The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–Henderson County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested four people July 28 for various crimes, including illegal drug possession, outstanding warrants and evading arrest.
According to Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse, investigators arrested a 26-year-old Malakoff man at his home on Royall Blvd., where he was allegedly growing marijuana. “I’m proud of my team,” Hillhouse said. “A citizen complained about possible drug activity at a residence. Investigators Brad Beddingfield, Kay Langford and Josh Rickman followed up on that complaint and found Joe Eldon St. Clair to be in possession of marijuana.”
In a separate case, investigators Beddingfield, Langford and Rickman attempted to stop a vehicle in the Cherokee Shores subdivision. After a pursuit, they arrested two suspects. Bailey Marie Hefley, 26, of Gun Barrel City was arrested for evading arrest with a vehicle. Mabank resident James Noel Nelson, Jr., 30, was arrested for outstanding warrants for assault causing bodily injury.
After a traffic stop on Henderson County Road 2514, Patrol Sergeant Daniel Wright arrested Jefferson Daugherty for outstanding warrants for possession of a controlled substance, parole violation, bail jumping and misdemeanor theft.
“We search homes, stop vehicles, follow up on tips and confront suspects about illegal drugs every day and will continue to do so,” Sheriff Hillhouse said.
Posted by : August 4, 2016| On :
Posted by : July 28, 2016| On :
Special to The News
HENDERSON COUNTY–On Saturday, July 23, at approximately 8:25 a.m., the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a witness reporting there was a man near FM 315 outside of Chandler who had been held at gunpoint and was being beaten. The caller said that the suspect then tied the victim’s hands and feet together with a rope, threw him in the bed of a tan colored Ford pickup and drove away.
HCSO Sergeant Thomas Goodell and Deputies Tell Walker and Ray Yockey responded to the call. Deputies located the victim at his residence. The victim showed signs of having been assaulted and was bleeding. The victim, 54-year-old Dwayne Welch, told deputies that he was asleep in his tent. He said that the next thing he knew, he was thrown out on CR 4307 a mile or two from his residence. Welch suffered cuts and abrasions to his head, along with other contusions and bruises on his body. Welch was transported to East Texas Medical Center in Athens where he was treated and released.
Deputies searched the area for a truck matching the description given by the witness. Sergeant Goodell noticed a vehicle matching the description parked at a residence located near the end of CR 4307. Sgt. Goodell observed evidence indicating that the bed of the pickup truck had been recently washed. Goodell also observed what appeared to be traces of blood in the bed of the pickup.
Sgt. Goodell made contact with Derrick Cofer at the residence. Cofer admitted to striking the victim with a shotgun, assaulting him, binding him and transporting him against his will. Cofer said that he thought Welch had something to do with Cofer’s wallet going missing earlier in the morning.
Derrick Cofer was placed under arrest and booked into the Henderson County Justice Center on the offense of Aggravated Kidnapping, a First Degree Felony, punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. He was arraigned by Justice of the Peace Pct. 2 Judge Kevin Pollack who set bond at $5,000. Cofer posted bond and was released.
Posted by : July 21, 2016| On :
By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF–The Red Waller Community Library of Malakoff hosted Miss B and her assistant Lauren, who showed off several animals during the library’s weekly summer reading program, held July 14 at Malakoff Community Center.
The animals shown included a kangaroo, a wallaby, a bearded dragon, a sugar glider and a tarantula.
The weekly program continues through July 28.
Posted by : July 7, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY — The community mourns the passing of a nine-year-old girl after a boating accident ends in tragedy on the Fourth of July weekend.
Cierra Morman was boating with her family at about 7:15 p.m. July 1 near Malakoff, feeding rope to an inner tube, when she was tangled in the rope and fell overboard, striking the rear of the boat near the motor.
The girl’s death sent shockwaves through the community and devastated family and members of the Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department, for whom her father, Zach Morman, is a five-year member.
There were four adults and four children on board when the accident occurred. Investigators ruled the tragedy was purely an accident and no alcohol was involved. All the children were wearing life vests.
Assistant Fire Chief Bobby Conn said he and his entire department are still in a state of disbelief.
“This is hard. Really hard. We’ve shed a lot of tears and said a lot of prayers. We are going to miss her,” Conn said.
The fire department released a statement on Facebook saying the tragedy brought the “deepest sorrow and pain,” and asked for the support of the community.
Game Warden Mike Hanson said the Zach Morman was driving the pontoon boat at the time of the accident.
“It was purely an accident,” he said “It was a typical family outing turned tragic. These are by far the worst types of accidents. You just can’t explain it.”
Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Malakoff Police Department, and several area volunteer fire departments responded.
A memorial fund was established to assist the family with funeral expenses. Donations can be made directly to Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department, or donations can be made online via PayPal. A link to the PayPal account can found on the fire department’s Facebook page.
Funeral arrangements have been made for Morman on July 8. The family will receive visitors from 6-8 p.m. at Huckabee-Tomlinson Funeral Home in Seven Points. The funeral will be July 9 at 2 p.m. at Lake View Assembly Of God in Seven Points.
Posted by : June 1, 2016| On :
By Sariah Kendall
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS– Sheriff Ray Nutt celebrated his last day on the job with friends and fellow officers at the Henderson County Justice Center May 31 and Chief Deputy Botie Hillhouse swore in as the new Sheriff of Henderson County June 1.
Nutt has served in law enforcement more than six decades and has held this position since January of 2009. Nutt has retired to spend more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.
County Judge Richard Sanders said he will miss Nutt on the job, as will Henderson County. “It’ll be difficult for Henderson County to replace Sheriff Nutt,” Sanders said.
During the ceremony officers who served under Nutt spoke highly of him and Nutt said he expects them to maintain the same standards under Sheriff Hillhouse.
“I want to thank the people for what they’ve done, showing me their support,” Nutt said.
Botie Hillhouse was elected in March. “It’s an honor to be the sheriff-elect for Henderson County,” Hillhouse said, “I’ve been his (Nutt’s) right hand man the whole time. But I’m ready to move forward and I appreciate the court’s support.”
Posted by : May 26, 2016| On :
News Staff Reports
ATHENS–The Henderson County Precinct 3 Commissioner’s race is won by Charles “Chuck” McHam in the Republican Runoff Election Tuesday. He will face Democrat candidate Aleciah Sims in November’s General Election. The winner will be sworn into office Jan. 1, 2017. Current office Ronny Lawrence has indicated he will retire at the end of his term, having served on the Commissioners’ Court for more than a decade.
McHam gained 822 votes to Kevin Head’s 635 to secure his ballot spot.
The longtime Brownsboro ISD ag teacher said he is very excited with the win and plans to help make the county a place that people will want to relocate to under his watch. “I want to make the people of Henderson County proud,” he said.
As expected much fewer voters participated in the runoff election than those who cast votes in the March Party Primary. In that race McHam garnered 1,520 votes. Head reaped 913 votes in the Primary.
“There’s one more race to go,” McHam said. “We’ll get geared up and be ready when it comes.”
Statewide races included a runoff for Railroad Commissioner and two seats on the Court of Criminal Appeals. Henderson County voters agreed with totals statewide and selected Wayne Christian over Gary Gates by a margin of 167 votes for Railroad Commissioner. Christian will face Democrat Grady Yarbrough in November, which agrees with county totals for Yarbrough among Democrat voters.
County election results shows Place 2 Justice candidate Ray Wheless with higher totals than his opponent; however, statewide totals favored Mary Lou Keel for the post with 51 percent of the vote. Place 5 Justice candidate Scott Walker won statewide with nearly 58 percent of the vote, which lines up nicely with County totals of 75 percent. Neither Justice has an opponent for the general election.
The runoff also decided the winner of the State Board of Education District 9 seat. Only two Republicans have been in contention for the seat with Keven M. Ellis winning 59.2 percent of the vote and Mary Lou Bruner picking up the remaining 40 percent. County voters also named Ellis as their choice at the ballot box.
Posted by : May 19, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–The Athens Chamber of Commerce is without a president again after Mike Coston resigned from the post May 17.
Coston made his final public appearance earlier that day at the Farm and Ranch Tour luncheon at the Cain Center. He has served as chamber president since July 2014.
The executive board accepted his resignation. Coston plans to pursue other career opportunities.
Coston has established several programs throughout the community such as Ladies Night out, Lake, Clays and Fairways event, the 12 at 12 meetings and the Young Entrepreneurs Academy.
Before coming to Athens, Coston left the Kilgore chamber in early 2013 to become president and CEO of the Fort Worth- based Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America. He replaced Mark Rathe at the Athens chamber. Rathe was president from June 2013 to March 2014.
Posted by : May 19, 2016| On :
The News Photo/Sariah Kendall
Texas Game Wardens stand ready for a 21-gun salute during a memorial service held at the the Texas Game Warden Memorial at the Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, May 13.
By Sariah Kendall
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–Texas Game wardens gathered Friday for an annual memorial ceremony held at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens to honor 18 wardens who died in the line of duty.
Family members of the fallen, guests, and the 60th game warden training class listened as Texas Parks and Wildlife Executive Director Carter Smith reviewed the courage and dedication of these fallen wardens.
“In your valor, there is great hope. May we never forget the valor and hope bestowed upon us by the 18 departed wardens,” Smith said.
Game wardens have served the citizens of Texas since 1895. They have expanded their duties from solely protecting fisheries and wildlife to water safety and search and rescue. For years they have also worked with border patrol and disaster relief, “which is increasing danger and risk,” Smith said. Daily, 500 wardens are on duty throughout the state of Texas.
Since 2016, the U.S. has lost 35 game wardens, three from Texas. “You must remember the sacrifices for the blue badge,” Colonel Craig Hunter reminded the game warden training class.
This is likely the last ceremony to be conducted in Athens before the memorial is moved to Austin. Athens has held the ceremony at the Memorial Plaza since it was installed.
The News photo/ sariah Kendall
From left to right: Oscar Jaimez of Laredo, Brad Meloni of Kingsville, Carlos Maldonado of Hebbronville, Colt Gaulden of Gatesville and Kevin Frazier of Hamilton stand united at the Texas Game Warden Memorial Ceremony held at the Freshwater Fisheries Center.
Posted by : May 12, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
News Staff Writer
ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners accepted the resignation of Sheriff Ray Nutt Tuesday. His last day will by May 31. In his resignation letter, Nutt states that the goals he came into office with Jan. 1, 2009 have been met.
“I would like to thank the Court for their support during my time as Sheriff. I also appreciate the support of the citizens from all across the County. Although my term runs through Dec. 31, 1 feel it is in the best interest of the Sheriffs Office and the County, for me to step aside,” he wrote.
Commissioners agreed to name Sheriff-elect Botie Hillhouse to begin serving in Nutt’s place beginning on June 1, as Nutt recommended. “The new sheriff-elect is ready to continue our goals and to implement his own,” Nutt stated.
“After more than 47 years in law enforcement, I am looking forward to being able to spend more time with my wife. Lee and my children and grandchildren.”
Posted by : April 28, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Trinity Valley Community College confirms college President Glendon Forgey was suspended with pay Monday, April 25.
Board President Ray Raymond said the board has been presented with confilicting governmental documents by Forgey without acceptable explanation.
The school board is elected by the citizens of the college district to oversee the college and its administrators and act in the best interest of TVCC students and staff.
Raymond said the board takes their responsibilities very seriously and has determined the concerns regarding the president’s conduct should be fully investigated in order to properly fulfill its duties to the public.
An investigation into his contract is pending.