KRISTV.com http://www.kristv.com/ KRISTV.com State News State News en-us Copyright 2014, KRISTV.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:08:06 GMT Synapse CMS 10 KRISTV.com http://www.kristv.com/ 144 25 Fatal Police Shooting, 2 People Dead http://www.kristv.com/news/fatal-police-shooting-2-people-dead/ http://www.kristv.com/news/fatal-police-shooting-2-people-dead/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 4:39:29 AM Fatal Police Shooting, 2 People Dead

DALLAS - A Dallas Police officer shot and killed a suspect who it is believed killed another man in a Walmart parking lot in North Dallas early Wednesday morning.

The off-duty officer working security at the Walmart heard commotion at a gas station outside the Walmart.

He saw one man gun down another man inside of a car. The officer chased the suspect to a Denny's parking lot and confronted him before opening fire, killing him.

The officer was not hurt and names and motives of the victims is not known at this time.

 


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Crazy Cat Rampage http://www.kristv.com/news/crazy-cat-rampage/ http://www.kristv.com/news/crazy-cat-rampage/ State News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 3:50:52 AM Crazy Cat Rampage

(KPRC) A Houston, Texas man says a neighborhood cat attacked him Monday morning as he was walking his dogs.

"The cat jumped off the fence and ran towards the dogs and myself," said David, a resident of Houston Heights who did not want to give his last name. "I tried to get in the way to try and protect the dogs and the cat latched on to my leg and scratched."

He's not the only one to have a run-in with the ferocious feline.

"We were walking across the street and we saw this cat and it just launched off the porch and came running at us," Keri Smith said, describing the time it came after her while she was walking her German Shepherd. "He probably chased us about a half a block."

Read more: http://bit.ly/1BYMHml

 


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Judge Proposes Astrodome Become Large Indoor Park http://www.kristv.com/news/judge-proposes-astrodome-become-large-indoor-park/ http://www.kristv.com/news/judge-proposes-astrodome-become-large-indoor-park/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 5:37:46 PM Judge Proposes Astrodome Become Large Indoor Park

HOUSTON (AP) - The newest proposal for repurposing the Houston Astrodome and saving it from demolition envisions turning the now-empty stadium into the world's largest indoor park.

The pitch comes from Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, the county's top elected official. He revealed his idea at a news conference Tuesday on the floor of the 49-year-old county-owned building.

Emmett said his idea would include spaces for festivals and other gatherings, as well as hiking, biking and fitness trails on the stadium's upper levels. He had no cost estimate or firm plan for its funding, though he suggested creating private-public partnerships to pay for it.

The Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo have been eager to demolish the iconic but derelict dome that's next to the new NRG Stadium.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Man Accused of Deliberately Ruining Bugatti to Collect Insurance http://www.kristv.com/news/man-accused-of-deliberately-ruining-bugatti-to-collect-insurance/ http://www.kristv.com/news/man-accused-of-deliberately-ruining-bugatti-to-collect-insurance/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 3:43:16 PM Man Accused of Deliberately Ruining Bugatti to Collect Insurance

BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) - Federal authorities say an East Texas man has admitted to deliberately driving his $1 million car into Gulf waters so that he could collect insurance on the vehicle.

Authorities announced Tuesday that 39-year-old Andy Lee House of Lufkin has pleaded guilty to wire mail fraud.

They say he purchased a Bugatti Veyron and had it insured for $2.2 million. The elegant vehicle is considered one of the fastest in the world.

Authorities say House initially claimed in November 2009 that he was reaching for his cell phone when the vehicle swerved into water near Galveston. The salt water flooded the engine, ruining the Bugatti.

But a motorist videotaped the incident, allowing investigators to note discrepancies in House's account.

His sentencing has not been scheduled. He faces up to 20 years.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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20 Injured in Houston School Bus Crash http://www.kristv.com/news/20-injured-in-houston-school-bus-crash/ http://www.kristv.com/news/20-injured-in-houston-school-bus-crash/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 1:38:32 PM 20 Injured in Houston School Bus Crash

HOUSTON (AP) - Nearly two-dozen passengers of a school bus were hurt when the bus veered off a Houston road and struck a tree.

Houston fire officials say the 20 people taken to hospitals for treatment Tuesday morning appeared to suffer minor injuries. There were 28 people on the private school bus. Nearly all appeared to be students en route to school but authorities did not immediately confirm the ages of those involved. The driver was among those transported for treatment.

The front of the bus was crumpled after coming to rest against the tree along the side of a road. Some on the bus were seen being placed on stretchers.

No other information was immediately available.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Blade From Power Saw Impales Worker in Chest http://www.kristv.com/news/blade-from-power-saw-impales-worker-in-chest/ http://www.kristv.com/news/blade-from-power-saw-impales-worker-in-chest/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 4:39:15 AM Blade From Power Saw Impales Worker in Chest

HOUSTON (AP) - A Houston construction worker has been hospitalized after he was impaled in the chest by a circular blade that became detached from a power saw.

Houston fire spokesman Kenyatta Parker says the man was still conscious Monday morning when he was transported to a hospital with at least part of the blade still embedded in his body.

Parker says firefighters responded to an emergency call that a man had been hurt while working atop a building near The Galleria, a popular shopping center.

Parker says the unidentified man was using a saw that construction workers often use to cut through metal or concrete. He says such a blade can become dislodged if it is not tightly secured while cutting a hard material.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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US Judge Rules on Anchored Tanker near Galveston http://www.kristv.com/news/us-judge-rules-on-anchored-tanker-near-galveston/ http://www.kristv.com/news/us-judge-rules-on-anchored-tanker-near-galveston/ State News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 4:33:59 AM US Judge Rules on Anchored Tanker near Galveston

HOUSTON (AP) - A federal judge has rejected an order for U.S. marshals to seize and turn over to Iraq crude oil from a tanker anchored off of Galveston.

The Houston Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/1mLAh7G ) Judge Gray Miller ruled in favor of the Kurdistan Regional Government on Monday. He says the U.S. lacks the authority to seize the oil because Kurdistan's ownership dispute with Iraq involves the location where the oil was pumped, not the coastal waters.

The tanker has been near Galveston for nearly a month. It carries about 1 million barrels of oil produced in the semiautonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan.

The Kurdish and Iraqi governments both claim ownership. Iraq has sued to stop the cargo from being offloaded in the U.S.

Iraq has 10 days to file an amended complaint.

___

Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Houston Gangs Extend Turf to Suburbs http://www.kristv.com/news/houston-gangs-extend-turf-to-suburbs/ http://www.kristv.com/news/houston-gangs-extend-turf-to-suburbs/ State News Mon, 25 Aug 2014 3:29:12 AM Houston Gangs Extend Turf to Suburbs

HOUSTON (AP) - Law enforcement officials say that as gang members in Houston extend their turf to surrounding suburbs, officials in those areas are developing their own strategies for countering them.

Texas' public safety director, Steven McCraw, has warned that "gang violence and crime are a chief threat to public safety in Texas." A state report this year found that gang membership across Texas may exceed 100,000 individuals, with a high concentration in the Houston area.

Authorities say the Houston-area gangs are migrating to the suburbs because they think they won't be recognized there. Detective Jennifer Kiser, Fort Bend County's gang expert, tells the Houston Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1AL6TGX ) that also, Houston and Harris County have the tactical experience and resources to aggressively combat the gangs, driving them into the suburbs.

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Pilot Killed in Travis County Plane Crash http://www.kristv.com/news/pilot-killed-in-travis-county-plane-crash/ http://www.kristv.com/news/pilot-killed-in-travis-county-plane-crash/ State News Mon, 25 Aug 2014 3:32:46 AM Pilot Killed in Travis County Plane Crash

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The pilot of a single-engine plane was killed in a crash into a field in Central Texas that ignited a brush fire.

The Austin American-Statesman (http://bit.ly/1qdeuKA ) reports that the plane crashed Saturday and ignited a brush fire that scorched 7 acres in northwest Travis County before firefighters extinguished it.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash.

The plane was an American Champion 7-GCBC, a fixed-gear plane built in 2001 that was issued a new flight certificate in January.

Board spokesman Keith Holloway told the newspaper the investigator should have a preliminary report within five to 10 days, though a complete report takes between 12 and 18 months.

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Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Gov. Perry's Team to Ask Judge to Dismiss Case http://www.kristv.com/news/gov-perry-s-team-to-ask-judge-to-dismiss-case/ http://www.kristv.com/news/gov-perry-s-team-to-ask-judge-to-dismiss-case/ State News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 2:22:12 PM Gov. Perry's Team to Ask Judge to Dismiss Case

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - An attorney for Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday that he will ask a judge to dismiss criminal charges alleging that the possible 2016 presidential candidate abused his power with a veto last summer.

Those intentions are unsurprising given that Perry has emphatically rejected two felony indictments handed up by a grand jury in Austin last week. He has pleaded not guilty and called the charges a political ploy.

Perry was in New Hampshire on Friday while his criminal attorney and the special prosecutor in the case met with Republican Judge Bert Richardson in chambers for nearly an hour in Austin. The judge gave Perry's team a week to file their motions.

"It will speak for itself, but it is based on the governor's veto power, separation of powers in the Texas Constitution, First Amendment rights and the speech and debate clause," said David Botsford, Perry's attorney.

Michael McCrum, the special prosecutor, said he remained confident in the charges.

Perry is accused of leveraging his veto power to try to oust a Democratic district attorney whose office oversees the state's Public Integrity Unit. Perry cut off $7.5 million in state funds to the unit - which prosecutes public corruption in Texas - when Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign following a drunken driving arrest.

He is charged with abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. If convicted on the two felony charges, Perry could face a maximum 109 years in prison.

___

Follow Paul J. Weber on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pauljweber

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Ex-Teacher Sentenced in Fatal Hit and Run of Boy http://www.kristv.com/news/ex-teacher-sentenced-in-fatal-hit-and-run-of-boy/ http://www.kristv.com/news/ex-teacher-sentenced-in-fatal-hit-and-run-of-boy/ State News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 2:21:24 PM Associated Press Ex-Teacher Sentenced in Fatal Hit and Run of Boy

DALLAS (AP) - A 54-year-old former suburban Dallas teacher has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the hit-and-run death of a 6-year-old boy last year.

A Dallas County jury Friday imposed concurrent sentences against Tammy Lowe of 10 years for manslaughter and eight years for failing to stop and render aid to John Paul Raidy. She was convicted Thursday of the manslaughter count and earlier pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to render aid.

Prosecutors say Lowe in January 2013 ran a red light in Grand Prairie and struck the boy as he walked with his mother and baby sister to a store to get candy.

Defense attorneys had argued prosecutors didn't prove their case against Lowe and that a lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide was more appropriate.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Coast Guard Medevacs Man from Tanker Who Was Struck By Snapped Cable http://www.kristv.com/news/coast-guard-medevacs-man-from-tanker-who-was-struck-by-snapped-cable/ http://www.kristv.com/news/coast-guard-medevacs-man-from-tanker-who-was-struck-by-snapped-cable/ State News Thu, 21 Aug 2014 3:48:53 AM Coast Guard Medevacs Man from Tanker Who Was Struck By Snapped Cable

HOUSTON - A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew medevaced a 32-year-old crewmember off an Italian-flagged tanker Wednesday, after he suffered an injury from a snapped fender wire that struck his chest 38 miles off Galveston, Texas.

At 4:20 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a distress call from the captain of the 800-foot ship, Giovanni Battista De Carlini, stating that one of his crewmembers suffered an impact injury after the fender wire he was checking snapped and struck his chest. Watchstanders dispatched an Air Station Houston crew aboard a MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter to respond.

The helicopter crew lowered their rescue swimmer down to the tank ship to assess the man's condition and prepare him for a hoist. The helicopter crew then hoisted the man aboard the helicopter and transported him to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

"Due to the quick reporting from the captain of the tank ship we were able to launch an aircrew in the fastest manner possible," said Bill Segelken, the command duty officer at Sector Houston-Galveston.

The crewmember is being treated at UTMB and is reported to be in stable condition.

 


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Texas' Perry Smiles for Mug Shot, Gets Ice Cream http://www.kristv.com/news/texas-perry-smiles-for-mug-shot-gets-ice-cream/ http://www.kristv.com/news/texas-perry-smiles-for-mug-shot-gets-ice-cream/ State News Wed, 20 Aug 2014 6:58:59 AM Texas' Perry Smiles for Mug Shot, Gets Ice Cream

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry is pressing forward after a criminal indictment with a smiling mug shot and an ice cream run.

The potential 2016 presidential candidate will now lean on his high-powered legal team to try to quickly extinguish two felony charges. Perry was booked and fingerprinted Tuesday at the same Travis County courthouse where a grand jury indicted him last week.

The longest-serving governor in Texas history has dismissed the case as a political ploy. He's planning to maintain a busy travel schedule of courting GOP voters, and even splurged for a vanilla ice cream cone after being booked.

An arraignment is set for Friday, but Perry doesn't have to attend.

Perry is accused of abusing his power after vetoing state funds for public corruption prosecutors last year.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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San Antonio Suburb Plans to Eliminate Property Tax http://www.kristv.com/news/san-antonio-suburb-plans-to-eliminate-property-tax/ http://www.kristv.com/news/san-antonio-suburb-plans-to-eliminate-property-tax/ State News Wed, 20 Aug 2014 6:04:19 AM San Antonio Suburb Plans to Eliminate Property Tax

VON ORMY, Texas (AP) - The mayor of a recently created San Antonio suburb wants to abolish a city property tax because of booming truck stop and online shopping sales.

The San Antonio Express-News reports (http://bit.ly/1lgB7OB ) Von Ormy mayor Art Martinez de Vara will ask the council to eliminate the levy in 2015. He says the city can instead rely on soaring sales tax revenues.

The city was incorporated in 2008. Its property tax has been lowered gradually in part due to the nearby Eagle Ford Shale. Residents on average would save about $150 per year with the elimination.

Residents would still be required to pay property taxes to the county as well as school, college and hospital districts.

Martinez de Vara says officials could reinstate the property tax if other revenues decrease.

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Information from: San Antonio Express-News, http://www.mysanantonio.com

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Texas Energy Company Warns of Potential Scammers http://www.kristv.com/news/texas-energy-company-warns-of-potential-scammers/ http://www.kristv.com/news/texas-energy-company-warns-of-potential-scammers/ State News Wed, 20 Aug 2014 5:59:42 AM Texas Energy Company Warns of Potential Scammers

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - CPS Energy is warning Texans to watch out for scammers after 100 rain jackets with company logos were stolen from a warehouse.

The company reported Tuesday night that the jackets, tools, clothing and other items were taken from an apparel vendor. CPS Energy is offering a $2,500 reward for the return of the jackets.

The natural gas and electric company services more than 1 million customers in the greater San Antonio area.

The company warns of scam artists who demand money from commercial and residential customers. It says thieves will threaten to cut service or ask for payment to install a smart meter.

CPS Energy says its employees always wear a badge with a photo and employee number.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Texas Gov. Perry Arrives for Booking on Abuse of Power Charges http://www.kristv.com/news/texas-gov-perry-arrives-for-booking-on-abuse-of-power-charges/ http://www.kristv.com/news/texas-gov-perry-arrives-for-booking-on-abuse-of-power-charges/ State News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 5:02:48 PM Texas Gov. Perry Arrives for Booking on Abuse of Power Charges

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry arrived at a county courthouse Tuesday to be booked on felony charges that accuse him of abusing his power by carrying out a threat to veto funding to state public corruption prosecutors.

The Republican has dismissed the case as a political ploy, and he has laughed off concerns that it could be potentially unflattering as he strongly considers a second presidential run in 2016. Many top national conservatives have lined up to support him, including some potential future White House rivals.

The longest-serving governor in Texas history was indicted last week for coercion and official oppression for publicly promising to veto $7.5 million for the state public integrity unit, which investigates wrongdoing by elected officials and is run by the Travis County district attorney's office. Perry threatened the veto if the county's Democratic district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, stayed in office after a drunken driving conviction.

Lehmberg refused to resign and Perry carried out the veto, drawing an ethics complaint from a left-leaning government watchdog group.

Perry was indicted on two felony counts by a grand jury in Austin, a liberal bastion in otherwise fiercely conservative Texas.

But he isn't letting the case keep him from a packed travel schedule that will take him to the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina over the next two weeks. After his 2012 presidential campaign flamed out, the Republican opted not to seek re-election as governor in November - leaving him more time to focus on rehabilitating his image nationally.

If convicted on both counts, Perry could face a maximum 109 years in prison - though legal experts across the political spectrum have said the case against him may be a tough sell to a jury. No one disputes that Perry has the right to veto any measures passed by the state Legislature, including any parts of the state budget.

But the complaint against Perry alleges that by publicly threatening a veto and trying to force Lehmberg to resign, he coerced her. The Republican judge assigned to the case has assigned a San Antonio-based special prosecutor who insists the case is stronger than it may outwardly appear.

Perry has hired a team of high-powered attorneys, who are being paid with state funds to defend him.

Perry is the first Texas governor to be indicted since 1917. Top Republicans have been especially quick to defend him, though, since a jail video following Lehmberg's April 2013 arrest showed the district attorney badly slurring her words, shouting at staffers to call the sheriff, kicking the door of her cell, and sticking her tongue out. Her blood alcohol level was also three times the legal limit for driving.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Prosecutor Argues Angry Father Executed Drunk Driver http://www.kristv.com/news/prosecutor-argues-angry-father-executed-drunk-driver/ http://www.kristv.com/news/prosecutor-argues-angry-father-executed-drunk-driver/ State News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:05:27 PM Associated Press Prosecutor Argues Angry Father Executed Drunk Driver

ANGLETON, Texas (AP) - A drunk driver did not deserve "public execution" by a father accused of taking the law into his own hands in a fit of rage over the killing of his two sons in a wreck, a prosecutor told jurors on Monday.

David Barajas is accused of fatally shooting Jose Banda in December 2012 minutes after Banda plowed into a vehicle that Barajas and his two sons had been pushing on a rural road. Twelve-year-old David Jr. died at the scene and 11-year-old Caleb died at a hospital.

In opening arguments Tuesday in Barajas' murder trial, prosecutor Brian Hrach told jurors that Banda made a horrible decision by drinking and driving, but he did not "deserve a public execution." Barajas is accused of leaving the scene of the accident, retrieving and returning to kill Banda.

Sam Cammack, Barajas' attorney, told jurors that his client did not kill Banda, and that the father never left the accident scene. Barajas was covered with his sons' blood after he had tried to perform CPR on the boys, the defense attorney said.

"When police get there my client is doing what he was doing the whole time, trying to save his children's lives," Cammack said.

Legal experts said the case will be difficult to prosecute given the lack of hard evidence: no weapon was recovered, no witnesses identified Barajas as the shooter and gunshot residue tests done on Barajas came back negative.

An even greater challenge for prosecutors could be overcoming sympathy in the community for the father. Many people in the town of Alvin where the tragedy occurred, 30 miles southeast of Houston, have supported Barajas. Some have said they might have done the same thing in a similar situation.

Hrach tried to minimize the absence of a murder weapon, saying that a bullet fragment from a .357 caliber weapon was found at the murder scene and that an open box with .357 caliber ammunition was found in Barajas' home.

The home security system at Barajas' house with cameras that would have shown the accident scene had been disabled, the prosecutor said.

Witnesses will testify that they saw Barajas leave the scene and then come back and approach Banda's vehicle, going up against the car, appearing to be hiding something, Hrach said.

Barajas' blood was found on the armrest and dashboard of Banda's car, Hrach said.

But Cammack tried to cast doubt on prosecutors' claims that Barajas was responsible by telling jurors that evidence will show that there was a group of people who gathered around Banda's driver side window after the accident.

Cammack also said that after a gunshot was fired, a witness saw a white vehicle with people in it pull into the middle of the scene and then leave.

If convicted, Barajas faces up to life in prison.

At least 25 family members and friends of Barajas were in the courtroom, wearing buttons that said, "Forever in our hearts, David and Caleb Barajas" and with a picture of the two boys. At least 20 relatives and friends of Banda were also in the courtroom.

Before opening statements, Judge Terri Holder asked that family members take off the buttons, saying she did not want anything to influence the jury.

"This is a difficult case for everyone involved. Everyone in here has lost somebody they loved," she said.

___

Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter at www.twitter.com/juanlozano70

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Man Killed By 3,500 Pound Sand Bag http://www.kristv.com/news/man-killed-by-3-500-pound-sand-bag/ http://www.kristv.com/news/man-killed-by-3-500-pound-sand-bag/ State News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 4:16:30 AM Man Killed By 3,500 Pound Sand Bag

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Fire officials say a man has died after a 3,500-pound bag of sand fell on him at a San Antonio warehouse.

San Antonio Fire Department spokesman Christian Bove says the accident happened Monday morning and the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was spotting for a forklift driver when the bag fell from an unspecified location and height. The sand is used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Authorities say the man was in his early 60s. He hasn't been identified. He worked for Chalk Mountain Services, an oilfield transportation company leasing space in the building.

The San Antonio Police Department is investigating what caused the bag to fall.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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Cigarette Sparks Blast http://www.kristv.com/news/cigarette-sparks-blast/ http://www.kristv.com/news/cigarette-sparks-blast/ State News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 3:58:07 AM Cigarette Sparks Blast

(KPRC) A Texas man was injured Monday morning when the garage of his Harris County home exploded.

The explosion happened in the 15100 block of Stonewick near Gladeridge Drive in Spring.

According to authorities, the homeowner went outside to smoke a cigarette around 6:49 a.m., and once he lit his lighter, the garage blew up.

The explosion blew the door off the garage and flames started to creep up the side of the house. The man rushed upstairs to get his wife, who was sleeping, then went back outside to try and remove his car from the driveway. He also went back inside the burning home to try and rescue his cat.

Read more: http://bit.ly/1sPMMGh

 


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Militias Complicate Situation on Texas Border http://www.kristv.com/news/militias-complicate-situation-on-texas-border/ http://www.kristv.com/news/militias-complicate-situation-on-texas-border/ State News Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:59:48 PM Associated Press Militias Complicate Situation on Texas Border

MISSION, Texas (AP) - On a recent moonlit night, Border Patrol agents began rounding up eight immigrants hiding in and around a canal near the Rio Grande. A state trooper soon arrived to help. Then out of the darkness emerged seven more armed men in fatigues.

Agents assumed the camouflaged crew that joined in pulling the immigrants from the canal's milky green waters was a tactical unit from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Only later did they learn that the men belonged to the Texas Militia, a group that dresses like a SWAT team and carries weapons but has no law-enforcement training or authority of any kind.

The situation ended peacefully with the immigrants getting arrested and the Border Patrol advising the militia members "to properly and promptly" identify themselves anytime they encounter law-enforcement officers. But the episode was unsettling enough for the Border Patrol to circulate an "issue paper" warning other agents.

The presence of armed militia members working on their own in a region known for human smuggling, drug smuggling and illegal immigration has added one more variable to an already complex and tense situation.

Although the Aug. 6 incident in Mission resulted in no harm, it's not hard to imagine deadlier outcomes throughout the Rio Grande Valley, a wide area patrolled by more than 3,000 border agents, as well as hundreds of state troopers, game wardens, deputies and local police officers. Gov. Rick Perry is also sending as many as 1,000 National Guard troops.

"How do they identify themselves? Do they have badges? How do we know who they are?" asked J.P. Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office. "If they're all just dressed in camos, it's kind of hard to distinguish whether they're law enforcement or not. ... There's a lot of potential for stuff to go wrong."

One year ago, a member of an Arizona Minuteman border-watch group was arrested for pointing a rifle at a sheriff's deputy he apparently mistook for a drug smuggler. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio warned of "chaos if you're going to have private citizens dressed just like our deputies taking the law into their own hands."

If militia members aren't careful in their dealings with real law officers, "there could be some dead militia out there," he added.

The Border Patrol declined to comment on the encounter in Mission, referring questions to a general statement on militias released last month by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

That statement said the agency "does not endorse or support any private group or organization from taking matters into their own hands as it could have disastrous personal and public safety consequences."

The militia members who surprised the Border Patrol that night told agents they wanted to help with the "border crisis" and that they supported the agency's efforts, according to a copy of the issue paper obtained by The Associated Press.

Emails sent to a website for the Texas Militia were not answered.

The spot where the incident happened is a popular smuggling corridor where a thumb of Mexican farmland pushes a deep pocket into South Texas. The canal, an earthen channel that delivers water to the city of Mission, is 6 to 8 feet deep. Immigrants who emerge from the canal have only to cross a single sorghum field to reach a road.

A surge of illegal immigration put renewed attention on the border this summer. About 63,000 unaccompanied child immigrants were arrested between October and July, the vast majority of them in South Texas. Some militia and self-described "patriot" groups responded with a call to seal the border.

Barbie Rogers, founder of the Patriots Information Hotline, said at last count there were 13 such teams on the Texas border. If they are each similar in size to the one that showed up in Mission, that would be fewer than 100 people operating on the 1,255-mile Texas border.

Rogers uses a website and hotline to coordinate donations and supply lines to militia groups in the field. Asked how many people that amounted to, she said, "I couldn't tell you that because it could compromise their security."

She said the teams she knows keep sheriffs' offices and the Border Patrol apprised of their activity. Asked about the Texas Militia members appearing in Mission without identifying themselves, Rogers said, "They should have. I can't imagine that they didn't."

The teams, she said, try to advise the Border Patrol as soon as they spot illegal activity.

They will detain people until authorities arrive, although Rogers acknowledged they have no authority to hold anyone.

"Usually the people coming across are so scared they just sit there and wait," she said.

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Follow Christopher Sherman on Twitter at https://twitter.com/chrisshermanAP

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


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