The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Precinct 5 Constable Brad Miers reports the arrest of a woman with around 13 grams of illegal drugs Tuesday.
Amber Farmer, 33, of Athens was charged with manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance greater than 4 grams and less than 200 grams, a first-degree felony and misdemeanor possession of a dangerous drug.
Miers was assisting the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office on a suspicious activity call on County Road 1405 off State Highway 31 between Malakoff and Athens. Dispatch received a report of a man being assaulted at a residence on CR 1405. Miers was the first to arrive and encountered Farmer in a vehicle at the residence. While questioning Farmer, it was learned that possibly people fled the scene on the Constable’s arrival.
A search of the vehicle and Farmer’s possessions uncovered a large amount of a crystal-like substance believed to be meth, along with numerous pills in a bag. She was taken into custody for transport to the county jail. That’s when Farmer admitted she had another bag on her person. Deputy Meagan Hogan conducted a search of Farmer’s person and located a bag containing a glass pipe, digital scales and clear small bags with a crystal
Posted by : February 9, 2017| On :
Posted by : February 2, 2017| On :
Special to The News
TYLER–A 35-year-old Trinidad, Texas man has been sentenced to federal prison for child pornography violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston Jan. 25 in a press release.
Mikael Johnson pleaded guilty on Oct. 11, 2016, to distributing child pornography and was sentenced to 140 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark on Jan. 24, 2017.
According to information presented in court, on Dec. 14, 2015, Johnson knowingly sent another person child pornography by using the Internet, digital services that he owned and a social media application. Following an investigation, federal agents obtained and executed a search warrant at Johnson’s residence on Jan. 7, 2016. More than 600 images and videos containing child pornography were located and seized during the search. Johnson was arrested on that day and a federal grand jury returned an indictment on Jan. 20, 2016 charging him with federal child exploitation violations.
This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. [external link]
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Miller and U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division Trial Attorney Amy Larson.
Posted by : January 26, 2017| On :
The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse reports the arrest of three people in a drug ring in Athens Jan. 20.
Investigators have been eyeing the operation for about three months, Hillhouse told The News, before moving in with a search warrant last Friday afternoon.
Stephen Duane Roberts, 44; Elisha Marie Jones, 31; and Jason Denard Donnell, 41; were charged with first degree drug felonies upon finding at their Williams Street residence a large amount of methamphetamine, along with crack cocaine and controlled substances, Xanax and Ecstasy.
“This was a major drug-dealing operation,” Hillhouse said. “Our team got the information and with help of other law enforcement officers were able to shut them down.”
Investigators counted 36 grams of meth, two grams of crack cocaine, 28 grams of Xanax and 15 grams of Ecstasy, Hillhouse reported.
Narcotics investigators Josh Rickman and Brad Beddingfield were the lead in this investigation and swore out affidavits before Henderson County Court at Law Judge Scott Williams to obtain the search warrant for the residence.
Officers helping in the execution of the warrant included Chief Deputy Kevin Halbert, Captain David Jones, investigators Cayce Bosher, Brad Gray, Jeremy Rose, Robert Powers, Jessica Halbert and Jerry Corder, along with Precinct 1 Constable Kay Langford and detectives from the Athens Police Department.
Bail for the trio totaled $650,000 with a history of prior drug arrests. “Getting them in jail and keeping them there until they can be brought to trial sends the right message to other dealers and users in this community,” Hillhouse said.
Roberts and Jones were charged with three counts each of manufacturing and delivery of controlled substances in various amounts, with bonds totaling $275,000 each. Donnell was charged with possession of a controlled substance not less than a gram or more than four grams with bond set at $100,000.
“Henderson County is no place to be making, selling or using illegal drugs.,” Hillhouse stated. “I am committed to clean up this county and so are my fellow officers and judiciary.”
If convicted, Roberts and Jones face up to 99 years in prison but no less than five. Donnell faces felony possession sentence up to 10 years and no less than two, if convicted.
“These folks were selling poison that destroys lives,” Hillhouse said. “With them off the streets, hopefully one child, one mother, one father, one family will not fall into a life of addiction and pain.”
Posted by : December 29, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Two Athens men were arrested following a traffic stop on drug charges Tuesday. A press release from Sheriff Botie Hillhouse stated a large quantity of suspected methamphetamine, along with other drugs were found in the vehicle with them.
Brunzwick Jones, 45, and Laquntia Jones, 23, were traveling on Gaunt Street when narcotics investigator Josh Rickman and Deputy Kyle Pochobradsky observed a traffic violation. A search of the vehicle located “a large amount of crystal like substance we believe to be methamphetamine,” Hillhouse stated. Authorities also found pills of unknown substance and marijuana.
The men were charged with manufacture/delivery of controlled substances greater than 4 grams and less than 200 grams. The elder Jones was also charged with driving without a valid license. Both men are being held on bonds totaling $12,500 each.
Brunzwick has an arrest record dating back to 1988 with several sentences to jail time. This is Laquntia’s first drug offense, two previous offenses related to driving without license and financial responsibility.
If found guilty of the first-degree felony, the men could be jailed from five to 99 years and be fined up to $10,000 each. Hillhouse said the arrests are part of his continuing mission to eradicate drugs from the county, along with those who sell them and those who use them.
“As long as they don’t stop,” Hillhouse stated, “we don’t stop.” He added the message is also making its way to those who would bring drugs into the county.
Posted by : November 23, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–Jurors returned a guilty verdict in the trial of Stacie Marie Parsons, 27, who is charged with murdering her 4-year-old daughter, Victoria Wyatt, on July 21, 2014.
The seven-man five-woman jury returned a verdict after roughly 90 minutes of deliberation Nov. 17.
Juror Barbara Meyer told The News that the defendant didn’t exhibit any reactions or emotions during the 10-day trial that she could tell. She described the members of the jury as open-minded and able to render an opinion based on what was presented.
Meyer said what was the most convincing came from the defendant during several interviews with investigators recorded on video. “She confessed to the crime and believed she’d spend the rest of her life in prison,” Meyer said. “She didn’t show any diminished capacity to know right from wrong.”
173rd District Judge Dan Moore rejected a motion by Parsons’ defense team, pleading diminished mental capacity as a defense. Moore ruled that Parsons’ could not avoid criminal culpability on that basis. “It is not a defense under the criminal law,” Moore said.
In that case, Parsons’ lawyers claimed that Moore was denying Parson her Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel and that they were rendered ineffective. Moore said the two attorneys have been very effective at representing their client.
The defense is sure to seek an appeal since its evidence of intellectual disability and diminished capacity was disallowed from being presented to the jury, but was recorded in a closed session — as well as evidence of Parsons’ mental state or awareness of criminal activity at the time of its commission.
This evidence included depositions from those who have known Parsons, as well as from witnesses who testified as to her childhood and the IQ test she was given shortly after her arrest. Dr. Joan Mayfield found Parsons IQ to be 70. A score of 100 is considered average.
District Attorney Scott McKee told the judge the people were not seeking the death penalty for Parsons because of her mental disability. “Under the law, she does not qualify for the death penalty,” McKee said.
Parsons’ defense team entered a guilty plea by reason of insanity. A guilty verdict carries a sentence of life in prison.
Shortly after 9 a.m. July 21, 2014, Parsons walked into the Athens Police Department and stated she had killed her daughter and informed that the body could be found in the trunk of her car parked at an apartment building on Martin Luther King Blvd.
Police found the little girl with trauma to her head and chest. Later Parsons lead police to the place where the crime was committed under a bridge on County Road 1500. The girl’s father, Gary Wyatt, told news outlets that the girl’s mother had never acted violently toward their daughter before and that the couple had been together for six years. When Parsons left that morning with the little girl it was presumed she was going to register the girl for pre-kindergarten. When she returned without the girl and started walking away, Wyatt approached the car to look for her, “I wouldn’t be in that car if I were you,” Parson is reported as having told Wyatt. When he and a family friend opened the trunk, they found a garbage bag with his daughter’s leg sticking out of it. The two men pulled the body out and started CPR. Water was expelled from her lungs, it was reported.
According to news reports, Wyatt said that the night before, he had threatened to leave Parsons. Looking back, Wyatt said, weeks ago she had threatened to kill the baby if he ever left her, but he had chalked that up to just “angry talk”
“I never thought for a second she’d actually do it,” he said.
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 : August 4, 2016| On :
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 : 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 :
News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–Henderson County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Jannell Dunnington retired July 15 after serving the department for more than 21 years. She began her career with the department as a detention officer.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office said, “She has been an outstanding deputy and helped and touched many people throughout her career here. She will be missed by so many. Once again, thank you Deputy Jannell Dunnington for your outstanding and dedicated service to Henderson County.”
Posted by : July 7, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
CROSS ROADS–Vandals recently struck Beck’s Chapel Church in the Cross Roads area. The doors appeared to have been kicked in, and several items were vandalized. The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office took the report June 22, and the incident seems to have occurred between June 19 and June 22.
The historical church is located at 13960 County Road 1114. Regular services are no longer held at the church. It is only used for special events.
If you have any information about this crime, contact Henderson County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-545-8477. Callers will remain anonymous. If your information leads to an arrest, you could earn a cash reward of up to $1,000.