BC-TX--Texas News Digest, TX


Associated Press

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 3:00 AM

Texas news at 7:15 p.m. CDT.

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— Texas Flooding-Assistance.

— XGR--Special Session-Transportation.

— XGR--Juvenile Justice.

— Stabbing Death-Stiletto Heel.

— Texas Execution.

— Houston Police-Teen Beating.

— Arlington Police-Investigation.

— Sexual Assault-Army.

— Immigrant-Rabies.

— Former Teacher-Arrest.

— Texas-Public Corruption.

— Plane Diverted-Phoenix.

— American Airlines-Seats.


HOUSTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency is refusing to provide money to help rebuild the small Texas town where a deadly fertilizer plant explosion leveled numerous homes and a school, and killed 15 people. According to a letter obtained by The Associated Press, FEMA said it reviewed the state's appeal to help West but decided that the explosion "is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration." By Ramit Plushnick-Masti.

AP photo.


— TEXAS FLOODING-ASSISTANCE — Federal officials are offering low-interest disaster loans to property owners damaged by severe weather and flooding that hit the San Antonio area last month.


AUSTIN, Texas — Republican state senators have rejected every proposed change to court-drawn political districts, setting the stage for what will likely be years of lawsuits. The Senate Redistricting Committee met in Austin and adopted the current political maps for use in 2014. Gov. Rick Perry called the Legislature into special session to adopt redistricting maps drawn by federal judges after a separate court declared maps drawn by lawmakers to be unconstitutional. By Chris Tomlinson.


AUSTIN, Texas — Texas would divert nearly $1 billion a year from its cash reserves to a fund dedicated to building and maintaining roads under a plan unveiled Wednesday to help ease the strain between the state's growing population and its crumbling infrastructure. By Jim Vertuno.


AUSTIN, Texas — Texas senators acted quickly on Gov. Rick Perry's call to approve a new punishment for 17-year-olds convicted of capital murder, voting on Wednesday to require a sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after serving at least 40 years. By Chris Tomlinson.


HOUSTON — It started out as a normal night where Ana Trujillo and her boyfriend went out to a local Houston bar they often frequented. They enjoyed a couple bottles of wine, and tossed back a few shots of tequila. But the evening soured, she told police, after another man approached her at the bar. He offered to buy her a drink, angering her boyfriend, Alf Stefan Andersson, a respected professor and researcher at the University of Houston. The two argued and left the bar in a huff. By Ramit Plushnick-Masti.

AP photos, video.


HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A Texas man who confessed to killing five people during a six-month crime spree in 1998 was executed Wednesday. Elroy Chester, 38, received lethal injection Wednesday evening in Huntsville for the fatal shooting of Port Arthur firefighter Willie Ryman III. Ryman interrupted Chester as he sexually assaulted Ryman's two teenage nieces during a break-in at their home 15 years ago. Chester was on probation at the time, was arrested soon after and subsequently pleaded guilty to Ryman's slaying. Evidence also showed Chester was responsible for three rapes and 25 home break-ins during his crime wave. By Michael Graczyk.


HOUSTON — The highest criminal court in Texas says a man in prison for 33 years after his death sentence was commuted to a life term officially has no conviction. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday ruled Jerry Hartfield's commutation was improperly issued after the court already vacated his conviction and ordered a new trial. That new trial hasn't been held. By Michael Graczyk.

AP photo


HOUSTON — A former Houston police officer convicted Wednesday for his role in the 2010 beating of a teenage burglary suspect that was caught on surveillance video will avoid prison because of a last-minute agreement that places him on probation for two years. After deliberating over two days, a six-person jury convicted Drew Ryser of official oppression, a misdemeanor. By Juan A. Lozano.

AP photo.


ARLINGTON, Texas — An Arlington police officer has been charged with a federal crime after authorities accused him of feeding confidential law enforcement information to a dealer who was supplying him and fellow officers with anabolic steroids.


FORT WORTH, Texas — Authorities on Wednesday charged a Fort Hood sergeant with paying for sex with a soldier in a prostitution scheme allegedly arranged by a low-level coordinator of the Texas Army post's sexual assault prevention program. By Angela K. Brown and Lolita C. Baldor.


HOUSTON — The Southern Baptist Convention approved a resolution Wednesday expressing its opposition to and disappointment in the Boy Scouts of America's new policy allowing gay Scouts. The resolution was voted on by members at the denomination's annual meeting in Houston. It also calls on the Boy Scouts to remove executive and board leaders who tried to allow gays as both members and leaders without consulting the many religious groups that sponsor Scout troops. By Juan Lozano and Travis Loller.

With AP photos.


— SOUTHERN BAPTISTS-ABUSE — The Southern Baptist Convention has passed a resolution calling on all Southern Baptists to report allegations of child abuse to authorities.


CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Mexican prosecutors have arrested 12 people in connection with the slayings of 11 young women whose skeletal remains were found near the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez early last year. By Ricardo Chavez and Mark Stevenson.


CANTON, Ga. — An ex-police officer from Georgia who was injured in a train accident during a veterans parade in Texas is accused of lying about receiving a Purple Heart medal and was arrested Wednesday, Cherokee County sheriff's officials said. By Phillip Lucas.

AP photo.


DES MOINES, Iowa — Corn farmers are feeling the impact of a cool, wet spring but are still expected to bring in a record crop this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its monthly report released Wednesday that farmers are expected to bring in 14 billion bushels of corn this year. That's 135 million bushels less than last month's estimate, reflecting the impact of the cooler spring. But that would still beat the 13.1 billion bushel record, set in 2009. Last year, farmers harvested only about 11 billion bushels because of the drought. By David Pitt.



KARNES CITY, Texas — Kaycee Mabe, 10, has always been "kind of interested" in science, but two days into the Karnes County Eagle Ford Energy Camp her feelings have changed. "I like it more now," Kayce said. That's music to Jeanette Winn's ears. The Karnes City Independent School District superintendent said she hopes the camp sparks excitement among students about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM fields.

By Linda Kastner of the San Antonio Express-News.


— IMMIGRANT-RABIES — An immigrant from Guatemala died while in U.S. custody from what doctors diagnosed as rabies, immigration officials said Wednesday.

— FORMER TEACHER-ARREST — A former teacher and coach at Odessa's famed Permian High School is charged with having an improper relationship with a student.

— TEXAS-POLICE CORRUPTION — The former Maverick County Waste Authority general manager has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $62,000 by forging county checks.

— HOUSTON POLICE-TEEN BEATING — Jurors deliberate for a second day in the trial of an ex-Houston police officer accused of participating in the beating of a teenage burglary suspect.

— PERRY-NEW YORK — The ambitious governors of Texas and New York are in a shootout as each tries to poach employers.

— AIR FORCE-SEX SCANDAL — An ex-trainer at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland has been sentenced to three months in military jail for having a sexual relationship with a female recruit.

— PLANE DIVERTED-PHOENIX — Authorities say a United Airlines flight from Houston to Los Angeles has been diverted to Phoenix after a strange odor was reported on board.



DALLAS — American Airlines expects to add more seats to some of its planes, which could mean less leg room for passengers. The airline's parent company, AMR Corp., disclosed the move in a regulatory filing Wednesday. American's vice president of flight service, Lauri Curtis, said that the airline constantly examines its operations, including trying to match the number of seats with travel demand. By Airlines Writer David Koenig.


— OMNI HOTELS-ACQUISITIONS — Omni Hotels & Resorts has reached a deal to buy five resorts from KSL Capital Partners, LLC.



SAN ANTONIO — The joy of a jaw-dropping rout of the defending champions that put the San Antonio Spurs two victories away from the title was muted afterward. Star point guard Tony Parker, the team's engine and the player most responsible for their latest appearance in the NBA Finals, limped out of the arena with a sore hamstring. Parker was scheduled to have an MRI on Wednesday, and the Spurs' chances of closing the series out may hang in the results. By Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski.