Oct

05

Posted by : admin | On : October 5, 2017

Randall Wayne Mays-death row
Special to The News
ATHENS–On May 17, 2007, Randall Wayne Mays took the life Henderson County Sheriff’s deputy Tony Ogburn and Investigator Paul Habelt, and seriously injured another, Deputy Kevin Harris.
The following year, Mays was convicted of Capital Murder and sentenced to die by lethal injection. In addition to his direct appeal, he filed writs and petitions which were heard in both state and federal courts, including the U. S. Supreme Court, seeking to overturn his conviction. Those attempts were unsuccessful at every stage, and his execution was scheduled for March 18, 2015.
The month before he was to be executed, lawyers from the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs based in Austin, (a state funded, Public Defender agency that represents death penalty defendants in post-conviction litigation), filed a “Motion Re Competency to be Executed,” claiming that Mays was currently (mentally) incompetent to be executed.
The Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the execution and remanded the case back to the trial court for the appointment of experts to evaluate Mays pursuant to the standards for competency to be executed in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 46.05. Those standards require that a person condemned to death understand that he or she is to be executed and that the execution is imminent. Additionally, the person must also have a rational understanding as to the reason that they will be executed.
Judge Carter Tarrance, 392nd District Judge at the time, appointed three experts to evaluate Mays for competency. Dr. George Woods, Jr., Berkeley, Calif., Dr. Bhushan Agharkar, Atlanta, Ga., and Dr. Randall Price, Dallas, all evaluated Mays and prepared reports for the Court, the last of which was received in May of this year.
Both Dr. Woods and Agharkar believed that Mays was incompetent to be executed while Dr. Price determined that he was competent under the applicable standards.
A three and a half day hearing was held before visiting Judge Joe D. Clayton of Tyler from August 9-12 where he heard testimony from all three experts in addition to five other witnesses. He also reviewed a voluminous amount of records and transcripts from the original trial, mental health records and records from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division that documented Mays’s history while incarcerated including correspondence from Mays to family and friends, and communications between Mays and prison officials.
Woods and Agharkar testified that while Mays understood he was to be executed, he did not have a rational understanding as to why, believing that he was suffering from pervasive delusions centered around his “green energy” designs for wind and solar powered equipment. They reported to the Court that Mays believed he was going to be executed because his design would cost the state and the oil industry billions of dollars, and since this was not a “rational” belief, he was incompetent to be executed. Mays never mentioned this to Dr. Price during his evaluation, but did indicate that he knew he had been convicted of Capital Murder involving three officers, and felt that his conviction and punishment were unfair because the deputies came onto his property
Likewise, Mays never mentioned in his correspondence or numerous grievances while in prison that his energy ideas had anything to do with his pending execution, a fact noted by Judge Clayton in his signed order finding Mays competent to be executed, which was filed on Monday, Oct. 2.
District Attorney Mark Hall, who was joined by First Assistant Nancy Rumar in arguing the competency case in August, said that he believes the Judge made the correct call. “Judge Clayton listened intently to hour upon hour of expert testimony over the course of the hearing; and while giving due consideration to the oftentimes complicated, and in my view, occasionally convoluted mental health findings, he was able to cut through the jargon and apply a strong dose of common sense to the issue.”
“I don’t think there is any question that Randall Mays understands exactly what he did, and what a jury found him guilty of, or the reason for which he received the sentence of death. He has been given every opportunity to contest his conviction and sentence, which I think was appropriate under the circumstances,” said Hall.
The District Attorney intends to file a motion for the Court to set an execution date, but anticipates that before it is carried out, Mays will make a motion that the Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) review Judge Clayton’s order and enter a judgment of whether to adopt the order, findings and recommendations.
At that point, the CCA would determine whether any existing execution date should be withdrawn and a stay of execution issued while that court is conducting its review. Otherwise, the execution will be carried out as ordered.
“This has been a long, and sometimes frustrating road for the family and friends of these slain and injured officers, with each stage of the process renewing and reopening the feelings of sadness, anger and loss. But I have confidence in our criminal justice system, and that Randall Mays will soon face the sentence he received and deserved,” said Hall.

Sep

07

Posted by : admin | On : September 7, 2017

Anglea Davis

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS – A Larue woman was arrested late Aug. 31 for possession with intent to deliver a substantial amount of methamphetamine. Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said her original charge was compounded when more drugs were discovered when she was being processed into the jail.
Angela Davis, 42, was arrested around 9 p.m. in a parking lot of a business on State Highway 155 in Berryville.
Narcotic Investigator Josh Rickman noticed Davis with a small, clear, plastic bag containing a crystal substance suspected to be methamphetamine. She was on foot, approaching a parked vehicle.
For having more than four grams of the methamphetamine, she was charged with manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, a first-degree felony.
When she was booked into the Henderson County Jail, more methamphetamine was discovered on her person, and a second possession charge was added for having a prohibited substance in a correctional facility. She was released on bonds totaling $13,000 the following day.
“Our team is alert around the clock,” Hillhouse said. “That includes on the streets, at night and in the jail.”

Aug

10

Posted by : admin | On : August 10, 2017

The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–This weekend’s tax-free back-to-school shopping frenzy focuses parents’ minds on the beginning of a brand-new school year. The first day of school comes earlier for some than others.
Athens High School (AHS) seniors will begin school Monday, Aug. 14 and will be the only students in attendance until the other classes arrive Aug. 16. Buses will run their normal routes beginning Aug. 14 and dress code applies.
AHS Fish Camp will be held from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11 at the high school.
Students will begin in the gym and attend sessions to learn all about AHS. Parents are welcome but not required and schedules will be given at the end of the camp. Online registration is required.
Athens Elementary schools will hold Meet the Teacher night Aug. 14 for all three campuses, South Athens Elementary, Central Athens Elementary and Bel Air Elementary. A come-and-go event from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. will allow flexibility for parents and students to meet teachers and visit the campus.
Athens Middle School students will have online access to their schedules on Aug. 12.
Malakoff ISD begins classes Aug. 28. Malakoff High School will hold Fish Camp from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24 for incoming freshmen who will receive their schedules at the end of the camp.
Malakoff High School seniors may pick up their schedule from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 21, juniors from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22 and sophomores from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug 23. Parents are requested to accompany their students when picking up schedules.
Meet the Teacher for Malakoff Elementary School is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24. Students may bring their school supplies. Tool Elementary School sets Meet the Teacher for Thursday, Aug. 24, at 5:30 p.m.
Other local school beginnings and important dates follow
Trinidad ISD
Meet the Teacher is set for Thursday, Aug. 17 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Students pre-k through fifth grade may bring their school supplies with them.
Grades sixth-12th may pick up their class schedules and complete enrollment forms. High school students who plan to drive to and from school should bring proof of insurance and copy of their driver’s license with them.
Athens Christian Preparatory Academy
Classes begin Aug 16. Junior High orientation scheduled for Aug. 15 at 5:30 p.m. Orientation for freshmen and sophomores is scheduled for Aug. 17 at 5:30 p.m., for Juniors Aug. 21 at 5:30 p.m. and for seniors Aug. 22 at 5:30 p.m.
Cross Roads ISD
Classes begin Aug. 24 with Meet the Teacher scheduled for Aug. 22 at 5:30 p.m. for Elementary and Junior High students.

Jul

20

Posted by : admin | On : July 20, 2017

Trevor Morris Obitpilot

The News Staff Reports
BROWNSBORO–Residents in the City of Brownsboro have been gathering around elementary music teacher Diana Morris and her husband, Calvin, over the sudden death of their son, Trevor Morris.
Union Hill Baptist Pastor Trevor Morris, also a Burton Oil Services Operations executive died in a plane crash July 13. He was 39 years old. He leaves a wife, Nafisa and their five children.
The Piper Cheyenne PA-31T went down at Pounds Field in Tyler soon after takeoff at 8 a.m. Morris was the vice president of Burton Oil Service Operations and traveled to Midland frequently for his job. It was where he was headed when the plane went down, said Aaron Greenwood, worship pastor for the church.
The pilot was also killed when the plane crashed in a pasture near Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. He was 62-year-old William Walls III of Huntsville and was a retired pilot from Southwest Airlines.
The wreckage was located one mile south of Pleasant Retreat Road by officers searching the area after reports of it going down.
According to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board the plane went down at 8:10 a.m. “The on-site examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane impacted an open field surrounded by trees,” the preliminary report reads. “The wreckage was located on the edge of a small pond about one-half mile from the end of runway 17. There was not a post-crash fire; however, fuel was found at the site.”
The report indicates the airplane was removed from the site and taken to a secure location for further examination.
Morris was lead pastor at Union Hill Baptist Church and worked for the oil services company owned by his best friend Preston Burton. Besides business, the two friends taught the men’s Sunday school class at Union Hill and reared their families together.
“Trevor was a man with great passion to love and serve the Lord first and foremost. If there was one message he wanted to get out, it was that this life was about God and not us,” Burton told the Tyler Telegraph. “His passion was to get the message to men, to disciple their families, to teach them so that the gospel of Jesus Christ would be shared for generations to come.”
His mother posted on Facebook that Trevor loved missions and in lieu of flowers, requests donations be made to the Baptist Missionary Association’s Missions Department, PO. Box 878 Conway AR 72033 or at BMAmissions.org. Trevor served as a missionary to Ecuador where he started a church before he was elected twice as pastor of Union Hill Baptist Church.
A memorial service was held July 18 under the direction of Autry’s Carroll-Lehr Funeral Home in Athens. A prayer vigil set for July 14 drew 300 participants, including pastors from churches in Chandler and Brownsboro taking turns praying during the event.

Jul

06

Posted by : admin | On : July 6, 2017

Sentator Nichols with Superintendents
Special to The News
AUSTIN–Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) met with school superintendents from around Senate District 3, June 28 to discuss items which will be addressed during the Special Legislative Session, beginning on July 18, 2017. In addition, they also discussed what occurred during the 85th Regular Legislative Session.
“As we head into the upcoming special session, many of the items which will be addressed are education related. I wanted to make sure I took the opportunity to discuss these important issues with the Superintendents from our local school districts,” said Senator Nichols.
Some of the items discussed included administrative flexibility, teacher pay increases, property tax reform, school vouchers and school finance reform.
“I do not believe the Legislature can successfully make good decisions, unless we are listening closely to those we represent,” said Nichols. “Education is and always will be one of the most important issues we face as a state.”
Senate District 3 represents 101 school districts throughout 19 counties including Henderson County.

Jul

06

Posted by : admin | On : July 6, 2017

murder CMYK

The News Staff Reports
EAST TEXAS–A Henderson County man who was serving time for the fatal shooting of a Trinidad resident in 2009, was killed in a prison unit in Bowie County last week.
According to news reports, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is investigating the death of 29-year-old Pete Armando Ayala, of Trinidad, who was serving a 40-year sentence for murder with a deadly weapon for the death of 21-year-old Johnny Lee Brown, also of Trinidad.
TDCJ Public Information Officer Robert Hurst said in a statement to the Bowie County Citizens Tribune, prison officials discovered Ayala unresponsive in his cell on Sunday. They restrained Ayala’s cellmate, Justin Williams, 22, and removed him from the cell. Ayala was transported to a Texarkana hospital, where he was pronounced dead on Wednesday.
The TDCJ is investigating the case as a homicide.
Ayala had been in the Telford Unit since December of 2009, and was not eligible for parole until 2029. His sentence was to run until 2049.
Henderson County Sheriff’s Department reports said dispatch received a 9-1-1 call on Feb. 18, 2009, telling of a gunshot victim at a residence on Leagueline Road. HCSO investigators responded to the scene to assist the Trinidad Police Department with the case. Brown’s body was found in the master bedroom of the residence.
The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department obtained an arrest warrant in connection with the fatal shooting. Ayala was arrested in Garland after he was seen at a McDonald’s restaurant.
Williams joined the unit in November, 2016 to serve a 50-year sentence for murder with a deadly weapon.

Jun

22

Posted by : admin | On : June 22, 2017

Andrew Page

Special to The News
ATHENS–A 36-year-old suspected drug dealer riding his bicycle on the wrong side of the road was arrested this weekend in a subdivision just south of Chandler.
Andrew Allen Page was stopped by Deputy Jacob Sumrall Saturday for traveling southbound on Sunrise Dive in the Sunrise Shores subdivision. He was found to be in possession of a substantial amount of suspected methamphetamine and several clear plastic bags commonly used is the distribution of the illegal drug.
“Our deputies are constantly on the look out for anything out of the ordinary,” Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said. “This suspect was going the wrong way, acting nervous and had trouble communicating with the deputy.”
Page was carrying more than 5 grams of the contraband.
“This is part of our concerted campaign against drugs in Henderson County,” Hillhouse said. “Hopefully, this arrest takes us to an even bigger supplier in the criminal drug chain that we are systematically breaking here.”
Page was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. He is currently being held on a $30,000 bail.

Jun

15

Posted by : admin | On : June 15, 2017

Caption for photo: Blas Caroprese, physicist; Davana Eaton, clinic manager; Dr. Bruce Ellerin, radiation oncologist; Brandi Jones, RN; Irene Sanchez, radiation therapist and Pushkar Desai, physicist, are ready to start treating patients with the new linear accelerator unveiled this week at the ETMC Cancer Institute in Athens.

Caption for photo:
Blas Caroprese, physicist; Davana Eaton, clinic manager; Dr. Bruce Ellerin, radiation oncologist; Brandi Jones, RN; Irene Sanchez, radiation therapist and Pushkar Desai, physicist, are ready to start treating patients with the new linear accelerator unveiled this week at the ETMC Cancer Institute in Athens.


Special to The News
ATHENS–The East Texas Medical Center (ETMC) Cancer Institute in Athens unveiled new state-of-the-art radiation technology, the Elekta Infinity linear accelerator, to treat cancer patients.
“One benefit of this new accelerator is shorter treatment times,” said Board-certified Radiation Oncologist Dr. Bruce Ellerin. “Shorter treatment times improve patient comfort, but also reduce inaccuracies resulting from patient movement during treatment delivery. A conventional intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) takes around 19 minutes, but with the Elekta treatment time ranges from two to five minutes.”
The Elekta Infinity also delivers precision dose conformance with ultra-low doses of radiation making it safer for the patient. In addition, the Elekta gives more flexibility to control the treatment parameters, while the beam is on and rotating, to optimize the dose around a tumor and better spare healthy issue.
“The new accelerator is better for patient positioning, which is important where high precision is necessary for certain procedures,” said Ellerin. “The machine is capable of producing three different high energy X-ray beams. This helps with planning and calculation for each patient’s procedure to correctly deliver the right amount of treatment.”
The Elekta Infinity accelerator is capable of advanced treatment, such as rotational IMRT and some stereotactic body radiation therapy, which previously were not available in Athens.
ETMC began offering cancer services in Tyler in 1982, and acquired what became the ETMC Cancer Institute in Athens in 2009. The 9,600-square-foot facility employs a full clinical staff.
Radiation therapy provides techniques for destroying abnormal cells. In many instances, radiation therapy is the single best method for the treatment and cure of cancer. Radiation therapy may also be combined with surgery and/or chemotherapy to cure or control the disease. In other cases, radiation therapy can be used as a supportive measure to reduce discomfort, bleeding or pain.
More than 21,000 cancer patients have been treated at the ETMC Cancer Institute by an expert team of health specialists, including physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists, nurses and other support personnel. The team is led by the radiation oncologist, a physician who specializes in the treatment of cancer with radiation. This specialist decides what type of radiation therapy is best, plans the treatments and carefully monitors each patient.

Jun

15

Posted by : admin | On : June 15, 2017

worked up photos mugshots Clifford Miller

worked up photos
mugshots
Clifford Miller


The News Staff Reports
ATHENS—Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse reports five men arrested for meth possession last week. Although unrelated, Hillhouse says the ambitious attack on the illegal drug trade is producing results.
“We are breaking the links of the drug chain here,” he said. “Often, we get the drug users, which leads us to the dealers and to the suppliers.”
Clifford Keith Miller, 55, was arrested at a residence outside Athens on U.S. 175 West with a substantial amount of meth, along with drug paraphernalia and marijuana.
His case began with the execution of a search warrant early June 7 that turned up the contraband at the scene during an unrelated investigation. Narcotics investigators were called in to assist. Miller faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
During that Wednesday, two men were taken in from a traffic stop at the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 1615 and County Road 4511. A search of the vehicle found that both men were in possession of suspected methamphetamines. The driver, Russell Allen Stogner, 27, was also without a valid driver’s license, and received an additional charge. His passenger was Lonnie Lee Fender, 32. The drug possession charge for both men carries a penalty of up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
A fugitive was located at a storage complex in Malakoff that same day. Phillip Maddox was wanted on an outstanding felony theft warrant and felony firearm possession charge. Deric Young was with Maddox at the time and he was found to have a small amount of a controlled substance and marijuana, along with outstanding arrest warrants out of Seven Points.
Early Thursday, June 8, a traffic stop on CR 4528 found Jeffrey Ryan Anding, 29, with suspected meth. He could be convicted of a state jail felony as well.
“A year ago when I took office, I made it clear we would not tolerate drugs in any amount by anyone in this county,” Hillhouse said. ‘From the commanders to the investigators to the deputies on patrol day and night, we are cracking down on both dealers and users of this poison,” he said. “Henderson County is becoming known as the place where drugs are very unwelcome.”

Jun

08

Posted by : admin | On : June 8, 2017

The News Staff Reports
MABANK–It’s time to polish your boots and dust off your chaps. Western Week in Mabank is coming!
The rodeo begins on Friday night at 8 p.m. at the Alene and Andrew Gibbs Memorial Arena on Business 175 in Mabank. Each event is sponsored by the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department.
Rodeo events include calf roping, breakaway roping, saddle bronc, ranch bronc, steer wrestling, team roping, ladies’ open barrels, bull riding, bareback and calf scrambles.
The festivities this year begin on Saturday, June 17 with the Third Annual CASI Chili Cook-Off at the Mabank Pavilion. Registration time begins at 9 a.m., with bean turn-in time at noon and chili turn-in time at 1 p.m.
The Rodeo Queen Rehearsal will be held at the arena Monday, June 19 at 7 p.m. Rodeo queen nominees have already started pouring in, so the competition is bound to be tough this year.
Tuesday, June 20 is game day. The games begin at 6:30 p.m. with the ever-popular bed races set for 7:30 p.m.. Join the fun at the Mabank Pavilion. This is always a don’t-miss event.
Wednesday at 7 p.m. is the Queen’s Dinner at B-n-R Country.
Saturday is a jam-packed day with the Rodeo and Western Week Parade kicking off the events at 4 p.m. starting at the arena. Line-up begins at 3 p.m. .
The rodeo start time is 8 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, with a street dance after the rodeo Saturday evening at the pavilion.
Come celebrate the rich heritage of Mabank at the Rodeo and Western Week.