who Meador was when he stopped to assist him on FM 315 near Chandler.
Before offering to assist Meador, Deputy Mack asked him for his driver’s license. According to Deputy Mack, he wasn’t looking to arrest or detain Meador at the time. Mack testified that due to safety reasons, it’s important to know who you are dealing with on the side of the road in the middle of the night.
While Meador was looking for identification, Mack observed a shiny box shaped case in Meador’s front pants pocket. Upon questioning, Meador told Mack that it contained his marijuana. During a subsequent search of the case the deputy also found methamphetamine in the box.
A pat-down search of Meador yielded two additional ounces of suspected methamphetamine and over $2,000 in cash.
After the pat-down search, Meador was placed in hand restraints and a search of the truck was conducted. During the search, Deputies discovered over five pounds of crystal meth inside a stove in the back of the pickup. According to Henderson County Sheriff’s Investigator Kay Langford, the street value of the meth in 2014 was around $250,000.
Meador was arrested for the meth and was able to make bail just a few days later. According to McKee’s opening statement, he believed the bail was set “recklessly low”.
After bailing himself out of jail on the drug charges, Meador was stopped again by Deputy Mack on March 29 for a faulty license plate light. During the traffic stop, Meador admitted to smoking marijuana in the car just before the stop. As Mack tried to detain him, Meador broke free of the deputy and made it back to his vehicle and drove off at a high rate of speed while the deputy was still hanging on to him. Deputies were unable to locate him that evening and procured a warrant for his arrest the next day.
Two days later, on March 31, 2015, Henderson County Deputies Brad Beddingfield and Kyle Pochobradsky along with Sheriff Investigators Kay Langford and Wick Gabbard acting on information about the whereabouts of Meador, arrived at a home on County Road 4305.
Deputy Beddingfield, who was the first to arrive at the residence, immediately spotted Meador sitting on a 4-wheeler as soon as he drove up. As Beddingfield exited his patrol vehicle, he ordered Meador off the 4-wheeler. Rather than comply, Meador reached into a rifle case that was strapped to the front of the 4-wheeler and retrieved an AR 15 assault rifle. Meador then immediately raised the rifle and fired a shot at Beddingfield at a distance of less than 30 feet.
The shot missed Beddingfield and he immediately began returning fire. As this engagement was beginning between Meador and Beddingfield, Deputy Kyle Pochobradsky, the second officer to arrive at the residence, had already exited his vehicle and could hear Beddingfield giving Meador commands.
During questioning by District Attorney McKee, Pochobradsky told the judge that although he could not see the defendant as he was exiting his vehicle, he could tell something was wrong in Beddingfield’ s voice. Pochobradsky and Beddingfield began their careers at about the same time, first in the Henderson County Jail and through the years working together in various positions within the department. “I knew something wasn’t right by the sound of his voice.” Said Pochobradsky,
Pochobradsky testified that after hearing Beddingfield, he rushed to the back of the house where Beddingfield and Meador were located. As he was rushing to the location, he could see and hear the gunfire. Pochobradsky was able to draw his weapon and engage Meador.
The entire event lasted only a few seconds and was captured by Beddingfield’ s in-car video.
Meador, testifying against his attorney James Mills’ advice, said he never intended to kill the officers and that he was trying to commit suicide by cop.
During his testimony, Meador told the court that his life got out of control when he started using methamphetamine.
Meador also testified about the wounds he received in the shootout and his medical conditions. Since the shootout, Meador told the court that he doesn’t have full use of his legs or his bowels.
During cross-examination, McKee pressed Meador to tell him where he got the over five pounds of meth as well as what he planned to do with it. Meador testified that he was transporting it for drug dealers when he ran out of gas.
Meador apologized to the officers for what could have happened.
“I apologize for putting ya’ll in that position. I was only thinking about me,” he said. “I know you’ll do a good job.”
Meador has been arrested several times in Henderson County. Among the charges are felony drug and illegal possession of a firearm by a felon. He was released from prison in 2012.
Meador’s drug charges are still pending in the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Posted by : September 22, 2016| On :
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.”
Posted by : September 15, 2016| On :
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.
Posted by : September 8, 2016| On :
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.”
Posted by : September 1, 2016| On :
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.