Apr

27

Posted by : admin | On : April 27, 2017

News Staff Reports
LAKE PALESTINE–The man who survived his boat going over the spillway at Lake Palestine April 19 died Sunday. His wife, Billemarie, 67, was pronounced dead at the scene. A double memorial service is set for Bille and Keith Wagnon, 69, was held Wednesday (April 26) at Rhone Memorial Chapel in Palestine. They were both local residents.
The News reporter Russell Slaton happen to have witnessed the horrific event from a distance, catching it on video, using his cell phone. Slaton said he felt helpless to do anything to prevent the tragedy from occurring. “I looked and kept thinking he would turn back, but he didn’t,” Slaton said. “Suddenly it went over and then there were several loud bangs or thuds.”
Game Warden Mike Hanson said freeing the boat to remove it was a problem because it got caught on some concrete pillars.
According to Hanson, the boat, occupied by a man and a woman, was traveling at a fast pace along the lake, traveling southward toward the dam. Hanson said the boat continued to travel and then passed the buoys which indicate the spillway’s edge, and continued straight on.
Hanson said some fisherman on the river near the spillway rushed over to try to save the boat’s occupants.
The man survived, but the woman was declared dead by Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Phillip Grimes from Cherokee County. He was taken to a Tyler hospital and placed in Intensive Care, where he later died. Keith and Billemarie Wagnon were married for 50 years.
No foul play is suspected.

Apr

27

Posted by : admin | On : April 27, 2017

Athens Fire
The New Staff Reports
ATHENS–Investigators are still looking into the cause of a deadly fire Saturday that resulted in the death of a man said to be in his 70s.
Fire at a boarding house on East College Street was reported at 8:36 p.m. However upon arrival, Athens Fire Department firefighters found the two-story structure fully involved. The name of the deceased was not disclosed as authorities hadn’t reached a next of kin by press time Wednesday.
The house was more than 3,500 square feet and built in the 1920s, Fire Chief John McQueary estimated.
The man was one of five or six individuals renting rooms in the house.
The chief reports rescue attempts made by the neighbors and another resident who saw the man on the second floor. “We assume he was overcome by smoke and probably collapsed. When the fire got intense enough for the floor and roof to fall, he ended up on the bottom floor,” McQueary said.
The blaze was so powerful firefighters were prevented from going inside upon arrival due to the flames. Their efforts prevented the fire from spreading to the two neighboring houses on either side. However, these structures sustained minor damage from the heat, McQueary said.

Mar

30

Posted by : admin | On : March 30, 2017

worked up photos mugshots Stephen Wilcox

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Stephen Wilcox


worked up photos mugshots Dustin Wilcox

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Dustin Wilcox

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS—Sheriff Botie Hillhouse reports the arrest of a father and son involved in a truck chase Tuesday morning.
Stephen Wilcox, 44 and his son, Dustin Wilcox, 26, have been arrested for theft, and evading arrest.
A team of deputies, Department of Public Safety officers, police and tracking dogs participated in the investigation and chase, Hillhouse said in a press release.
Shortly after 8 a.m., a caller reported a truck stolen near State Highway 19 South. The vehicle was tracked down to an apartment complex on Gibson Road, where it had been abandoned. The men took off in a second vehicle.
According to witnesses recording comments on social media, the vehicle crossed the loop by the hospital and ran through a stop sign on Mill Run, while being pursued and never checked up. “They almost hit my fiancé and another vehicle,” Steve Sparks wrote. “They were probably doing about 80, I’m thankful no one was hurt or killed. No regards for anyone else.”
Sheriff Hillhouse said he is relentless. “We don’t give up. If someone tries to steal here and we get a call, I’ll put everyone at my disposal on the case right then and there,” he stated in a press release.
The vehicle was finally stopped on County Road 4600. The younger Wilcox is being held on bonds totaling $60,000. His father is being held on a $50,000 bond.
At press time, word from the Sheriff was he and his deputies were involved in another vehicular pursuit Wednesday morning.

Mar

16

Posted by : admin | On : March 16, 2017

Decomposing deer

By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–Texas Game Wardens worked a gruesome site recently in Log Cabin. About two dozen carcasses of white-tailed deer and remains of alligators have been cleared from property in the vicinity of a tannery and taxidermist in the Cedar Creek Lake area.
On March 10, The Texas Wardens Facebook Page posted several photos and a brief report of the spoilage of white-tailed deer lying on the ground, rotting, some covered in flies, others dried up as if been there for a long period of time; horns, capes and alligator skulls.
Game Wardens filed 24 cases of Waste of Game, a Class C misdemeanor, with Justice of the Peace Tommy Barnett. Due to the case being under active investigation, the JP5 Office declined to release the name of the taxidermist.
The post reports game wardens had received several calls. One of those calls came from recently installed Log Cabin Police Chief Todd Tucker.
“We discovered it while conducting an unrelated investigation of our own,” he said. Tucker said he made the call a couple of weeks ago.
The post states that game wardens arriving on the scene initially found 19 deer lying in the violator’s yard. It adds that the walk-in cooler had been removed from the property and sold.
The taxidermist told The News that only two deer were actually on his property and that there is much more to the story than the post on the Game Warden’s Facebook page. He plans to press charges for defamation, he said, adding he had filed a report of vandalism of his property.
Though there are more than 300 comments to the Facebook post, none of them named the taxidermist involved.
Game wardens report a total of 24 deer in a condition no longer safe for human consumption.
It reports numerous record book violations and states DNA analysis will be a part of their findings.
Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said he had been asked to investigate a possible burglary at the property, however the few leads he had didn’t pan out.
Waste of Game is an offense (Class C misdemeanor) if a person while hunting kills or wounds a game bird or game animal and intentionally or knowingly fails to make a reasonable effort to retrieve the animal or bird and include it in the person’s daily or seasonal bag limit. It is an offense if a person intentionally takes or possesses a game bird, game animal, or fish and intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly, or with criminal negligence, fails to keep the edible portions of the bird, animal, or fish in an edible condition.

Mar

09

Posted by : admin | On : March 9, 2017

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Three vehicles were reported stolen Monday morning in a three-hour period according to Athens Police Department reports.
Beginning at 7:30 a.m. Monday morning, the calls started rolling in to Athens Police. Officer James Graham took the first report involving a missing 2004 Dodge truck from an apartment complex in the 2100 block of East Tyler St.
The second call, coming in a few minutes later, concerned a 2006 Ford F-250 missing from a residence in the 200 block of La Jolla St. The third theft, reported around 10 a.m. involved a 2014 Buick apparently taken during the night from the 900 block of East Corsicana St.
The F-250 is reported to have been recovered in Dallas.
All three thefts are currently under investigation by the Criminal Investigations Department and may be related. No arrests had been made as of press time.

Mar

09

Posted by : admin | On : March 9, 2017

worked up mugshots Ronnie Waters

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Ronnie Waters


The News Staff Reports
ATHENS—Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse reports the arrest of four suspects involving auto theft and drug warrant charges.
Ronnie Waters, 53, was arrested at an address on State Highway 274, where a backhoe and trailer that were reported stolen were discovered. He was also found to be in possession of methamphetamines. The state jail felonies are punishable up to two years in prison and a $10,000 find.
In similar action, narcotics investigator Brad Beddingfield and deputy Kyle Pochobradsky arrived at a residence on CR 1504 to serve an outstanding felony arrest warrant for Brunswick Jones, 45, wanted for manufacturing and delivering controlled substances. During the arrest, more narcotics was located in the home under search warrant. While officers were there, two men arrived. Both were in possession of illegal drugs and were taken in. They are Michael Barker, 35 and James Sockwell, 36. Sockwell was charged with possession of meth, and both men were also charged with possession of marijuana.
“It was a busy day for our team.” Hillhouse said. “Thanks to the alert, careful and persistent work of these deputies and the growing cooperation from the community, we are making a difference.”

Feb

09

Posted by : admin | On : February 9, 2017

Farmer, Amber
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

Feb

02

Posted by : admin | On : February 2, 2017

Mikael Johnson
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.

Jan

26

Posted by : admin | On : January 26, 2017

worked up photos mugshots Jason Donnell

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Jason Donnell


worked up photos mugshots Elisha Jones

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Elisha Jones


worked up photos mugshots Stephen Roberts

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Stephen Roberts

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.”

Dec

29

Posted by : admin | On : December 29, 2016

brunzwick-jones

worked up photos mugshots Laquntia Jones

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Laquntia Jones

worked up photo mugshots Brunzwick Jones

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Brunzwick Jones


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.