Aug

17

Posted by : admin | On : August 17, 2017

Clyde Jason Tennison

Special to The News
ATHENS–Three years from the date he brutally killed Deborah Denise Allen, and just days before he was set to begin his trial in front of a Henderson County jury, Clyde Jason Tennison entered a plea of “Guilty” to her murder before visiting Judge Joe Clayton Aug. 11.
In exchange for his plea, the 53-year-old Tennison, received a sentence of 45 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Institutional Division. He will be eligible for parole after completing half his sentence (22.5 years), with time served in the Henderson County Jail. He will be 73 before that time arrives, and “eligibility” for parole does not mean he will be released at that time.
On Aug. 2, 2014, Tennison claimed that he and the victim, who was his girlfriend, had been arguing in the days leading up to her death. He told investigators that on the that day, he had just informed her that he was leaving, and went to take a shower first. According to him, when he got out, he looked in her room and saw her body lying on the bed. He then left the house and traveled to the home of his parents, telling them that Deborah had committed suicide by cutting her own throat. He later told Sheriff’s Deputy Cayce Hampton that Allen had used his knife to cut herself.
Tennison and members of his family went back to the residence located in Gun Barrel City and determined that Ms. Allen was deceased before contacting law enforcement.
At some point, Tennison consumed and overdosed on Xanax resulting in him being admitted to ETMC the same morning after Allen’s death. He also tested positive for PCP.
As the investigation progressed, Tennison’s account of the events became less plausible. Investigators located the defendant’s wet clothes in the washing machine, yet they still tested positive for the presence of blood. According to lab results, he also had the victim’s blood under his fingernails, along with a distinct bite mark on the inside of his thigh.
The medical examiner who performed the autopsy believed that the wounds to the neck of Ms. Allen were unlikely to be self-inflicted. Physical evidence, and the position of the knife found in Allen’s hand were incompatible with the injuries and blood evidence.
Investigators believed that after bludgeoning and cutting his victim, Tennison attempted to stage the scene to appear as if it had been a suicide.
Several weeks after the murder, Tennison made an unsolicited comment to jailers that, “I never thought I would be capable of something like that. I slit her throat and watched her bleed out on the ground.”
During most of the plea, Tennison was quiet and reserved, however during the victim impact statement given by Ms. Allen’s daughter, he momentarily sobbed, and said that he was sorry.
Henderson County District Attorney Mark Hall, and First Assistant Nancy Rumar were set to prosecute the case beginning on Tuesday of this week. Hall said the plea agreement was one that ensured that Tennison would be in prison for a long time to come, and that the family of Ms. Allen was fully on board with the 45-year offer.
“This has been a long, hard road for the family of Deborah Allen, and I am glad that they can finally put this chapter behind them. Although the pain of her death will never go away, the fact that Clyde Tennison finally admitted his guilt in open court will help them deal with her horrible death,” Hall said.
“I want to thank the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Ranger Michael Adcock, D.A. investigators, and the other law enforcement agencies and personnel that worked this case and did such a thorough and professional job of sorting out truth from fiction.”

Aug

03

Posted by : admin | On : August 3, 2017

Driver, TrinityThe News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse today said an early morning traffic violation led to a Deputy to arrest a man with methamphetamines and a pipe used to smoke the contraband.
Trinity Driver, 28, of Arp was stopped around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday traveling north on FM 315 south of Chandler.
Deputy William Thornton was patrolling the area when he noticed Driver commit a traffic violation. He stopped the suspect, removed him from the vehicle and checked him for weapons.
The Deputy then discovered a glass pipe commonly used to inhale illegal narcotics and a plastic baggie hidden in a cigarette pack containing a crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine.
“This is another case where our team is always on the lookout for the unusual,” Hillhouse. “Driving around this County in the dark of night carrying illegal drugs is a sure way to find yourself waking up in our jail.”
Driver was charged with a state jail felony for possession under a gram.
He faces up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine. He is being held with a $8,500 bond.

Aug

03

Posted by : admin | On : August 3, 2017

By D.A. Mark Hall
Special to The News ATHENS–Beginning Aug. 9, a three-day hearing in the 392nd District Court has been scheduled in the Randall Mays case to determine his competency to be executed. Mays has resided on Death Row since 2008 for killing Henderson County Sheriff ’s deputies Tony Ogburn and Paul Ha-belt at Mays Henderson County home. Mays has exhausted all of his State and Federal appeals, with his last execution date previously set in 2015. Days prior to imposition of his sentence, his new attorneys from the Texas Office of Capital and Forensic Writs,filed a motion suggesting that he was legally incompetent to be executed under Texas law. After an initial determination by then judge Carter Tarrance that Mays was competent, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the decision and ordered that experts be appointed to evaluate Mays for competency to be executed which requires that the defendant understand why he is being executed, and that it is imminent. Tarrance appointed three separate experts to evaluate him, which took place over the last year and a half.
The August hearing will provide visiting judge Joe Clayton with the information needed to make a ruling upon the issue of competency, and ultimately deter-mine if the death sentence received by Mays will be carried out.
“This has been a long running battle to fulfill the sentence imposed by a jury in 2008 that has spanned the administration of three different District Attorneys,” Hall said. “I sincerely hope that we can bring this painful chapter to a close, and allow the families of the slain officers the opportunity to know that justice has been carried out.”
The week following the Mays hearing, Hall and Rumar will be back in court selecting a jury in the case of Clyde Jason Tennison, who is alleged by indictment to have killed his girlfriend Deborah Allen, in July 2014 in rural Henderson County near Payne Springs. The case is expected to last at least a week in the 3rd Dis-trict Court before Judge Mark Calhoon.

Jul

27

Posted by : admin | On : July 27, 2017

Rodriguez

Athens Police Chief Buddy Hill (from left) presents Life Saving Awards to Patrolman Jonathan Hutchison and Corporal Roger Keith for their bravery and outstanding sevice for rescuing a trapped resident from a multi-story structure fire June 28.

Athens Police Chief Buddy Hill (from left) presents Life Saving Awards to Patrolman Jonathan Hutchison and Corporal Roger Keith for their bravery and outstanding sevice for rescuing a trapped resident from a multi-story structure fire June 28.


By Denise York
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–The Athens City Council accepted the resignation of City Manager Philip Rodriguez at the July 25 meeting.
Rodriguez, who has been city manager for about two years, leaves to take a city manager position in Brighton, Colo., his home state. During his tenure in Athens nearly $13 million of capital improvements have begun, including the Cain Center revamp and major work to the water system.
In his resignation letter, Rodriguez detailed accomplishments made and said, “We did all of this and more while establishing a truly impressive city staff that is one of the most capable group of professionals and public servants I have ever worked with.”
Although his resignation is effective Sept. 10, it was announced at the city council meeting that his responsibility for the City of Athens would end on Aug. 8. Rodriguez thanked council members and the city for the opportunity and said a special thanks in his letter to former mayor Jerry Don Vaught for his “consistent support and mentorship.”
Athens Chamber of Commerce President had high praise for Rodriguez. “In the time that I’ve been a part of the Athens community, first with Cain Center and now the chamber, Philip has been very supportive. He is someone I’ve enjoyed working with and I’m very thankful for his service to the Athens community and his part in helping to move things to a place where good things are happening all around.”
Councilman Ed McCain said, “Philip and his family are going home to Colorado. I am very happy for him and he has done a really great job. But I am positive and forward looking. This is a great opportunity for Athens to get even better.”
McCain told The News that Athens has a great city staff and the city is primed for a great next 10 years with projects that are well underway and will be completed in a fiscally responsible manner. He also stated the city has a great possibility for an interim city manager.
Two Athens police officers were presented Life Saving Awards for rescuing a trapped resident during an early-morning structure fire in a multi-story building June 28. Patrolman Jonathan Hutchison and Corporal Roger Keith were the first to arrive on the scene and once they ascertained that there was indeed a trapped resident, they went into action to rescue her. Chief Buddy Hill said, “Without regard to their own personal safety, they pushed past the flames, entered the burning structure, located the resident and removed her.” Both officers and the resident were treated for smoke inhalation but no lasting damage.
Athens Fire Chief John McQueary praised the officers for their extreme bravery in rescuing the woman. “Those flames put out 1,200 degrees of heat and without protective gear or specialized training, they went in. All they saw was a life that needed to be saved.”
When a citizen’s request for de-annexation of his property came before the council, much discussion ensued. This was not the first time this had been brought before the council and was denied in November, 2016. The issue concerns a 31-acre tract of land (Tract 4A Abstract 135 D Cherry Sur) which the property owner was not aware was within city limits as a Lake Athens property when he purchased it.
Property owner Tom Potthoff wishes to develop the land for four homes. The city provides no services to the acreage, some 40 miles outside the city. After presentations by Potthoff and Planning and Development, council members voiced differing opinions and the item was tabled.
In other business, council members:
• heard a resolution presented by Councilwoman Toni Clay honoring Richard “Dick” Dwelle for 63 years of outstanding service to the people of Athens. Dwelle was instrumental in founding the Henderson County United Way, Keep Athens Beautiful, the Athens Industrial Foundation, the Public Library Fund and the Civic Center and Park Fund, serving on several of their boards. Dwelle passed away in June.
• agreed to allow heavy vehicles in commercial property by special-use permit so a business selling new and used trucks may operate on US 175.

Jul

27

Posted by : admin | On : July 27, 2017

Log Cabin City Secretary Belynda Figueriedo (right) admiinisters oath of office to new City Councilperson Rodney Allen. Allen replaces Jennifer Williams who resigned.

Log Cabin City Secretary Belynda Figueriedo (right) admiinisters oath of office to new City Councilperson Rodney Allen. Allen replaces Jennifer Williams who resigned.


By Denise York
The News Staff Writer
LOG CABIN–Log Cabin City Council accepted the resignation of council member Jennifer Williams and appointed Rodney Allen to take her place at the regular meeting on July 20 at the Log Cabin City Municipal Building.
The council approved some important changes to the payment of water bills and court costs which take effect Sept. 1. Water bill payments will be accepted between the hours of 8 a.m. to noon Monday
through Thursday. The policy was also amended to no longer accept cash for payment of water or court bills. Payment may be made by check, money order or credit/debit card.
Councilperson Judy Bearden told the assembly “This will make it more efficient and save time for the office personnel.” When asked what would happen if someone brought in a payment after hours, she answered, “They can put it in the drop box and it will not affect the bill being late.” The group was told there would be no change in the service fee for using a credit card.
The change will be communicated to residents via signs on the Municipal Building, newsletter and a notice on the water bill.
The council also accepted a bid for repair of the water system in the amount of $19,890 from Cates Welding for repair of the 30,000-gallon ground storage tank with the stipulation that the bid expected next week is not lower. The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) informed the city of the violation during a routine inspection and are allowing the city time to make the repair before charging for the violation. The council did not want to wait another month to take action since at this point, they were not being charged a penalty for non-compliance. The bid was the lower of two they had received.
In other business, council members:
• approved hiring Amberlea Commino as a part-time park attendant
• adopted the investment policy for small cities as their official investment policy. City Secretary Belynda Figueriedo informed the council that by state law, they must have an investment policy in place even if they don’t have money to invest.
• renewed the church lease for the current rate of $400 per month at a one-year term.

Jul

13

Posted by : admin | On : July 13, 2017

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–A toddler walked into traffic on U.S. 175 just a quarter mile west of Athens Sunday night. Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Randy Daniel pronounced the death.
According to Department of Public Safety information officer Jean Dark, the 22-month-old is Santiago Sanchez of Athens.
North-19 Fire Rescue Chief Bob Morris, who responded to the call, said he learned from family members that the child followed his father out of the house as he left for the store around 9 p.m. without the father’s knowledge. The father and the mother were both at the residence, located on the south side of U.S. 175.
“It happened really quickly,” Morris said.
A 2000 Honda Civic, driven by Vu Pham, 30 of Garland, was traveling east in the outside lane when the vehicle struck the child. “The driver was unable to avoid the child and struck the child with the front of the vehicle,” Dark said.
The body was transported to Hannigan-Smith Funeral Home.
Athens police and sheriff’s deputies assisted by redirecting traffic, as the roadway was closed while first responders worked the scene.

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

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

01

Posted by : admin | On : June 1, 2017

ATHENS–District Attorney Mark Hall reports that the Henderson County Grand Jury for the January-June term 2017 returned 35 True Bills May 17. In addition, six cases are indicted under seal. They include:
• Kawliger Lee Connelly, 41, Kemp, indicted for Possession of Controlled Substance (PCS).
• Cecil Ray Collum, 49, Malakoff, indicted for Bail Jumping and Failure to Appear.
• Walter Edward George, Jr, 49, Mabank, indicted for Assault.
• Jack Roy Thornton, 31, Kemp, indicted for Failure to Comply with Registration Requirements.
• Matthew Wayne Harris, 34, Athens, indicted for two counts of PCS.
• Matthew James Davis Moreland, 18, Athens, indicted for two counts of PCS.
• Ernest Raydell Smalley, 24, Athens, indicted for Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance in Penalty Group One (PG1).
• Bruneswick Lakeith Jones, 45, Athens, indicted for PCS.
• James Randolph Sockwell, 36, Athens, indicted for PCS.
• Gary William McCord, 23, Trinidad, indicted for PCS.
• Donald Preston Walsh, JR, 33, Tyler, indicted for Assault.
• Joshua Michael Ochoa, 38, Malakoff, indicted for PCS.
• Jared Isaac Galindo, 31, Gun Barrel City, indicted for Aggravated Assault.
• Amy Lynn Smith, 37, Trinidad, indicted for PCS.
• Ivory Lewis Brown, 70, Athens, indicted for Theft.
• Becky Lynn Kemp, 38, Brownsboro, indicted for PCS.
• Casey Wayne Housewright, 36, Trinidad, indicted for PCS.
• Justin Tyler Beamon, 25, Mabank, indicted for Unlawful Possession of Firearm and Aggravated Assault.
• Joseph Anthony Ask, 34, Athens, indicted for PCS.
• Angelina Francesca McNabb Ferguson, 44, Tyler, indicted for PCS.
• Jesus Salidavar (a.k.a. Armando Zavala), 33, Athens, indicted for Evading Arrest or Detention.
• David Wayne Sumrall, 46, Malakoff, indicted for Assault.
• Tray Daniel Walters, 24, Kemp, indicted for Evading Arrest or Detention.
• Cynthia Ann Sonoff Hodges, 46, Corsicana, indicted for PCS.
• Maurice Cartez Miller, 38, Athens, indicted for PCS. Callie Lanae Chalk, 25, Kemp, indicted for PCS.
• James Robert Huffaker, 58, Kemp, indicted for PCS.
• Bobbie Renee Carroll, 42, Kemp, indicted for Prohibited Substances and Items in Correctional Facility.
• Travis Brax Davis, 19, Murchison, indicted for Burglary.
• Roger Allen Coleman, Jr, 46, Mabank, indicted for Forgery.
• Javier Castaneda, Jr, 18, Athens, indicted for Burglary.
• Scotty Lemond Barker, 34, Athens, indicted for Burglary of Vehicle.
• Brad Wesley McGuire, 26, Athens, indicted for PCS.
• Christopher Emil Mireles, 33, Tyler, indicted for Aggravated Robbery, Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle, Burglary, three counts and Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle.
• Billy Ray Clark, 48, Athens, indicted for PCS.
• Tray Daniel Walters, 24, Kemp, indicted for Evading Arrest or Detention.