BC-TX--Texas News Digest, TX


Associated Press

Posted on July 12, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Updated Saturday, Jul 12 at 8:00 AM

Texas news at 8 p.m. CDT.

Terry Wallace is on the desk and reachable at 972-991-2100. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477. If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to aptexas@ap.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 1-888-273-6867.

— ADDS Houston-Suburban Shooting-Suspect.

— ADDS Houston-Suburban Shooting-Victim.

— ADDS Houston-Suburban Shooting-Alaska.

— UPDATES Immigration Overload.

— ADDS Immigration Overload-Dead Child.

— UPDATES Immigration Overload-Homeland Security.

— ADDS Mexico-Migrants Rescued.

— ADDS Smitherman-Fracking Letter.

— ADDS Perry-Grand Jury.

— ADDS Sniper Author-Ventura.

— ADDS Gulf Oil Spill-Deleted Texts.

— ADDS Rig Count.



SPRING, Texas — A man accused of killing six members of his ex-wife's family, including four children, after forcing his way into their suburban Houston home collapsed in court twice Friday as a prosecutor read out details of the crime. A shackled Ronald Lee Haskell was standing before a state district judge during a probable cause hearing when he fell to the ground. Deputies lifted him to his feet and the 33-year-old Haskell stood for about another minute before collapsing again. He was then lifted into a chair and wheeled from the courtroom. By Michael Graczyk. SENT: 830 words, photos, video.


— HOUSTON-SUBURBAN SHOOTING-SUSPECT — Court documents allege Ronald Lee Haskell, accused of fatally shooting six members of a suburban Houston family, became angry with his mother a week before the killings and choked her until she passed out. SENT: 130 words.

— HOUSTON-SUBURBAN SHOOTING-VICTIM — The lone survivor of a suburban Houston shooting that left six other members of her family dead is out of the hospital. SENT: 130 words.

— HOUSTON-SUBURBAN SHOOTING-ALASKA — The man accused of killing six members of his ex-wife's family, including four children, in Texas this week is a graduate of a suburban Anchorage high school, where he was voted class clown and homecoming king. SENT: 130 words.



WASHINGTON —A key Republican said Friday that President Barack Obama's multibillion-dollar emergency request for the border is too big to get through the House, as a growing number of Democrats rejected policy changes Republicans are demanding as their price for approving any money. The developments indicated that Obama faces an uphill climb as he pushes Congress to approve $3.7 billion to deal with tens of thousands of unaccompanied kids who've been arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border from poor and increasingly violent Central American nations. And they suggested that even as the children keep coming, any final resolution is likely weeks away on Capitol Hill. By Erica Werner. SENT: 820 words, photos, video.



GUATEMALA CITY — The body of a 15-year-old migrant was brought home Friday, nearly a month after he died in the hot, dry brushland of southern Texas and became a symbol for the perils facing unaccompanied children who have been flooding illegally into the U.S. The remains of Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez were flown to Guatemala City in a cargo plane and turned over to his father at the airport's small chapel. By Sonia Perez D. SENT: 370 words, photos.


SAN DIEGO — A U.S. effort to discourage immigrants' repeated attempts to enter the country illegally by dropping them back in Mexico hundreds of miles away from where they were caught has been sharply scaled back after producing relatively modest gains. U.S. authorities insist the Alien Transfer Exit Program has contributed to overall achievements in border security and say the cutbacks reflected a need to shift resources to deal with Central Americans pouring into Texas. By Elliot Spagat. SENT: 870 words, photos.


ARTESIA, New Mexico — U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited a New Mexico detention facility housing 400 Central American women and children Friday and warned immigrants that "we will send you back" if they try entering the country illegally. Johnson said the agency is working rapidly to open new detention facilities to house and more quickly deport the influx of immigrants fleeing violence, poverty and extortion in Central America. By Juan Carlos Llorca. SENT: 440 words, photos.


MEXICO CITY — Authorities said Friday they had rescued eight Salvadoran migrant youths who had been kidnapped by an equally youthful gang in northern Mexico. By Maria Verza. SENT: 360 words.



FORT WORTH, Texas — The head of the agency that regulates the oil and gas industry in Texas is asking officials of Denton in North Texas to withhold support from a grass-roots petition advocating a ban on hydraulic fracturing within the city limits. The university town sits on the Barnett Shale, believed to hold one of the largest natural gas reserves in the U.S. By Emily Schmall. SENT: 320 words.


— PERRY-GRAND JURY — Rep. Phil King is appearing before the grand jury investigating whether Texas Gov. Rick Perry abused his power by making good on a veto threat. SENT: 130 words.



ST. PAUL, Minn. — Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura testified Friday that he was not involved in a confrontation or fight with a military sniper who wrote in his book that he decked the former pro wrestler after an argument in 2006 at a California bar. Ventura testified Friday in his defamation lawsuit against the estate of author Chris Kyle, a former U.S. Navy SEAL who was fatally shot last year at a Texas gun range. In his autobiography, Kyle had claimed he punched Ventura and knocked him over after Ventura made disparaging remarks about the SEALs. By Amy Forliti. SENT: 680 words.


NEW ORLEANS — Federal prosecutors are appealing a judge's decision to grant a new trial to a former BP engineer convicted of obstructing justice in an investigation of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The notice of appeal in the case of Kurt Mix was filed Friday in U.S. District Court, where Mix was tried, and at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. By Kevin McGill. SENT: 240 words.


STURGEON BAY, Wis. — A woman, her son and another boy were rescued by a U. S. Coast Guard helicopter after spending the night adrift in their kayaks on the waters of Green Bay, officials said Friday. The three were plucked by the helicopter crew from the Michigan waters off the western tip of the Door County peninsula shortly after daybreak Friday, about 12 hours after they were reported missing, according to the Coast Guard. Door County sheriff's officials identified the three as Allison Alter, 43, her son, Zach Suri, 9, of Austin, Texas, and Thomas Alter, 9, of Highland Park, Illinois, a relative. SENT: 340 words.


PHOENIX — An Arizona woman convicted in her young son's disappearance nearly five years ago was released from prison Friday. Elizabeth Johnson was released from the Perryville state prison in Goodyear shortly after midnight Thursday. News footage showed her walking out of the prison and leaving in a SUV driven by her attorney, Marc Victor. Johnson had maintained her story that she gave Gabriel away to an unidentified couple in a park in San Antonio. By Paul Davenport and Brian Skoloff. SENT: 700 words, photos, video.


FORT WORTH, Texas — Darrell Abby carefully wipes down the fuselage of his Curtiss P-40 Warhawk for its first flight of the day. He checks the flaps, wiggles the rudder, pumps in gas and monitors the air pressure for the landing gear. Then he pulls on a grey heavy work glove before spinning the propeller to start the engine. While Abby's warbird has a wingspan of 86 inches — the real deal is 37 feet — the pre-flight checks he performs mimic those taken by a pilot before crawling into a cockpit. "We're very big on safety," said Abby, a 66-year-old retired Delta Air Lines pilot at a "fly-in" of model aircraft buffs in Fort Worth recently. "In my opinion, these things are like a real airplane." So it should come as no surprise that Abby and other hobbyists are in a four-foot hover over the FAA's recent efforts to clarify its rules for flying model aircraft in the wake of some recent incidents involving small remote-controlled aircraft, commonly referred to as drones. By Max Baker, Fort Worth Star-Telegram. SENT: 1,400 words, photos.


— KILLEEN-OFFICERS SHOT — A Central Texas man has pleaded not guilty in the May fatal shooting of a Killeen police officer who was serving a drug-related warrant. SENT: 130 words.

— FIERY POLICE CONFRONTATION — Authorities have filed charges against a man accused of setting himself and a police officer on fire before dashing through the parking lot of a suburban Dallas shopping strip as flames enveloped his body. SENT: 130 words.

— FATAL DWI-SENTENCE — A 24-year-old North Texas man with a prior drunken driving conviction and several counts of public intoxication has been sentenced to 12 years in prison on an intoxication manslaughter charge. SENT: 130 words.

— ABILENE-LAKE-BODY — Investigators have ruled out foul play in the death of a swimsuit-wearing woman whose body was discovered at a West Texas lake. SENT: 130 words.

— TANK EXPLOSION — State regulators say a worker had used a cutting torch when a Central Texas oilfield storage tank exploded and left him critically hurt. SENT: 130 words.

— ADOPTED TODDLER-DEATH — A North Texas man has been sentenced to life in prison over the 2011 fatal beating of his toddler son less than a month after adopting the boy. SENT: 130 words.

— FIREFIGHTER KILLED-SERVICE — A memorial service will be held this weekend for a veteran Houston firefighter who died after suffering burns while battling a house blaze. SENT: 130 words.

— SAN ANTONIO-POLICE-DEATH — Two San Antonio police officers have been put on administrative duty after the in-custody death of a theft suspect. SENT: 130 words.

— PAWNED CAMERA-CHILD PORN — A Southeast Texas man whose pawned camera yielded child pornography images has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. SENT: 130 words.

— AMERICAN-PASSENGER REMOVED — An American Airlines jet bound from New Jersey to North Texas safely diverted to St. Louis amid security concerns about a passenger's use of an electronic device. SENT: 130 words.

— REPRIEVED PIT BULL — A North Texas police officer who chose not to shoot a pit bull that acted aggressively toward passers-by has adopted the dog. SENT: 130 words, photo. SENT: 130 words.

— LONE RANGER OUTFIT-AUCTION — The outfit Lone Ranger actor Clayton Moore wore when he made appearances as the character after retiring from television is going up for auction in Texas. SENT: 130 words, photo.


— HALLIBURTON-CHINA — Houston-based Halliburton said Friday it is entering its first joint venture in China that will use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to unleash energy. SENT: 130 words.

— RIG COUNT — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by one this week to 1,875. SENT: 130 words.



HOUSTON — Scott Feldman pitches for the Astros as they look to extend their winning streak to four games when they open a series against the Boston Red Sox. John Lackey is scheduled to pitch for Boston. By Kristie Rieken. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts at 7:10 p.m. CT.


If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to aptexas@ap.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 888-273-6867. If you have questions about the Texas AP news report, please contact News Editor James Beltran at 972-991-2100 or jbeltran@ap.org.

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