Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No women may drive!

She probably couldn't see out of her abaya and niqab (veil).

Its real bad on your peripheral vision.

Saudi woman driver hurt after defying ban

A young woman in Saudi Arabia who defied ultra-conservative kingdom's ban on women driving was injured when the car span out of control and plunged into a stream, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The unnamed woman in her 20s "stole" her brother's car on Sunday, picked up a female friend and drove at high speed through a town in the Eastern Province before losing control of the vehicle, Al-Riyadh said.

The car hit an electricity pole and plunged into an irrigation channel. Both the driver and her friend were taken to hospital in serious condition, the paper said.

There have been several incidents reported in recent years of women being killed in accidents when they were driving in defiance of the ban -- which is just one of a host of restrictions imposed on women in Saudi Arabia.

Women's rights campaigners have petitioned King Abdullah twice in the past year urging him to lift the ban.

Women in the Muslim Gulf kingdom are legally obliged to cover up from head to toe in public, and cannot travel without written permission from a male guardian.

That's Chili not chilli no wonder he croaked

That was some hot chili, you bet.

Leave the chili making to the professionals.

Especially you folks in England. This is Texas, this is where chili was invented, heck ya'll can't even spell it right.

Chef dies after eating 'superhot' chilli for bet

An amateur chef died the day after eating a "superhot" chilli in a bet with his friend over who could make the hottest dish, an inquest heard.
By Jessica Salter: Telegraph.Co.UK

Andrew Lee was in perfect health before he ate a chilli
Andrew Lee, 33, suffered heart failure the morning after he ate the chilli.
Toxicology tests are now being carried out to see if the fork lift truck driver suffered a fatal reaction to the dish or whether anything else contributed to his death.

Mr Lee, of Edlington, Doncaster was apparently in perfect health and had just passed a medical at work, the opening of the Doncaster hearing was told.
Cooking was one of his main interests and he went to his girlfriend Samantha Bailey's house to make a chilli.

His father John Lee told the inquest: "He had a bet with Samantha's brother who could make the hottest chilli then went back to her house to stay."
Mother-of-four Miss Bailey called the emergency services to her home nine days ago.
Police officers were called to the house after receiving reports of a man suffering a cardiac arrest and Mr Lee was found lying on the floor.

Paramedics failed to revive him and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A full post-mortem examination is underway and further inquiries are being carried out.
Deputy Doncaster coroner Fred Curtis granted a burial order and adjourned the inquest for further evidence.

Streak ended

No murders in 10 years? Great record.

Too bad the streak ended.

Windcrest murder was first in 10 years
By Marvin Hurst KENS Eyewitness News - KENS

The Windcrest Police Department is investigating their first homicide in more than a decade.
According to Windcrest Police Chief Lori Harris, the department has a few leads in the slaying of Pedro Calderon.

Just after 10 p.m. Monday night, a gunman shot at a home in the 6000 block of Bayou Bend.
Five people including a child were inside at the time of the shooting, but Calderon, 52, was the only one shot and killed.

Calderon, who is from Mexico, was visiting relatives when six rounds came crashing in through this window. He was shot multiple times and investigators have not figured out why or if Calderon was the intended target.

Harris and her detectives say they have reports of a 4-door tan Dodge Stratus as the possible vehicle involved in this murder.

Time to move on

Well, its about dang time.

Back to raising strawberries instead of questions now.

Poteet City Council removes indicted mayor
Sara Inés Calderón - Express-News

POTEET — Hours after Lino Donato was released on bond from the Atascosa County Jail, the City Council took just 10 minutes to vote unanimously to oust the already convicted sex offender from the mayor's office.

Mayor Pro Tem Fred Catala becomes the acting mayor of Poteet, said City Attorney Frank Garza, and Catala presided over the speedy meeting in which the council declared Donato's seat vacant after he logged three consecutive absences.
The issue of a permanent replacement will be taken up at the council's next regular meeting Oct. 21. Catala said the council needed to “chew on it for a while.”

Garza said the council has several options. The mayor's office may remain vacant until municipal elections in May, or it may be filled by the mayor pro tem, another council member or an interested city resident, he said.

Earlier Monday, Donato was released on $200,000 bond after his arrest last week for the second time in two years on child sex charges. He did not attend the council meeting nor could he be reached by phone or at his place of business.

The most recent indictments allege that on Aug. 15, 2007, Donato touched a girl younger than 14 on her genitals and breasts, resulting in a first-degree felony charge of aggravated sexual assault and a second-degree felony charge of indecency with a child by contact.
Donato is also accused of kissing the girl two days later, and is charged with the third-degree felony of attempted indecency with a child by contact.

Donato's attorney, Gary Churak, is currently representing him in his appeal on the first set of charges. He said Donato maintains he is also innocent of the new charges.
The indictments are unrelated to charges Donato pleaded guilty to in October 2007 — two counts of indecency by exposure. He also pleaded no contest to one count of indecency by contact and accepted deferred adjudication and probation.

In addition to having to register as a sex offender, Donato was prohibited from going within 1,000 feet of places where children congregate. Consequently, he has been absent from City Council meetings since then; City Hall is within 1,000 feet of the city library.
Before Donato was arrested last week, Catala had said the council would consider removing him in September. Donato's term would have expired in May 2009.

Separately, District Attorney Rene Peña filed a petition in August asking a judge to remove Donato for failing to attend meetings and thus not performing his mayoral duties. Peña said the council's actions would not affect his pursuit of the mayor's removal or a trial on the new charges.
A pretrial hearing on the petition is scheduled for Nov. 17.

At the end of Monday's meeting, Councilman Allen Buck summed up the feelings of many residents who attended, saying the city is ready to move on from the controversy.
“It is time that the City of Poteet get off the radar scope as being highlighted with problems,” he said to the crowd's applause. “This is an outstanding city.”

Monday, September 29, 2008

Alzheimer's maybe?

Obviously someone here isn't too bright.

Or really has a bad memory when it comes to remembering faces.

Police: Clerk sold alcohol to same teen twice

By Elizabeth Dinan

PORTSMOUTH — Mere months after he was caught during a police sting selling beer to a minor, the same Seacoast Variety store clerk sold beer again to the same minor, say police.

The clerk, James Hudson, 64, of 314 Salmon Ave., is scheduled to appear in Portsmouth District Court Monday on a Class A misdemeanor charge of prohibited sales.

According to an affidavit by Lt. Rodney McQuate, an 18-year-old who was working with police went into the store on Aug. 29 and used a $20 bill marked by police to buy a six-pack of Heineken. The teen reported to police that the clerk, later identified as Hudson, did not ask to see any identification and sold him beer during a similar sting a few months earlier, according to court records.

McQuate's report says Hudson admitted he was caught selling beer to the same teen police volunteer on both occasions at the 1350 Woodbury Ave. store, and that a $20 bill in the store's cash register had the identifying marks placed there by police.


I guess he'll go back to do more of his "homework" when he gets out.

TV burglar locked up

A prolific burglar who studied crime shows on television to learn police forensic techniques has been jailed for 12 years.

Glyn Brookes, 34, targeted homes with security lights and burglar alarms in the well-to-do suburbs of Nottingham because he saw them as "puzzles to be solved".

Brookes, who was described as a "one-man crimewave", was jailed at Nottingham Crown Court after admitting 398 burglaries across the city.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Shithead on trial

Found competent, the defendant smears feces on his head.

Oh boy, the trial goes on.

I still feel sorry for the court staff and personnel.

Man found competent; trial opens
Robert Crowe - Express-News

After days of courtroom outbursts, Richard Jett was found competent Thursday to stand trial on a murder charge in the 2006 slaying of Homer Lee Daniels.
Daniels, an 80-year-old known for helping the needy in his East Side community, was stabbed to death in June 2006.

Jett told police he and a girlfriend were staying with Daniels because they had been evicted. Jett told police a group of robbers killed the octogenarian at his home, then kidnapped Jett, 50, and forced him to drive them around in Daniels' car.
Prosecutor Julie Wright said Jett's story is “an ever-changing, fanciful tale of home invaders with ski masks.”

But defense attorney Albert Gutierrez said his client's account is not far-fetched, and added that police ignored evidence and witnesses who could implicate other suspects.
“You're gonna see these detectives made up their minds from the beginning,” Gutierrez said. “They jumped to a conclusion because it was easy with a guy like Richard Jett.”

Jett was charged with murder after police found blood at the crime scene came from Daniels and Jett. Jett's girlfriend also implicated him in the crime. Prosecutors said cuts found on Jett's hands are consistent with injuries a killer would sustain while stabbing someone.
Jett has said he cut his hands fighting off the attackers.

Jett was absent for the trial's opening statements and witness testimony because he asked not to be there, said District Judge Bert Richardson. Jett was also unavailable to return to court because he had smeared feces all over his head, clothes and sandals while in a holding cell during a lunch break, Richardson said.

Earlier Thursday, however, Jett appeared in court for the competency hearing while firmly strapped to a restraint chair. Richardson ruled Jett competent to stand trial after Dr. John Tennison, a psychiatrist, testified that Jett's outbursts did not appear to be a case of psychosis or a panic disorder.

“To me, this seems to be almost a willful intent to disrupt” court proceedings, Tennison said.
Daniels' son, Arthur, testified that his father was a good man who helped anyone who needed food or a place to stay. Under cross-examination, Arthur acknowledged that he told police at least four of those individuals who stayed at the father's home were prostitutes known to be crack addicts, including some the father had quarreled with in the days and weeks before his death.

Jett's sister, Nora Jett, said in a phone interview later that her brother has a history of mental illness, including a diagnosis of schizophrenia with paranoia.
“My brother is sick,” she said. “He wasn't capable of killing anyone.”

He shoots....he misses

Not always Professor Reamey.

Not always.

Lack of victim no deterrent to Kerr prosecutor
Zeke MacCormack - Express-News

KERRVILLE — A man from here was arraigned Thursday on an attempted murder charge in a case unusual for its lack of a victim.

Antonio Marquez doesn't deny shooting at a man seen running outside the Banditos Club last year, said his attorney, Perry Cortese, but did so only after being attacked by the man.
The man he shot at hasn't been located or identified. That doesn't preclude a conviction, but observers say prosecutors face an uphill battle to prove Marquez aimed to kill, as alleged in a Sept. 2 indictment.

A sworn affidavit and complaint filed by Kerrville Police Officer Kyle Schneider says an off-duty Gillespie County deputy, while at a nearby business owned by his family, witnessed part of the incident about 6 a.m. on Feb. 24, 2007.
The witness said he heard gunshots and then saw a man, later identified as Marquez, shooting a handgun “at another male subject who was running away” toward homes, according to the affidavit.

The witness told officers the shooter then retrieved a rifle from inside the Banditos Club and more shots rang out.

Cortese said the unidentified man came to the bikers club — which has since closed — asking for drugs. When told to leave, Cortese said, the man pulled a knife on Marquez, who fought the man, took the knife, then fired his pistol.

Marquez, 39, was originally charged with deadly conduct. An Oct. 1, 2007, indictment alleged he knowingly discharged a firearm in the direction of “an individual unknown to the grand jury.”
Assistant District Attorney Amos Barton said he couldn't discuss the case or say why he substituted the attempted murder charge, to which Marquez pleaded not guilty Thursday.
The new indictment also charged Marquez with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against “an individual unknown to the grand jury.”

A trial is set for Oct. 7.

St. Mary's University Law School Professor Geary Reamey predicted the missing man would hurt the attempted murder case, which requires proving Marquez intended to kill.

“I would anticipate that the defense would say to jurors, ‘Don't you have at least a reasonable doubt why he was shooting at this guy who was running away? Maybe he was trying to scare the guy. Maybe he's trying to wound the guy,'” Reamey said.

Criminal cases frequently end in plea deals, and Reamey said prosecutors often “overcharge” defendants, “because if you start with more exposure, there's a greater incentive for the defendant to plea to something reduced.”

Runaway musician?

Will he run?

I bet he does.

Or at least tries.

But then again, he's probably going to go to Club Fed so he may not try.

House arrest set in child porn case
Guillermo Contreras - Express-News

A music instructor accused of having the largest stash of child pornography ever uncovered in San Antonio was released from jail Thursday and ordered into house arrest.

During a hearing Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Primomo granted Dennis Joseph Jasso, 34, release on $50,000 unsecured bond. Jasso has no criminal record, but prosecutors were opposed to his release.

Primomo ordered Jasso to live at his mother's house and wear an electronic ankle monitor, and have no unsupervised contact with children and zero access to the Internet.
Jasso was indicted last week on two counts of distributing child pornography and one count of distributing it. The charges stem from a raid at his house in December, when the FBI seized his computer and found more than 27,000 pictures and 1,000 videos of child porn. He entered a plea of not guilty.

He is alleged to have accessed the child porn since at least May 2007, his final month as assistant band director at Sam Houston High School.

According to testimony, Jasso also was music director of the 5:30 p.m. Mass at Holy Spirit Catholic Church and helped out with music programs at other churches in town. The restrictions may now limit those activities.

Officials said no improprieties have been found involving any of the youth or children he previously encountered.

Quit pointing

I am amazed someone would do this.

I am equally amazed at how you would go about finding out who did this.

Indictment alleges laser pointed at pilot

A San Antonio man has been charged with interfering with aircraft for allegedly aiming a laser pointer at a state police helicopter staging here for Hurricane Dolly.

The FBI arrested Cesar Alejandro Torres Wednesday on an indictment filed last week.

The indictment said that on July 23 Torres shined a laser light into the eyes of a Department of Public Safety helicopter pilot as he flew to San Antonio.

Torres was released on unsecured bond and is due for arraignment Oct. 8.

Unwarranted search?

I hadn't heard about this.

See what happens when I'm not paying attention.

Strip-search case settlement reached
Lomi Kriel - Express-News

A tentative settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit filed against the city by 13 club patrons who claimed they were illegally strip-searched, including an inspection of their breasts and buttocks, during a police raid at a South Side bar notorious for a string of violence.
Details of the settlement have not been released, and City Attorney Michael Bernard said he couldn't discuss it because it is pending. Attorneys for the patrons similarly declined. It is expected to be finalized in about two weeks.

Court filings and internal investigative documents released by the city paint vastly different pictures of that April 2007 night at the Wild Turkey Saloon in the 1400 block of Southwest Military Drive.

The four officers who were eventually suspended for their roles in the case — discipline that police union chiefs termed as “excessive” and solely the result of the incident's publicity — contend no strip search ever took place but that patrons who wanted to use the restroom were simply frisked to ensure they had no drugs or weapons. None of the more than 20 other officers at the scene said they witnessed or knew of a strip search.

But the 11 female plaintiffs described an intimidating scenario in which those needing to use the bar's restroom, and some who were forced to go, had to endure a strip search that included the removal of their bras and them turning around with their underwear down as two female officers visually inspected their buttocks.

The documents describe a police raid that was poorly organized and initially without any supervision. Though the majority of the officers were from the department's Tactical Response Unit, no TRU supervisor ever made the scene, at the last minute forcing two South Side patrol sergeants to take charge.

In the documents, police officers said the owner of the bar, which had been the site of dozens of police calls including a Mexican Mafia-related homicide weeks before the raid, was angry about the search and threatened to do something about what she termed ongoing police harassment. It was also lawyers for the bar owner who contacted the women after the incident and encouraged them to obtain an attorney to sue the city about the case, according to statements patrons made to police investigators.

The women told them that they didn't know whether they would have otherwise pursued legal action. But the women also told police they felt “violated” and thought that what happened was “wrong.”

Subsequent to the raid, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission revoked the bar's liquor license because, an investigator wrote, it was frequented by the Mexican Mafia, security was lax and it had become “a breeding ground for multiple and widespread acts of violence.”
The TABC investigator also alleged that the club's DJ had concealed details about a September 2007 assault by disabling two video cameras while his girlfriend allegedly cleaned up part of the crime scene.

The owner of the bar, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, also told TABC investigators that Mexican Mafia members had approached her about a business merger, which she said she declined. Thursday, a number listed for the bar was disconnected, and the bar itself appeared closed.

According to a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of the 13 patrons, about 50 people were at the saloon that night in 2007 when, around 1 a.m., “suddenly and without provocation” police “flooded” the bar, blocking the exits, turning off the music and turning on the lights. They cleared and blocked off the restrooms, asked everybody for identification and refused to let anyone leave.

The lawsuit contends the Police Department has an unconstitutional policy of conducting bar checks because, “without regard to the existence of probable cause” and without a search warrant, patrons are detained and prevented from leaving until the bar check is complete. In the Wild Turkey incident, that took almost an hour.

Particularly, the lawsuit says, there was no probable cause for the women's “intrusive strip search” in the restroom, and as a result, they are “physically and emotionally violated.” No drugs or weapons were found on any of the plaintiffs, none of whom was arrested.
But in responses to the lawsuit filed by attorneys for the officers and interviews conducted by police Internal Affairs investigators, a somewhat different scenario is described.

The bar had been having problems for months and was known as a place where Mexican Mafia gang members sold drugs, police said. As officers secured the scene, Sgt. Mark Randle said that to ensure officer safety, he advised the patrons that they could use the restroom but, before doing so, would be searched for weapons and drugs. No one, he said, could leave until vice officers completed the bar check.

As officers questioned patrons with gang-related tattoos, arresting several on outstanding warrants, a small bag of cocaine was found on the floor in the back right corner of the club near a group of women.
Some of those women asked if they could use the restroom and did not seem upset when Officer Diane Tritley said she would have to frisk them, according to her signed statement.

Another group of women in the same spot at some point became belligerent, and Officer Yvette Coz said she thought they were trying to conceal something under their table, according to responses to the lawsuit. She asked the women, whom she said were hostile and abusive, to allow her to frisk them for weapons.

At no time, Tritley and Coz maintained, did they search underneath the clothing of the approximately 12 women they frisked.
Because of the contradicting statements, a police investigator trying to determine whether any police policies were violated asked the female patrons to take a polygraph exam, but they declined. The officers never were asked to take such a test.

Eventually, the investigator deemed the four officers had conducted or condoned warrantless searches and recommended they be disciplined, even that a criminal case be pursued. Those criminal investigations are still pending, said First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg, as is the officers' appeal of their suspension.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Good luck getting this trial underway and done

Boy, what a circus this must be.

I feel badly for the staff that has to take care of this guy.

Defendant's odd behavior delays murder trial again
Graeme Zielinski - Express-News

Another day, another delay in the murder trial of Richard Jett, accused in the 2006 stabbing death of 80-year-old Homer Lee Daniels, who was found in his East Side home.

This time, Jett, 50, somehow got hold of a marker, having stored it in “a body cavity,” a judge said, and colored black much of his face and his arms. Jett already was wearing a mask so he doesn't spit on people and was in orange jail clothes since it isn't clear whether he will again soil his civilian clothes, as he has done at least twice.

On Wednesday, appearing in court covered in the black ink, he engaged in his latest profane outburst, lunging at court-appointed lawyers John Kuntz and Albert Gutierrez, whom he had already threatened to kill, before he was quickly removed from the courtroom by alert bailiffs.

A clearly exasperated 379th District Judge Bert Richardson allowed that he believed Jett was “malingering,” though he kept the door open for a request by Jett's defense team that the 50-year-old with a history of mental illness be reviewed a second time to determine whether he was competent to stand trial.

“I don't believe that someone in their right mind would be acting the way he is,” said Kuntz, after the defense team had moved for a mistrial.

Richardson had ruled on Jett's competency last week but then grappled over the separate question of whether Jett, who was found with cuts to his hands days after the killing and was allegedly implicated by his then-girlfriend, could effectively mount his own defense.

Richardson ruled against it, and Jett acted up in court again with an outburst earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Richardson expressed concern over just how Jett got hold of the marker and ordered him cleaned up so that he could be present before the jury at least for the reading of the indictment against him.

The trial, presumably, resumes today with opening statements.

The trial's opening had been set for Monday, but the trial has experienced repeated delays because of Jett's behavior.

Richardson revealed an incident earlier in the week in which Jett was found in his cell, having covered himself in some kind of cleaning powder.

Disturbing find

Somebody who waited in a long line for a ride?

Human remains found at amusement park

Security personnel at Six Flags Fiesta Texas found skeletal remains inside the amusement park’s property on Wednesday, police said.

The human remains were found on cliffs near the amusement park. Clothing was found nearby, police said.

“(The remains) weren’t anywhere near the public (area),” said Joe Rios, a spokesman for San Antonio Police Department.

Rios said the remains appeared to have been there for six to 12 months.

The cause of death and the identity of the individual are still unknown, officials said. The remains were taken to the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s office for analysis.

Its broke, get it fixed right

The last thing the State and TYC needs is for there to be any lingering questions or doubts about what happened or that it hasn't really "cleaned" up any of TYC's problems.

We're supposed to be the good guys, remember?

So, "Git 'er done!"

TYC hit again with blistering report
Lisa Sandberg - Express-News

AUSTIN — More than 18 months after the state's juvenile corrections system was nearly torn apart by a sex abuse scandal, the agency's youth advocate said Wednesday that scores of abuse and neglect cases appear to have been closed over the past year without being properly investigated.

Texas Youth Commission ombudsman Will Harrell identified 85 cases of alleged abuse or neglect that — according to the agency's own records — were closed without being investigated by the agency's administrative arm, the Youth Rights Division, or by any law enforcement agency, in violation of procedures.

Another 88 recently closed abuse and neglect cases were investigated “by a law enforcement agency, but not by the Youth Rights Division as required by policy,” Harrell said in a blistering report he delivered to the state's top leadership Wednesday.

A total of 564 cases alleging mistreatment of youths were closed by the agency without any record indicating how they were disposed, the report says.

In some instances, abuse allegations were assigned to the alleged perpetrator to investigate, Harrell said. Other cases were left hanging after being assigned to people who had been transferred to other departments and not notified, or to people who had left the agency.
TYC conservator Richard Nedelkoff said in a statement that he was “appalled” by the report's findings. He said he had been assured that the main problem is that the agency's database does not reflect final dispositions for the 564 cases.

“Uncertainty in the area of the treatment of youth simply cannot be tolerated,” said Nedelkoff, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry late last year after a top-to-bottom agency reorganization. “We will not be satisfied with anything less than 100 percent accountability on this issue.”

Perry was “very disappointed” in the report's findings, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. “This system should have been addressed,” Allison Castle said.

Harrell said the abuse and neglect cases examined by his office include the most serious allegations — such as sexual or physical assault of youths by staff members, youth-on-youth violence and medical neglect.
“We're not talking about grievances like the food is too cold,” he said.

Harrell said his staff put in hundreds of hours over the past several weeks examining the agency's records. The results disturbed him so much, he said, that he felt legally compelled to bring the issue to the immediate attention of everyone from the governor's office on down.
He cited a law passed last year requiring him to report “flagrant abuses” to top elected officials.
Though he didn't name any individual at the agency, Harrell went out of his way in his report to defend the agency's inspector general, Bruce Toney. Over the past year, Toney repeatedly raised some of the concerns to agency officials “to no avail,” Harrell said.

His findings come more than 18 months after the agency nearly imploded on allegations of staff members physically and sexually abusing youths at facilities throughout the state, with some administrators turning a blind eye to the problem. The Legislature last year ordered sweeping reforms.

TYC spokesman Jim Hurley said in a statement that the agency had already taken steps to revamp the system for reporting alleged abuse and neglect. All cases are now being reviewed under the command of the agency's law enforcement arm — the Office of Inspector General — rather than its administrative arm.

And all 564 cases will be independently reviewed again, Hurley said.

Be careful Emilio

Man, if it weren't for bad luck he'd have no luck at all.

Displaced frm his rehab center in Houston because of Hurricane Ike, he comes here and gets into another wreck.

Take care, Emilio.

Vaya con Dios.

Singer Emilio involved in another wreck
Amanda Stanzilis - KENS 5 Eyewitness News

It's been seven months since Emilio Navaira crashed his tour bus on a Houston highway. Now he's once again back in the hospital.
The Tejano star has been involved in another accident, this time in San Antonio.

Emilio's agent, Joe Casias, says Emilio and his wife, Maria, were on their way home from rehabilitation. He was attending rehab in Houston, but was moved to San Antonio because of Hurricane Ike.

As Maria was driving them home, the couple got into an accident around 5:30 p.m. at Culebra and Potranco. An eyewitness said a truck was trying to turn from the middle lane across three lanes of traffic.

Maria didn't see the truck and hit him head-on. The eyewitness said the truck driver was fine,

but both Emilio and his wife were taken by ambulance to University Hospital. They are both in stable condition.

Casias says this brings back bad memories. About six months ago, Emilio crashed his tour bus and went through the window. He suffered a brain injury and has been in rehab ever since.

Casias said tonight he is thanking God that both Emilio and Maria are fine.


Great job guys!

Keep up the Outstanding work!

Besides its good for my job security.

SWAT team seizes 5 pounds of drugs

From staff reports The Herald-Zeitung

Several area police special operation units joined forces to arrest two men and complete a New Braunfels drug bust early Wednesday.

Officers seized more than five pounds of marijuana and more than one gram of cocaine from the residence, according to a release issued by Capt. Dennis Koepp, Comal County narcotics task force commander.

The Comal County Metro Narcotics Task Force, the county S.W.A.T team, the New Braunfels Police S.R.T. team, and deputies from the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office obtained a narcotics search warrant for a home in the 500 block of Doeppenschmidt Road in New Braunfels. During the operation, two people were arrested at the residence.

David Campos, 42, and Orlando Campos, 29, were charged with felony possession of more than five pounds and less than 50 pounds of marijuana. Both men also were charged with felony possession of a controlled substance — cocaine.

As of Monday evening, the two men were being held in the Comal County Jail. No bond had been set.

Oy vey is mir!


The first "Black president" is Jewish?

I mean, who knew?

Sammy Davis, Jr. would be so proud!

Bill Clinton: I'll campaign for Obama 'after the Jewish holidays'

(CNN) — Bill Clinton praised Sarah Palin Wednesday, saying he found the Alaska governor an “appealing person” and her and her family “gutsy, spirited and real.”

“I think that she and her husband and their kids come across gutsy, spirited and real,” he said in an interview to be broadcast Wednesday night. “I have significant disagreements with her about any number of social and economic issues but I find her an appealing person and I think that it’s best to say that Senator McCain looks like he knew what he was doing. He picked somebody who gave him a lot of energy, a lot of support.”

Clinton said Palin’s selection also helped Barack Obama, because it brought more Democratic money and volunteers to his campaign.

Clinton told reporters in New York Monday he knows why the Alaska governor is attracting massive crowds on the campaign trail.

"I come from Arkansas, I get why she's hot out there," Clinton told reporters in New York, according to the Associated Press. "Why she's doing well." (Look out Sarah)

"People look at her, and they say, 'All those kids. Something that happens in everybody's family I'm glad she loves her daughter and she's not ashamed of her. Glad that girl's going around with her boyfriend. Glad they're going to get married,'" he said.

Referencing Palin's 5-month old child who has Down Syndrome, Clinton also said Monday that voters will think, "I like that little Down syndrome kid — one of them lives down the street, they're wonderful children.” (WTF? have you lost your fricking mind Bill?)

On Wednesday, the former president fired back at critics who’ve questioned his level of support for Obama, and have called on him to attack John McCain. “Well, if you look at the speech I gave in Denver and the speech Hillary gave, I think it would be hard to question the depth of our feeling and the fact that we gave good reasons for why we were supporting Senator Obama and Senator Biden,” he told King.

“….I think you can argue that [Hillary Clinton] has done more than all other runner-ups have in the Democratic Party in 40 years. We have been quite clear on this. We’re not party-wreckers, and we believe that the country needs to take a different course.

He also said some Democrats were so “enthralled, as all of our strongest supporters are, that they don’t think you’re for them unless you’re dumping on somebody else. I personally think that is not a good strategy to win this election,” he said. “That is, everybody wants Hillary or me or, for that matter, Senator Obama or Senator Biden just to say bad things about Senator McCain or Governor Palin. Those people are already for us.”

Clinton told King he would be hitting the campaign trail for Obama in Florida, to Ohio, to northeast Pennsylvania, and Nevada “at a minimum" in October, “after the Jewish holidays” are over.

"Are you kind of feeling Jewish that you're waiting until after the Jewish holidays?" asked King."No. But I think it would be — if we're trying to win in Florida, it may be that — you know, they think that because of who I am and where my political base has traditionally been, they may want me to go sort of hustle up what Lawton Chiles used to call the 'cracker vote' there.
"But Senator Obama also has a big stake in doing well in the Jewish community in Florida, where Hillary did very well and where I did very well. And I just think respecting the holidays is a good thing to do," he said.

Don't taze me Bro! - LXIII

Hell, everything that happens in Bedford-Stuyvesant ourages the folks who live there.

What? I'm just sayin'

NYPD Taser Death Sparks Outrage In Bed-Stuy
Naked And Deranged Man Shot Twice With Thousands Of Volts From Pistol-Shaped Weapon, Falls Off Fire Escape
ReportingHazel Sanchez

BROOKLYN (CBS) ― Racquel McDonald was standing on Tomkins Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant, unknowingly recording the last moments of Iam Morales' life on her cell phone. Dozens of people witnessed it, too. Some were taking photos of Morales as he jumped up and down on top of a 10-foot high roll-down gate, swinging a florescent light bulb around and poking officers standing on a nearby fire escape.

An officer on the ground then raised his Taser gun and fired a 50,000-volt shock, immobilizing him. "He wasn't hurting anybody. They could have just grabbed him and bring him down but they Tasered him instead and he fell to his death and it was real wrong," McDonald said. Added a witness named "Kyle:" "The man was isolated for minute … and then he just fell to the floor.

They had about eight cops that could've break the fall. They just moved back." Witnesses said police did nothing to break Morales' fall, and his mother was standing just a few yards away. She was the one who called police, according to family friends, because 35-year-old Morales had a chemical imbalance and she believed he was suffering from a bad reaction to new medication.

"The mother was screaming, 'He's gonna fall!' And they said, 'Step back.' They wouldn't allow the mother to talk to him," witness Charlene Gayle-Gordon said. Added witness Kirk Giddings: "He was there cracking jokes, posing for the cops and everything. The man wasn't a threat to nobody but himself." Morales later died at Kings County Hospital.

Community Activists are now calling on the city to investigate. "We're not holding the whole NYC police department at fault, but we are questioning the actions of the supervisor of the Emergency Service Unit who took and who shot this young man, not one time but twice," Sharonnie Perry said. The community wants to know if the officers here followed proper protocol.

Police said they are still investigating. Thousands of New York City police sergeants began carrying Tasers on their belts this year. The pistol-shaped weapons fire barbs up to 35 feet and deliver 50,000-volt shocks to immobilize people.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gone in 60 seconds

Missing a car lately?

Police find cars taken by ring
Marvin Hurst - KENS 5 Eyewitness News

A 20-year-old woman has been arrested in connection to a car theft ring that operated from the North Side to the West Side.
More arrests more arrests are expected.

Police arrested Nicole Gomez, who reportedly admitted to being part of an operation that stole vehicles and chopped them up for a profit.
She was charged with theft and released on a $5,000 bond.

According to police, on Sept. 10 Gomez acted as the lookout for a group who broke into a business in the 13000 block of Judson Road and stole 30 sets of car keys.

An arrest warrant states the group stole 2006 and 2007 Scions, a 2008 Honda Pilot and a Honda Civic from J & J Adjusters.

Officers recovered three of the vehicles from a house in the 600 block of South Sabinas Street.
The vehicles were partially stripped of accessories and the seats.

Gomez lead police to the fourth vehicle and confessed her role in the operation. She even admitted to riding in one of the stolen vehicles.

There is no word on how many other suspects police are searching for.

Toy bricks, Drug bricks

Gee Honey, look what junior built with his legos.

A drug house complete with its own little bricks of cocaine!

I am so proud.

Lego My Kilo!
DEA bust uncovers cocaine smuggled in children's toy packages
from: The Smoking Gun

SEPTEMBER 23--Narcotics traffickers hid cocaine inside Lego sets and other toy packages that were mailed from Puerto Rico to New York City, according to Drug Enforcement Administration officials.

As we have previously reported, perps have been caught using puppies, Tickle Me Elmo dolls, Mr. Potato Head, and even Jesus himself to transport their illegal products.

Max Punishment!

This woman is just simply reprehensible and I think should get the maximum sentence allowed, in prison.

Childish behavior which led to a child's death and she thinks its all a game?

Even Told Her Hairdresser
Feds: MySpace hoaxer let friends know about plot against late teen
From: The Smoking Gun

SEPTEMBER 23--The California woman charged with orchestrating a cruel online hoax that led to the suicide of a teenage girl was once so pleased with her prank that she shared details of the ongoing scheme with her hairdresser and other acquaintances, according to prosecutors. During conversations with several individuals, Lori Drew explained how she and others were "playing a joke on" Megan Meier, a 13-year-girl who was a rival of Drew's daughter.

That joke involved Drew's creation of a MySpace page for a "Josh Evans," a nonexistent boy who took an online liking to Meier, but then abruptly turned on the girl, telling her on October 16, 2006 that the world would be a better place without her.

A distraught Meier committed suicide later that day. In May, Drew was named in a four-count federal indictment charging her with conspiracy and computer fraud in connection with the MySpace scheme. In a court filing yesterday, prosecutors revealed how Drew spoke of the hoax as it was underway, and "denied any untoward purpose and dismissed concerns over her 'prank." An excerpt of the September 22 document can be found below.

While Drew appeared proud of her MySpace gambit while it was active, after Meier's suicide she sought to cover her tracks and mask her involvement in the plot. (a telling point here, no?)

When questioned by FBI agents, Drew said that while she knew of the MySpace hoax, she was not involved in the creation of the phony "Josh Evans" account. Additionally, when agents surreptitiously recorded a conversation between Drew and Meier's mother, Drew "again disclaimed involvement in the scheme." Drew, pictured above, is scheduled for trial next month in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles

A bad strawberry leaves a bad taste

How long is this farce going to go on?

Mr. Mayor show some decency, instead of apparently indecency and step down and save your town this ongoing embarrassment.

Poteet mayor faces 3 new sex indictments
Sara Inés Calderón: Express-News

POTEET — Lino Donato, the city of Poteet's sex offender mayor, has been indicted on three new sex charges.

An Atascosa County grand jury on Monday charged Donato with one count each of aggravated sexual assault, a first-degree felony, indecency with a child by contact, a second-degree felony, and attempted indecency with a child by contact, a third-degree felony, according to a list of indictments released by the county district clerk's office.

It was unclear when, where, or with whom these offenses were alleged to have occurred. The clerk's office said it could not provide copies of the actual indictments because they were still being processed. District Attorney Rene Peña did not return calls seeking comment.
Donato was being held at the Atascosa County Jail on $200,000 bond Tuesday, officials said.
For most of the past year, while trying to take back his guilty plea on indecency with a child charges last October, he has fought attempts to force him to step down as mayor. City officials who have called the tug of war demoralizing didn't want to talk about the latest indictments.

“It's just a shame that the publicity we always get is so negative,” said Candy Cantu, a former city councilwoman who grew up with Donato in Poteet. “There's a lot of good things here. We have a lot of good people.”

The mayor was first indicted in July 2006 on three charges of indecency with a child. His ex-wife was the complainant and many in this small town believe his bitter divorce led to the charges. Donato was accused of exposing himself to two girls in 1996 and 2000 and of improperly touching one of them in 1997.

An indicted Donato was re-elected mayor in May 2007 and his jury trial began the following October, ending on Halloween when he pleaded guilty to two counts of indecency by exposure and no contest to one count of indecency by contact.

Almost immediately after accepting a plea deal that granted him deferred adjudication pending successful completion of 10 years' probation and requiring him to register as a sex offender for 20 years, Donato recanted, blaming inadequate counsel and hiring attorney Gary Churak to push his appeal for a new trial.

Churak was unavailable for comment on the new indictments.

Poteet city attorney Frank Garza has said Donato can be removed from office — not for the crime, since he was not formally convicted, but for missing three regular meetings without an excuse.

Donato decided in January to formally cede his duties — but not his title — to then-mayor pro-tem Roy Ybarra.

Ybarra lost his bid for re-election in May and Donato did not authorize the new mayor pro-tem, Fred Catala, to act in his stead. Donato re-assumed his official duties but can't attend council meetings because city hall is within 1,000 feet of the city library, where children may congregate.

As the mayor's absences mounted, Catala said in August that the council would consider voting to remove him in September. That vote never came.

Simultaneously, District Attorney Peña asked a judge in August to remove Donato for continued absences and failure to perform his duties. Donato filed an answer and the case is pending.
This month Peña asked the Texas Rangers to investigate Donato, but neither party would say why.

Poteet resident Roselynn Lopez said most of those concerned about Donato are of his generation, the people who grew up with him, but not younger folks like herself.
“People from other places will ask if the child molester is still mayor. It's embarrassing, but we just say, ‘Who cares?'” Lopez said. “A lot of people aren't going to say they approve (of him) but nobody is going to back him up.”

But resident Richard Martinez said most locals thought it a shame, a sad chapter in Poteet's history. Many considered the first accusations a nasty divorce tactic, but this time there's more doubt, he said.

“People are going to think we're all locos,” Martinez said. “One bad apple makes the whole town look bad. People are going to say we're a bad town, and it hurts.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Please Elect Dennis McKnight

If you live in Bexar County you will be well served by Candidate Dennis McKnight as Sheriff.

He's experienced, he's smart and he has good judgment.

Okay then, get busy and help get him elected.

Candidates for sheriff list their credentials
Guillermo X. Garcia - Express-News

Sounding more like the colleagues they were than the opponents they are now, the two candidates for Bexar County sheriff faced off at a community center meeting Monday.
Democrat Amadeo Ortiz and his Republican counterpart, Dennis McKnight, agreed on most issues facing the next sheriff — including operations at the chronically overcrowded jail.
But they did little to distinguish their differences over how they'd run the department that has a $102 million annual budget.

Both candidates have long records in law enforcement and have managed the jail, one of the sheriff's principal assignments. Both promised to relieve crowding — but were light on specifics — and expand patrol staff and investigators.

They are seeking a four-year term as the county's top law enforcement officer.

The last elected sheriff, Ralph Lopez, was forced to resign last year amid a corruption scandal that neither candidate mentioned in addressing the dozen people who gathered at the Millers Pond Community Center.

Ortiz, a San Antonio native, referred to the Lopez scandal when he said morale among the 100 deputies and 700 jailers is low, while noting that he'd work to improve working conditions, pay and benefits.

McKnight drew a laugh from the sparsely attended Southwest Community Association meeting when he said: “While I wasn't born in Texas, I got here as quickly as I could.”

He also joked about how he became a U.S. Army “foot soldier” after he qualified for helicopter training. “But they changed their mind about making me a chopper pilot after I crashed one.”
McKnight said he'd push for a more proactive approach to law enforcement as well as try to speed up deputy response time to citizens' calls.

Ortiz, 64, who was a 12-year veteran before retiring from the department in 2006, ran the jail and several major divisions, including that of head of courthouse security. He also is a former San Antonio police officer. His brother, Albert Ortiz, is a former police chief.

McKnight, 61, was hired by the sheriff's office in 1999 and headed the jail since January 2006. He was a metropolitan police officer in Washington, D.C., before moving to San Antonio.
McKnight, a Pennsylvania native, is a St. Mary's Law School graduate and former Bexar County Jail director.

He also was an assistant district attorney for Bexar County from 1991 to 1997.
McKnight spent almost eight years working under Lopez, but the former deputy chief left his job running the jail after Roland Tafolla, who said he would not run for sheriff, was appointed to fill the vacancy created by Lopez's departure.

Another gang death

Another victim of the gang wars raging in San Antonio.

Shooting victim dies from wounds
Express-News -

A man shot four times inside an East Side home on Sunday night has died, police said.

Christopher Evans Jr. , 24 , gave police a gang nickname and a brief description of the gunman before Evans was taken to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Evans' girlfriend found him around 8:50 p.m. in a bedroom of the house in the 500 block of Ferris Street.

He had been shot twice in the back and twice in the torso with a small-caliber weapon, a police report said.

No arrests had been made in the case on Monday.


OK this sounds mucho better.

Good call Judge Richardson!

He's a good Judge and deserves re-election.

Man not competent to defend self
Express-News -

A Bexar County judge on Monday found Richard Jett unable to effectively undertake his own defense in the 2006 stabbing death of 80-year-old Homer Lee Daniels.

Bert Richardson , 379th District Court judge, made the ruling after a court-appointed doctor earlier had testified that Jett, 50, was competent to stand trial. Richardson concluded Jett still was burdened with mental illnesses that would have hindered him during the trial, scheduled to begin today.

Richardson originally had been proceeding under the assumption that Jett would represent himself, but the evidence and Jett's courtroom behavior changed that.

The judge cited recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and a Texas appellate court.

Jett's trial was delayed from last week after he removed his clothes and soiled them in a holding cell toilet, and threatened his court-appointed lawyers. On Monday, Jett appeared catatonic, shackled to a wheelchair.

Murder in New Braunfels

Well, our office will be involved so I have nothing to say either.

I know nothing.....Nuzzink.

Local man jailed on murder charge

By Mark Koopmans The Herald-Zeitung

Detectives with the New Braunfels Police Department charged a local resident with the shooting death of a 34-year-old man following an incident early Sunday.Kenneth Leo Pittman Jr. of Copperas Cove, near Fort Hood, was pronounced dead by Comal County Justice of the Peace No. 1, Judge William Schroeder.

According to police reports, dispatchers received a 911 call of shots being fired about 2:30 a.m. in the 300 block of Fair Lane. More than a dozen officers responded to the call. Once they arrived, officers found Pittman, who had been fatally shot.“(Pittman) was shot, and, as a likelihood, died from injuries received. However, whether he was shot, once, twice or 10 times, the investigation remains ongoing and I cannot go into more specifics,” Sgt. Mike Penshorn said Monday.

As part of their investigation, detectives questioned 36-year-old Keegan Koy Armke, the man who lived at the house on Fair Lane where the shooting occurred. Following questioning, detectives arrested Armke at the scene and booked him into the Comal County Jail on one count of murder, Penshorn said. “The incident occurred partly in the yard (of Armke’s home) and partly in the roadway,” Penshorn said. “It appears (Pittman) was already deceased when officers first arrived on the scene.”

Armke is a New Braunfels native and is involved with several local family businesses, including OHI Trading Company, according to the company’s Web site.As of Monday night, Armke remained in jail in lieu of a $50,000 bond.

Penshorn said the shooting remains under investigation and refused to comment on any motive. With the exception of four, orange spray-painted marks identifying the position of a car, which was outside Armke’s home, the quiet, tree-lined street showed little signs of a major crime Monday evening.

Pittman is survived by a sister and two brothers, who live in Houston, Dallas and Buffalo, Texas, respectively, according to his aunt, Deborah Sanders who also lives near Houston.He was a former Marine, who after his military service, lived in Austin and San Antonio. He lived in Copperas Cove for the past two years where he managed a local club, Sanders said.

Better known as “Chipper” to friends and family, Pittman also was the father of a10-month-old daughter, Haven, said his aunt, adding he was divorced from the child’s mother.“Chipper had visitation rights on Monday and Tuesday, and he came every week,” Sanders said Monday.

Funeral arrangements for Pittman, who was born in Pasadena and graduated from Leon High School in Marquez, Texas, before joining the U.S. Marine Corps, were not yet finalized Monday afternoon. His aunt, however, said plans are in place to have her nephew buried next to his mother in Marquez.

Monday, September 22, 2008

When you're sleepy pull over

The bubbly always makes him sleepy.

Don't steal, drink and drive.

Its never a good idea.

Burglar's champagne gaffe

A burglar who pinched a bottle of expensive champagne to celebrate after stealing money and jewellery was caught after he parked his car to sleep it off.

Police were called out by worried passers-by who saw the 37-year-old man slumped behind the wheel of a car at the side of the road in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Officers who woke him up checked his ID and found he was wanted for a string of robberies.
A police spokesman said: "The officers couldn't believe their luck when they found out who he was.

"He even had the stolen goods from his latest robbery with him in the car. And we can also got him for drunk driving as well."

Uhh, let me think, I'm not sure what I want to drink, can I just sit here a minute?

What? This is against the law?

Who knew? I mean she didn't right? I bet she got great tips too.

What? I'm jest sayin'

Illinois woman accused of bartending in the buff

DELHI, Ill. (AP) - Here's a tip: Bartending nude can get you arrested.

Sheriff's deputies doing a routine check this week at a southern Illinois bar say they discovered a not-so-routine sight. Authorities allege that 33-year-old Janet Brannon was naked while serving bar patrons at the Cabin Tavern in Delhi.

Brannon was arrested and charged with misdemeanor public indecency. She was freed on $8,000 bond.

She was the only bar employee working at the time, so the tavern was closed Thursday.

No telephone listing can be found for Brannon, and the Jersey County sheriff's department doesn't know whether she has an attorney.

Die by nightclub

I should have a seperate blog for these shootings.

This will also do wonders for business by the Sunset Station won't it?

One dies, one wounded in vehicle shooting
KENS 5 Eyewitness News -

Police were searching Monday for a person who fired into a vehicle containing three people, killing the driver and wounding a passenger.

The trio were in a vehicle leaving a nightclub when someone in a dark SUV fired 7-8 rounds from a .45-caliber handgun.

A bullet struck the woman driver in the head and a passenger had to grab the steering wheel to bring the vehicle to safety near Sunset Station. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

A male passenger was shot in the arm and taken to an area hospital in serious condition. The third person in the vehicle was not wounded.

A man who represents himself has a fool for a client

A tough decision for Judge Richardson. Should he let someone who appears to have an obvious problem in grasping reality act as his own attorney? Or not?

I feel for you on this one Bert.

As murder trial starts, defendant sanity is at issue
Graeme Zielinski - Express-News

Last Monday, on the eve of his murder trial in the 379th District Court, Richard Jett tore off his civilian clothes, stuffed them in his holding cell toilet and soiled them, resisting sheriff's deputies to the point a Taser was used to subdue him.
Today, when jury selection and his trial are scheduled to begin, Jett will be representing himself on the outset, again dressed in civilian clothes but wearing a mask to prevent him from spitting on anyone.

After a series of hearings last week, Judge Bert Richardson decided to allow Jett to serve as his own attorney, struggling openly with the question of allowing Jett to “take over” his courtroom. The decision was made after a court-appointed doctor testified that the defendant was competent to stand trial in the 2006 stabbing death of 80-year-old Homer Lee Daniels.
Daniels' son found his father's body lying on his living room floor June 14, 2006. Homer Daniels had been beaten and stabbed in his face, neck and torso.

The prosecutors, defense lawyers and Richardson were temporizing over the existing interpretations of the law, which all seemed to favor Jett's insistence he represent himself, though Richardson indicated he would give him a short leash.

Jett, who was arrested days after Daniels was found in his East Side home and allegedly was implicated by a former girlfriend, has tried to shed, and even has threatened, his court-appointed lawyers, John Kuntz and Albert Gutierrez.

They in turn have sought to prove that Jett could not be counted on to effectively represent himself in such a complicated thing as a murder trial.

Jett testified that he had been treated for schizophrenia and Richardson has made note of the rambling handwritten letters with which he has been bombarded by the defendant, alleging various grievances. Jett said he has HIV and hepatitis and has threatened to spit on guards.
Jett, 50, also testified that he had received his GED while in prison on a 1978 aggravated robbery rap, but had no legal training.
“I've had several trips to the law library,” he told Richardson on Tuesday.

His former psychiatrist did not respond to requests that he testify, leaving Richardson to decide to let the court-appointed doctor review Jett's medical records and give a recommendation as to whether he can represent himself.

As the deliberations progressed throughout the week, Jett's two sisters sat glumly in the courtroom, trying at various points to sway their brother to drop his resistance to what Richardson has called a “bad decision.”

“If you want to go to prison for life, sign those papers,” his sister Nora Jett said Tuesday, pleading as she leaned over the courtroom rail and referring to the documents that would waive his court-appointed lawyers. “You know you can't do it. If you sign those papers, you have signed your life away.”

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Murder or not?

Overzealous prosecution? or Rightful conviction?

I do not know enough about the case but there does seem to be compelling circumstances to look into it again.

Murder by omission or conviction by design?
John MacCormack - Express-News

CORPUS CHRISTI — Early on Oct. 3, 2006, the morning after her neighbor Hannah Overton had rushed a dying 4-year-old boy to a nearby urgent care clinic, Kathi Haller got a visit from police.

Haller, 30, who took notes of the encounter and later testified about it under oath, said Detective Michael Hess arrived already convinced that Overton had poisoned her foster son Andrew Burd with salt.
“He flat-out accused Hannah of killing Andrew. Hess said, ‘He was throwing poop at her. She's pregnant, she did this to him and then she called her husband to come help her get rid of him,'” Haller recalled.
“He said, ‘She's got all these kids running around. They tried to do right with him, but it was too much. She was looking for a way out,'” Haller added.

Andrew had stopped breathing on the way to the clinic and blood tests that night showed he was dying of acute salt poisoning. Haller, who'd seen him alive earlier that day, found the officer's remarks disturbing and illogical.
“I was flabbergasted. I know Hannah and I knew this hadn't occurred. She could never have done this. She had a back injury,” she said.
But, she said, Hess, whose wife then was a supervisor for Child Protective Services, brushed off her protests. After taking her statement, he left with his partner Detective Mike Ilse.
Haller said she quickly called her longtime friend and neighbor: “I told her, ‘Hannah, they're coming after you. He's accusing you.'”

Contacted last week, both detectives denied Haller's account.
“That's not the truth. I said nothing like that. At the time, I had no clue of what happened,” Hess said.

Less than a year later, on Sept. 12, 2007, Hannah Overton awaited sentencing by District Judge Jose Longoria in the Nueces County Courthouse.
A three-week jury trial, with live television coverage, had just ended with her conviction of capital murder.

At trial, Overton's lawyers had cast Andrew's death as a tragic, self-inflicted accident, likely linked to an eating disorder that led him to gorge and consume strange objects. But, they said, prosecutors had ignored this and instead taken aim at Overton.
“What you're going to hear is that they targeted Hannah from the very first,” defense lawyer John Gilmore said. “And (they) investigated this case with the specific intent to convict Hannah and overlooked any other possibility.”

The state's contrasting version unfolded as a nightmarish tale of an innocent child who had sought love but instead found abuse and death at the hands of an adoptive mother.
The state accused Overton of killing Andrew by feeding him salt or a salty creole spice, then waiting too long to get him critical medical attention.

A medical examiner testified Andrew's death was a homicide. A doctor who had tried desperately to revive the child testified he had numerous scratches and bruises.
“The analogy someone made was that it looks like this child lost a fight with a porcupine,” Dr. Alexandre Rotta said.
He calculated that the salt level in Andrew's blood indicated he had consumed the equivalent of six teaspoons of salt or 23 teaspoons of Zatarain's creole seasoning.

Defense witnesses testified Andrew showed no signs of forced ingestion. They attributed the bruising and scratches to falls, infected mosquito bites and aggressive efforts by medical personnel to revive him.

On the stand, Overton, 31, said she loved Andrew, did nothing to harm him and had tried desperately to save him. The jury deliberated almost 11 hours before finding her guilty.
When polled, the jurors indicated they believed Overton hadn't acted quickly enough to save him. Because of the peculiar jury charge, she was found guilty of capital murder “by omission.”
Later, one juror complained to the judge, saying the charge was confusing and that justice was not served.

“It seemed to me, based on the wording of the charge, that we had no choice but to find her guilty of capital murder. ... I do not believe that Mrs. Overton intended to kill Andrew Burd. I do not believe that Mrs. Overton knew that her actions (or lack thereof) would kill Andrew Burd,” juror Margaret Warfield, a Corpus Christi schoolteacher, wrote in an affidavit.
Overton was given a mandatory life sentence without parole. She's being held at a maximum security prison near Gatesville.

“The justice system has failed me, but God will make me free. I believe God will prove my innocence,” she said in a recent prison interview.

Overton, who grew up wanting to be a missionary, has begun a prison Bible study. Her letters from prison appear regularly on “Free Hannah Overton,” a Web site created by members of her church in Corpus Christi.

Her husband, who also was charged with capital murder, later pleaded no contest to negligent homicide and was given five years' probation.
He comes regularly to visit her in Gatesville, a 650-mile roundtrip from Corpus Christi.
Visits with her five biological children, ages 1 to 9, are less frequent, since they must talk to their mother through thick glass.
“It's very hard. Five children fighting over the phone, crying because they can't kiss mommy,” she said.

According to court pleadings, Andrew was born to an alcohol- and drug-using teen. Eventually, state officials placed him in foster care.
When he was placed for adoption at 4, Andrew had delayed speech, was socially immature, had a huge appetite and ate inappropriate items.

The Overtons, who were looking to adopt, met Andrew at Sunday school at the Calvary Chapel of the Coastlands, a non-denominational evangelical church on the south side of Corpus Christi.
“We were just praying and waiting, you know, to see what child God had for us,” Hannah Overton explained at trial.

Andrew bonded quickly with the family after arriving in the summer of 2006, but it also became obvious he had unanticipated health problems.
“CPS had told us multiple times he was a perfectly healthy child, and we found later he had not been healthy for quite a while,” Overton said.

Most noteworthy was Andrew's obsession with food, described by Overton and other trial witnesses.
“We had to put the cat food in the garage because he would eat it. He would eat toothpaste. We couldn't keep soap in the bathroom because he'd take bites out of it. He broke a glow-stick and tried to drink it,” Overton recalled.

If unwatched, he would forage for food in the refrigerator and pantry, she said.
Shortly before Andrew's death, Overton and her adoption counselor decided to seek professional help for his tendency to eat inappropriate items, a condition known as pica.

Andrew also threw fits, and Overton said his behavior worsened that September after the whole family was in a car wreck in which she was injured. His tantrums now included throwing and smearing feces.

On Oct. 2, 2006, Overton said she served him some chili-like stew spiced with Zatarain's, a seasoning he liked. When Andrew demanded more food, she said she gave him some water in his sippy cup sprinkled with Zatarain's.

Soon after, Andrew became ill, threw up and eventually lost consciousness.
“I think he ate something or multiple things when I was going in and out of the room. I think also his salt levels were high to begin with because he had been acting weird the last couple of days,” she said.
And, she said, the sinister scenario painted at trial by prosecutors is preposterous.
“There's no way anyone could have forced that child to eat anything. He was very stubborn and very strong. And I had just been in an accident. I was still in a lot of pain,” she said.

Overton's husband had come home to help. When the gravity of the situation became apparent, they began driving Andrew to a nearby urgent care clinic. When the child stopped breathing en route, Overton tried to resuscitate him.

At trial, prosecutors questioned why the Overtons didn't call an ambulance to their home.
“I wonder if I had called 911 if things would have turned out differently. I don't think it would have turned out differently for Andrew, but it might have for me,” Overton said during the prison interview.

Dr. Michael Moritz, an expert on salt poisoning, came to Corpus Christi last fall expecting to testify about Andrew's death.
The defense decided not to call him because of scheduling problems, and felt confident with other expert witnesses.

Since then, he has tracked the case from Pittsburgh and finds the outcome troubling.
“You had a runaway prosecution and a crappy defense. It's terrible what happened here. People need to know,” he said.

Moritz said it's obvious Andrew died from eating a very large amount of salt — as opposed to some brain disorder or underlying medical condition — but he doesn't believe it was a forced ingestion.
“He had a huge, abrupt and rapid deterioration. He became violently ill in front of their eyes, and soon thereafter he had arrest. When they checked his sodium, it was among the highest ever recorded in the literature,” he said.
“The question is, how did it happen?” he asked.

Salt poisoning is rare among children of Andrew's age, more commonly occurring in infants or the elderly. Even more rare, said Mortiz, are cases where someone forces a child to eat salt.
“Where's the smoking gun? There is no evidence of force. No salt on the body. No lacerations to his mouth. No salt crystals in his mouth or nose,” he said.
Far more likely, Moritz believes, is that Andrew, who had an eating disorder and fit the profile of other salt-poisoning victims in medical studies, ate the salt himself.
“If you go to the literature, in every single case of alleged salt poisoning, they were kids just like him. Kids who were majorly screwed up, who bounded in and out of foster care, kids who were physically abused, kids with emotional deprivation syndrome,” he said.

“He fit the description. When these kids get in a stressful situation, they eat glass, rocks, dirt, salt. This is a very rare but very specific condition. It's salt pica,” he said.
In contrast, he said, it's very difficult to see the alternative scenario.
“Salt poisoning is a very severe psychopathology on the parent's part. And I met Hannah Overton. I spent time with her. She's a nice, sweet normal lady,” he said.
“To me, accidental voluntary salt poisoning is far more plausible than that this nice lady, this religious do-gooder who took this kid in, suddenly turning into a psychopath and killing this kid.”

When police and child welfare workers rushed to Driscoll Children's Hospital on Oct. 2, 2006, the night Andrew arrived dying of salt poisoning, they were amazed to find members of Overton's church there, praying hand in hand for his recovery.

Since then, members and leaders of Calvary Chapel of the Coastlands have supported the Overton family at every turn, attending court hearings, raising bond money, paying legal fees, helping with child care and praying passionately for justice.

Church members created a Web site with photos, news articles, legal updates and Hannah's letters from prison. The page also includes a list of lies that members believe have been told about her.

Chief among them were claims made in an affidavit by a CPS worker that Overton had admitted forcing Andrew to drink two sippy cups of salty water as punishment, and then “picked him up and beat the (expletive) out of him.”
Although the statement later was disavowed by police, the image was fixed in the public mind.
“I was depicted as a monster, as was my husband, and my church was depicted as a cult,” Overton said.

The church's conspicuous, public support of the Overtons led to friction with police and child welfare workers, prompted public criticism and also caused a few members to drop out, according to Pastor Rod Carver.
“People were accusing us of harboring child murderers. I told the congregation, if we support Hannah we could lose our property, but we won't lose Christ,” said Carver, a California native who keeps a guitar and surfboard in his office and sometimes preaches in flip-flops.

“The surreal thing about this whole thing is that we lost a little boy whom we all loved, and on top of that, we are fighting this great injustice, and we were never able to grieve,” said Carver, who, with his wife, Noreen, also had considered adopting Andrew.

For almost two years, church members have prayed passionately for the Overtons.
“It's still a spiritual battle. We still absolutely believe she will be set free. God has given us promises all along. And ultimately the answer is prayer,” he said.

Now running unopposed for his fifth term as Nueces County district attorney, Carlos Valdez is best known for prosecuting Yolanda Saldivar, the Selena fan who shot and killed the South Texas pop diva in 1995.
“The only case I ever tried,” Valdez remarked with wry sarcasm during a recent interview.

Several assistant DAs prosecuted Overton, but Valdez has no doubts that justice was served with her conviction and sentence of life without parole — harsher even than the punishment for Saldivar, who may be set free in 2025.
“I haven't had a reason to look into it,” he said of the controversial case.
“It's a simple case. The child had a substance in his body,” he said of Andrew.
“He was either killed or he accidentally committed suicide, and I don't think the child did that,” he said.

Valdez said other indications of criminal wrongdoing, including bruises, support the state's theory of child abuse and homicide.
He brushed aside complaints raised by defense lawyers and Overton's supporters of overzealous prosecution and a failure to consider other possibilities for the salt poisoning.
“I've been doing this for 27 years. The defense lawyers try to get the media to put pressure on our office,” he said.

In forceful remarks made on camera last year, Valdez accused Overton of intentionally killing Andrew, but since then his position appears to have softened.
“I don't think he was forced to eat it. I think she put it on something he liked to eat, with the knowledge it would harm him, and with the intent to punish him,” he said.

A former New York prosecutor, the author of books on legal ethics and now a professor at Pace Law School in Philadelphia, Bennett Gershman is a nationally recognized expert on prosecutorial misconduct.
It perhaps was inevitable that he'd be found by supporters of Hannah Overton, who believe local prosecutors used foul play to convict her.

Gershman quickly took an interest in the unusual legal and medical aspects of the case, reviewing various pleadings, including those filed by both sides with the 13th Appellate Court in Nueces County.

“There are really troubling questions about the evidence and whether it's legally sufficient, and about the judge's instructions to the jury,” he concluded.

Most unusual to Gershman was the jury charge that led to her conviction of capital murder “by omission” for allegedly failing to seek proper medical attention.
“I don't know of a case that involves a conviction of murder for failure to provide medical care for a child. It seems to me to be an extremely excessive example of prosecutorial overcharging,” he said.

To the disinterested onlooker, it's not at all clear how Andrew died of salt poisoning.
“I think the death is so unexplained. Was it a homicide? Was it accidental? Or was it a medical anomaly?' he asked.

Gershman said he also was troubled by the non-disclosure by prosecutors of the opinions of Dr. Edgar Cortes, a Corpus Christi doctor who treated Andrew and was listed as a prosecution witness but never testified.

Defense lawyers say Cortes could have cast doubt on allegations of an intent to harm or kill Andrew, and that should have been disclosed. Prosecutors, however, say Cortes had seemed convinced of Overton's culpability all along.

After the verdict and sentencing, an upset Cortes contacted defense attorneys.

The Cortes matter, the jury instructions and complaints of prosecutorial misconduct all are part of an appeal pending with the 13th Court, which likely will be reset oral arguments later this fall.

After reviewing the case, Gershman was left troubled.
“A conviction for capital murder can't rest on such a flimsy, almost incredibly thin reed, as this one rests on. It rests on sand,” he said.