Texas Front Page News Stories 1 to 10 of 4364  
4/17/2014
Man executed for killing 3 members of Texas family
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) - A man convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend, her young son and her mother 13 years ago at a Corpus Christi home has been executed by Texas prison authorities. Jose Villegas was lethally injected Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments he was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty. The 39-year-old was pronounced dead at 7:04 p.m. CDT, 11 minutes after being given a lethal dose of pentobarbital. He was put to death for fatally stabbing Erida Salazar, her 3-year-old son Jacob and her 51-year-old mother Alma Perez in January 2001. He became the seventh Texas inmate executed this year, and the third put to death with a new stock of pentobarbital from a provider corrections officials won't identify. Texas is the nation's most active death penalty state.
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4/17/2014
NY-based Texas soldier dies from combat wounds
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) - Military officials say a soldier from Texas based at Fort Drum in northern New York has died from injuries suffered in an attack in Afghanistan last weekend. The 10th Mountain Division says 27-year-old Spc. Kerry Danyluk of Cuero, Texas died Tuesday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Officials say he was wounded Saturday when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire in Afghanistan's Logar province. Danyluk was an infantryman assigned to the division's 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Danyluk joined the Army in October 2010. He trained at Fort Benning in Georgia and was based at the Army post until arriving at Fort Drum in March 2013. He started his second Afghanistan deployment last November. Danyluk is survived by his mother and father.
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4/17/2014
High court refuses to stop execution in Texas
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to halt the scheduled execution of a man convicted of killing three members of a Corpus Christi family. The high court, on a 5-4 vote, rejected arguments from attorneys for Jose Villegas who said the 39-year-old is mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty. The ruling came Wednesday about 30 minutes after a six-hour window opened for Villegas' lethal injection for the fatal stabbings 13 years ago of his ex-girlfriend, her 3-year-old son and her mother. Villegas' lawyers contended testing in February showed he had an IQ of 59, below the IQ of 70 that courts have embraced as a threshold for mental impairment. State attorneys disputed the test result and called it a late attempt to delay the punishment.
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4/17/2014
Cruz makes just 2nd border visit as US senator
HARLINGEN, Texas (AP) - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is making just his second visit to the 1,200-mile Texas-Mexico border since taking office nearly 16 months ago. The tea party favorite is addressing the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce Thursday before heading to Laredo for a roundtable with Mayor Raul Salinas. Cruz last visited the border in September for three events in McAllen and Mission. He's frequently mentioned as a possible 2016 White House hopeful. But Cruz had been criticized in Democratic circles for visiting Iowa, which kicks off presidential voting, four times while only coming to the Texas-Mexico border once. Last year, a Cruz proposal to triple the number of border patrol agents and quadruple the equipment used along the U.S.-Mexico border, including drones and helicopters, didn't make it to a Senate floor vote.
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4/17/2014
New program eases wait times at South Texas border
MISSION, Texas (AP) - South Texas border officials are relying on a new program to reduce the amount of time travelers must wait before entering the U.S. It's not unusual to wait as long as four hours to pass through security checkpoints at the Hidalgo-Reynosa, Anzalduas and other border crossings. Motorists waited that long Wednesday but The Monitor newspaper reports local authorities submitted an emergency request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for extra personnel. Such a request is now possible with the launch last August of an initiative allowing public and private partnerships to pay for additional personnel when needed. A recent request for more staffing over five days will cost approximately $25,000. Local governments along with groups like the McAllen Chamber of Commerce cover the cost.
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4/16/2014
East Texas man killed at home week before trial
HALLSVILLE, Texas (AP) - Police in East Texas are investigating the shooting death of a man one week before he was to go on trial for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Investigators in Harrison County tell the Longview News-Journal that 51-year-old Marc Mathison was fatally shot twice at his home at about 8 a.m. Tuesday. He was pronounced dead an hour later. Harrison County Administrative Investigator Jay Webb said a woman called for an ambulance and later admitted shooting Mathison. She had not been arrested as of Monday night. Mathison was set to go on trial later this month in connection with a 2012 incident in which he allegedly shot a shotgun in the air and threatened another person. The shooting took place in Hallsville, about 130 miles east of Dallas.
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4/16/2014
Houston schools ditch 'Indians,' other mascots
Four Houston schools are saying goodbye to the Indians, Redskins, Rebels and Warriors. The Houston Chronicle reports that a new district policy bans mascot names that reference cultural stereotypes. The Hamilton Middle School Indians and the Westbury High School Rebels are now both Huskies. The Lamar High School Redskins are now the Texans, and the Welch Middle School Warriors are now the Wolf Pack. They will spend up to $250,000 on new uniforms and building logos. One Hamilton eighth-grader told the newspaper that he liked the change, even though he voted for the "Honey Badgers." Schools and universities across the United States have faced pressure to shelve names that are potentially offensive to American Indians and other groups.
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4/16/2014
Executive cleared in Dallas slaughterhouse case
DALLAS (AP) - Dallas prosecutors have dropped charges against one of two executives of a local slaughterhouse they accused of dumping pig's blood into a creek along the Trinity River. The Dallas Morning News reports that charges against Columbia Packing Company vice president Rusty Ondrusek were dismissed Tuesday. Prosecutors said in a court filing that they wanted the case against Ondrusek dismissed, but would not specify why. Columbia Packing and another vice president, Carl Ondrusek, still face charges. The packing company was accused of dumping industrial waste into the creek and tampering with evidence. Prosecutors have said that investigators from several agencies saw blood and other waste from pigs being dumped into Cedar Creek. Columbia officials have admitted that their plant spilled contaminants, but only by accident.
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4/16/2014
Obama seeks inmates worthy of commutation power
President Barack Obama is looking for convicts worthy of his rarely used power to commute sentences. Obama has directed the Justice Department to improve its clemency recommendation process and recruit more applications from convicts. White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler says Obama believes it is important to help correct the effects of outdated and overly harsh sentences that Congress and the American people recognize are no longer in the best interests of justice. Obama recently reduced the prison time for a man facing longer time behind bars because of a typographical error. Ruemmler says the commutation of Ceasar Cantu's sentence from 15 to 111/2 years demonstrates the importance of clemency as a fail-safe mechanism for those who have run out of other options.
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4/16/2014
Condemned killer of 3 in Corpus Christi set to die
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) - Attorneys for a convicted killer of three members of a Corpus Christi family say they'll ask the U.S. Supreme Court to delay his scheduled execution in Huntsville. Jose Villegas (vee-AY'-gus) is set for lethal injection Wednesday evening, but his attorneys contend new evidence shows he's mentally impaired and ineligible to be put to death. Their request for more time to investigate the claim already has been rejected by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The 38-year-old Villegas faces execution for the January 2001 slayings of ex-girlfriend Erida Salazar, her 3-year-old son Jacob and her 51-year-old mother Alma Perez. All were stabbed repeatedly. When arrested, he was driving Salazar's stolen car and had pawned a television stolen from the Perez home for $75. He had used the money to buy cocaine.
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