Dec

07

Posted by : admin | On : December 7, 2017

12-3 DOA

The News Staff Reports
MABANK–Mabank Police Chief Keith Bradshaw reports that a 17-year-old back seat passenger was dead at the scene when first responders arrived at U.S. 175 and County Road 2938 at nearly 11 p.m. Sunday night, near the Hilltop Tire Shop. Traffic was slowed to one lane during the response.
Gun Barrel City Fire Department used extraction tools to free victims from the 2002 Toyota Highlander containing three passengers plus the driver.
Iris Anderson was sitting behind the driver when the vehicle was T-boned at the passenger door when the driver attempted to cross the interstate from north to south. She died in the collision. Another back-seat passenger, Morgan Carrol, 18, was transported from Gun Barrel City-ETMC to Tyler by helicopter and passed away Monday.
Front seat passenger Kyle Poole, 18, was treated and released from Gun Barrel City’s emergency room. Driver Austin Junell, 21 and a Mabank High School graduate, was transported by ambulance to the nearest emergency room and then on to Baylor Hospital in Dallas.
Tractor trailer driver Adam Drane, 40 of Victoria, escaped serious injury.
The preliminary investigation continued until 4 a.m. the next morning. No charges have been made in the case at presstime.
On Saturday at around 1:30 p.m. traffic flow was interrupted when an eastbound vehicle in the service road along U.S. 175 approaching Third Street in Mabank disregarded the traffic light.
Travis Pugh, 38, of Enchanted Oaks was operating a 2006 Silver GMC Yukon when he made a right turn on Third Avenue, crossed all lanes of traffic and struck the stop sign on First Street as he continued to accelerate in the wrong lanes leaving the roadway until the vehicle collided with a small group of trees.
On its way across, the SUV also struck the hindquarter of a northbound 1989 Cadillac Deville, driven by Charles Luke, 42 of Mabank.
Pugh was charged with disregard of traffic control device and driving while license invalid/suspended.

Nov

30

Posted by : admin | On : November 30, 2017

Doyle Deason
The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said a man is charged with the stabbing death of another man following an altercation Sunday in the Payne Springs area.
Doyle Wayne Deason, 65, was arrested Sunday morning after he confessed to stabbing Bryan Rodgers, 43, in the early hours of the morning.
Rodgers died a short while afterwards at the East Texas Medical Center in Gun Barrel City as the result of a single stab wound.
Hillhouse said the incident began to unfold before 5 a.m. when deputies were en route to a call about a suspicious person on Double Bridge Road in the Cherokee Shores Subdivision.
The person was reported carrying a butcher knife and seeking someone, who had stolen from him.
Shortly afterwards, a stabbing victim was reported near Double Bridge Road. The victim, Rodgers, was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead at 6:44 a.m.
At the scene on Huntoon Trail, law enforcement discovered a gun believed to be involved in the incident. Rodgers had walked to a neighbor’s residence on Double Bridge Road to seek aid.
Investigators followed leads to the suspect on Timber Road in the Timber Bay subdivision.
The suspect had suffered a minor gunshot wound and confessed to stabbing the victim. During an interview with investigators it was determined that Rodgers was not the person Deason was looking for.
Deason is charged with Murder and is being held with a $1,000,000 bond.

Nov

22

Posted by : admin | On : November 22, 2017

James Ray Cryer

Special to The News
ATHENS–After entering a plea of guilty in October, James Ray Cryer, Jr., 42, was sentenced by Judge Dan Moore of the 173rd District Court in Athens, to life in prison for Aggravated Sexual Assault. Cryer was also convicted of Unlawful Restraint, for which he received a sentence of 10 years.
Henderson County Sheriff’s Deputy Keon Mack, jailers Clayton Teel and Brittney Owens, along with the victim testified at the Nov. 8 sentencing hearing.
On Aug. 10, 2016, Cryer was “working security” at the Exxon game room in Dogwood City located in Smith County. Also present at the game room was a 60-year-old Frankston woman, who Cryer approached, asking for a ride home. After directing her into the Briarwood Bay subdivision, he directed her to a darkened street, where he grabbed her by the hair and held a knife to her throat, forcing her to perform a sexual act. He then ordered her to drive to a different location, where he intended to abuse her further.
As she drove slowly down the street, Henderson County Sheriff’s deputy Keon Mack passed the car going the opposite direction and noticed the car’s slow speed and failure to lower its lights from high beam. After turning around he also observed a defective tail light for which he initiated a traffic stop. When he got alongside the driver’s side window, Mack noticed the woman was extremely nervous and when asked if everything was OK, she whispered the words, “Help me.”
Recognizing the woman was possibly in danger, Mack had her step out and move to the rear of the vehicle, so she could tell him what was taking place. Shortly after that, he got Cryer out of the car, removed the knife and placed him under arrest.
The woman, visibly shaken and upset, told the deputy several times that he had saved her life, a belief which she reiterated to the court.
Both Teel and Owens testified about threats Cryer had made while in the Henderson County Jail. In particular, he had made the statement that if he got a life sentence, he would kill one of the [expletive] guards.
Assistant District Attorney Jessica Bargmann, who prosecuted the case for the State, introduced Cryer’s prior convictions for Aggravated Criminal Mischief, Sexual Assault, Unlawful Possession of a Deadly Weapon in a Penal Institution, and Possession of a Prohibited Item in a Correctional Facility. He was sentenced to 15 years for his first Sexual Assault in 1993 and while in prison, he received two additional felonies, resulting in his incarceration for a total of 23 years.
Cryer had been out for only 10 weeks before committing this assault.
Bargmann said that the sentence brought peace to the victim and justice for the community. “James Cryer has a long violent history, and a life sentence is the only way to ensure the continued safety of the public,” she said.
District Attorney Mark Hall commended Bargmann for an excellent job presenting the case, and was gratified that the court assessed a sentence that will keep Cryer in prison, and away from other potential victims for at least 30 years.
“When a person has been in prison over half his life, and then commits another violent crime immediately after getting out, you know that he can’t adapt to society. James Cryer is back where he belongs.”

Nov

08

Posted by : admin | On : November 8, 2017

Kenlie Alisabeth Pallett

Kaylee Dainelle Hall
The News Staff Reports
MABANK—The community of Cedar Creek Lake is in shock as the story of a mother who murdered her two daughters in the early morning hours of Nov. 2 continues to unfold.
The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the arrest of 29-year-old Sarah Nicole Henderson, who is charged with capital murder in the deaths of her two daughters Kaylee Danielle Hall, 7, and Kenlie Alisabeth Pallett, 5, both students of Southside Elementary School in Mabank.
According to Hillhouse, EMS contacted his office at 11:29 p.m. Wednesday night Nov. 1, asking for assistance with a possible suicidal female at a residence outside Payne Springs. The caller called again and said he no longer needed assistance, so EMS cancelled the call seven minutes later. Deputies were already enroute and arrived at the residence, at 11:45 p.m.
Hillhouse said a male and female told deputies they were fine and no one was in danger or jeopardy.
Nearly three hours later at 2:24 a.m., the last call came from Jake Henderson, whose call to 9-1-1. was tearful, “My wife just shot her kids.” He said he went to bed after everyone else had, or so he thought. The next thing he knew his wife was standing over him saying, “Babe, I just shot the kids.” In tapes of the 9-1-1 calls, Henderson can be heard in the background saying, “Babe, what have I done?”
Hillhouse reported the children were dead at the scene. “The family was asleep other than the mother is what we’re getting in the investigation,” Hillhouse said.
The Texas Rangers, Child Protective Services and the DA’s Office are assisting with the investigation. 173rd District Judge Dan Moore issued a search warrant for the residence. Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Kevin Pollock conducted the inquest and the bodies were transported to American Forensics in Dallas for examination. A firearm was recovered from the home.
Neighbors were questioned by investigators searching for a motive. Speculation was that the couple was having some financial difficulties and that she failed to get a job after an interview. Neighbors reported that Henderson had often spoken harshly to the children. A candlelight vigil was held at their school Nov. 2 as teachers, parents and students struggled to cope with the loss. Tearful parents and children were interviewed by television news reporters.
According to obituaries, Kaylee and Kenlie were inseparable; the two were sisters and best friends. They enjoyed dancing, swimming and riding their bicycles. Kaylee and Kenlie loved cheerleading and having their pictures taken and showing their beautiful smiles. They loved playing and spending time with their best friends Nadia, Katie and Alyiah.
Mabank ISD Superintendent Dr. Russell Marshall transferred all school counselors to Southside Thursday to lend support to staff and students. Substitute teachers were brought in to relieve staff members most closely affected by the deaths. “All campuses are pulling together to help. It’s what our school family does,” he said.
Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said in an interview, “Everybody wants to know why. I’d love to know why, but sometimes you never find the real reason why.”
Henderson confessed to the killing of her two daughters and is being held on a $2 million bond.
A GoFundMe page was created Nov. 2 under “Funeral funds for KayLee and Kenlie.” Funeral services were held Nov. 6, 2017 at Eubank Cedar Creek Memorial Chapel with a graveside service following at Eubank Cedar Creek Memorial Park. A candlelight service will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12 at the Gun Barrel City Park Pavilion for the two sisters.

Nov

02

Posted by : admin | On : November 2, 2017

worked up photo Levi Lebleu

worked up photo
Levi Lebleu


Sara Peasner
Anthony LebleuDerek Payton
Special to The News
ATHENS–Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse reports the arrest of four people in Athens Monday afternoon, following a brief car chase. The driver, once stopped, tried to escape on foot.
Just after lunch Monday, Investigator Josh Rickman and Deputy David Robertson initiated a traffic stop on FM 59 after a vehicle was seen driving recklessly.
The driver, identified as Levi Lebleu, failed to immediately stop the vehicle which caused the narcotics investigator and deputy to initiate a pursuit south on the Farm-to-Market Road and Ruth Street.
After the vehicle finally stopped on Bunny Rabbit Road, Lebleu fled on foot. He was caught and passengers detained.
Lebleu was charged with evading arrest with a previous conviction, a third-degree felony; possession of methamphetamine, a state jail felony; and tampering with evidence, another third-degree felony.
Anthony Lebleu was charged with a felony for tampering or fabricating physical evidence, possession of methamphetamine and marijuana, a felony and misdemeanor respectively; and another misdemeanor for evading arrest.
Sara Peasner was charged with a class A misdemeanor for unlawful carrying of a weapon.
Derek Payton was also charged with possession of methamphetamine, a state jail felony, and tampering or fabricating physical evidence, a third-degree felony.

Oct

26

Posted by : admin | On : October 26, 2017

Richard Brashear
Tonia Speer
The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–An alleged methamphetamine dealer and customer were booked early Oct. 19 according to Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse. Both were charged with drug possession; the subject of the investigation was also caught in possession of a firearm she is barred from possessing.
Tonia Speer, 49, was found with a substantial amount of meth packaged and ready for distribution when a seven-member team from the Sheriff’s Office descended on her Ravenwood Road residence, in the Westwood Beach subdivision south of Chandler.
Having pleaded guilty to a felony drug possession charge in 2014, Speer lost her rights to possess a firearm, which investigators found at her residence.
She has been charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance greater than 1 gram and less than 4 grams and for illegal possession of a firearm. She is being held at the Henderson County Jail on bonds totaling $18,500.
If found guilty of the second-degree felony drug charge, she will face up to 20 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a fine of up to $10,000. For the third-degree illegal possession of a firearm charge, she will face up to 10 years in prison and another fine of up to $10,000.
Richard Brashear, 42, was also at the residence and was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance up to 1 gram, for which he can be sentenced to up to two years in prison and ordered to pay up to $10,000.
Investigator Ray Yockey obtained the search warrant from Henderson County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Tony Duncan, Hillhouse said. “People in Chandler have told us they want this crime and these folks out of their neighborhoods. That is exactly what we are doing.”
Narcotics Investigators Josh Rickman and Brad Beddingfield, David Faught and Megan Hogan assisted along with deputies Russell Wesson and Johnathan Daille.

Oct

05

Posted by : admin | On : October 5, 2017

The News Staff Reports
IOWA–Ex Malakoff Police Officer Ernesto Fierro has been ordered to pay a judgment in the amount of $6.3 million from an incident that happened in 2013.
William Livezey, 70 of New Sharon, Iowa died from a heart attack suffered while he was in handcuffs on the side of the road on State Highway 31 east of Corsicana near the Chambers Creek bridge Dec. 11, 2013.
Livezey was hauling reclaimed barn wood on a trailer pulled by his truck from Iowa to a client in Houston when he was pulled over by Fierro, who was off duty at the time. Fierro, who had just finished a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. night shift, was traveling home on his personal motorcycle and passed the truck.
The officer alleged that Livezey’s truck swerved toward him and he took evasive action. Upon regaining control of the motorcycle, Fierro accelerated and put some distance between himself and the truck. When the officer slowed down coming into the next town, the truck caught up and swerved at him again. Once the officer was able to retrieve his badge from his duty belt, he identified himself as a police officer and stopped the truck.
Fierro handcuffed Livezey and placed him on the side of the road, intending to charge him with assault with a deadly weapon. When Navarro County deputies arrived, they removed the handcuffs and told Livezey to sit back in his vehicle and questioned him for 10 to 15 minutes. During the questioning, Livezey became unresponsive and stopped breathing. CPR was performed by a Navarro County Deputy as well as off-duty officer Fierro until Corsicana EMS arrived and transported Livezey to Navarro Regional Hospital where he died.
The family of the deceased, which included a wife and four adult children, filed suit against Fierro, his police chief and the City of Malakoff in April 2014, claiming excessive force and unlawful arrest. The city and police chief were later dropped from the lawsuit, leaving Fierro solely responsible for the judgment.
Fierro is no longer a commissioned peace officer, having been ordered to surrender his license some time earlier due to this incident.

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

By Denise York
The News Staff Reporter
MALAKOFF–The Malakoff Board of Trustees met at 6 p.m. Aug. 21 with a public hearing on the proposed tax rate. With no public attendance at the hearing, when the board convened into its regular meeting, Trustees set the tax rate for the 2017-18 school year at $1.20 per $100 valuation. $1.04 of the rate is set for maintenance and operation with $0.16 for interest and sinking. Trustees also approved the budget with expenditures of $17,701,417 and revenues at $17,761,155.
Superintendent Randy Perry set forth his goals for the new school year, many of which were centered on improving STAAR results and challenging the students academically. The district will also move toward Google classrooms with all students and teacher beginning a new collaboration using Google Apps and Docs.
Perry also focused on attendance rate over 96 percent for the 2017-18 school year. The attendance rate fell at the end of the last school year to 95.9 percent. The district will also increase the number of students at Malakoff High School that would be identified college-ready by the TEA and work with local businesses to create more opportunities for internships to better prepare the students for the transition after high school.
Perry also stressed improving the mentor program for new teachers and promoting a safe and orderly environment where students can learn to their greatest potential.

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.”