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September 27, 2018 - 12:00 am


2nd Texas inmate set for execution this week wants it halted

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas death row inmate who insists he didn't fatally run over his girlfriend in a jealous rage more than 18 years ago is facing execution in what would be the state's second lethal injection this week.

Daniel Acker is scheduled to die Thursday evening for the March 2000 slaying of Marquetta George of Sulphur Springs.

Prosecutors say Acker ran over George with his truck in rural northeast Texas because he believed she had been unfaithful to him.

Acker's attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay his execution, arguing he's innocent of capital murder because his 32-year-old girlfriend's fatal injuries were due to her decision to jump from his truck after he abducted her.

Acker would be the second Texas inmate put to death in as many days.


Jury stops deliberating for the day in ex-Texas cop's trial

DALLAS (AP) — The jury has completed its first day of deliberations in the trial of a former suburban Dallas police officer charged with aggravated assault in the shooting of an unarmed black man.

Deliberations will resume Thursday morning in the trial of Derick Wiley. Jurors deliberated for about five hours Wednesday.

Mesquite police fired the black officer after the November 2017 shooting that wounded Lyndo Jones, who had been sitting in his pickup prior to being shot. Jones was struck in the back twice by gunfire after starting to run.

Police video shows Jones pleading with Wiley not to shoot just before the gunfire.

A defense lawyer says Wiley was forced to make a split-second decision after being led to believe Jones was stealing from the truck.

Wiley testified he thought Jones had a weapon so he should "shoot or get shot."


Texas lawmaker denies sending explicit texts to grad student

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Attorneys for a Texas lawmaker say he didn't send "any inappropriate texts" following a report that the University of Texas is investigating allegations made by a graduate student.

Republican state Sen. Charles Schwertner has denied allegations reported by the Austin American-Statesman that he sent a sexually explicit text message to a student he met this summer during an on-campus event.

Schwertner's attorneys said in a statement Wednesday that the 48-year-old senator is "devastated" and "concerned for the unnamed victim," who wasn't identified by the newspaper. His attorneys say they're in contact with university officials.

University of Texas spokesman Gary Susswein says the school doesn't discuss ongoing investigations and couldn't confirm the newspaper report.

Schwertner was first elected to the Texas Legislature in 2010. He's up for re-election in November.


Murder suspect held by Texas police before killings began

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man with a history of violence who'd been deported from the United States six times wasn't flagged for arrest by Houston police before he arrived in California, where's now charged in a series of killings.

Houston police say Ramon Escobar came to their attention when his aunt and uncle disappeared in August but he was released since no foul play was suspected.

Authorities say Escobar arrived in California earlier this month and began a string of attacks that killed three men and seriously injured four.

Escobar was charged Wednesday.

It wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released the Salvadoran native from custody after Escobar won an appeal in immigration court in 2016.

It's not immediately clear how he won, considering his record.


Biker gang's president sentenced to life imprisonment

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced the national president of the notorious Bandidos biker gang to life plus 10 years in prison for directing a violent racketeering and drug trafficking enterprise.

Jeffrey Faye Pike of Conroe, Texas, was sentenced Wednesday. The 63-year-old leader of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization was convicted with Vice President John Xavier Portillo (pohr-TEE'-yoh) of San Antonio in May after a lengthy trial in San Antonio.

The jury convicted Pike and Portillo of racketeering conspiracy, murder conspiracy, racketeering assault, murder racketeering, extortion and weapons violations. Portillo also was convicted of another racketeering murder count, drug trafficking and drug trafficking conspiracy, and another weapons count. He was sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus 20 years Monday.

The case arose from the 2006 killing of Anthony Benesh.


Ted Cruz takes unlikely role as a bulwark of stability

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Ted Cruz is talking again about chaos in Washington, only this time he's not the one causing it.

He says that if Democrats retake Congress, they could begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump that "effectively locks every federal agency in gridlock," unleashing "naked political warfare."

Only five years ago, the same Ted Cruz rode a wave of tea party outrage to the Senate with the declared intention of wreaking havoc on the status quo. And he did, for establishment Republicans as much as President Barack Obama.

But with GOP analysts now worried that turmoil around the Trump White House is hurting the party's midterm election chances by alienating moderate voters, Cruz is suddenly casting himself as a bulwark against the forces of political anarchy.


Louisiana's 'admitting privileges' abortion law upheld

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court panel has ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that abortion providers have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals does not violate women's constitutional abortion rights.

Wednesday's 2-1 ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals notes a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down an admitting privileges law in Texas. But, the majority said, Louisiana's law does not impose the same "substantial burden" on women as the Texas law.

The majority said there is no evidence that any Louisiana clinics will close because of the law.

Supporters of the law said abortion doctors need to be able to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles (50 kilometers) in case of medical complications. Opponents said the law would make it very difficult or impossible for many women to obtain abortions.


Arizona city ends contract for immigrant detention center

ELOY, Ariz. (AP) — A small city in Arizona has ended its role in an unusual contract that allowed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to run a family detention center in Texas.

Eloy already had a contract with ICE and the private detention company CoreCivic for a detention facility in Eloy when it entered the contract involving the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley.

The new contract was approved in 2014 to allow the government to bypass a procurement process and open the Texas site quickly during a surge of children and families coming across the border.

A report by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General in February slammed ICE over the contract, saying it didn't follow federal procurement guidelines.

Eloy City Manager Harvey Krauss said the contract netted about $1.5 million in revenue for the city and was always intended to be temporary.

ICE didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.


Immigration officers arrest 98 in Texas, Oklahoma operation

DALLAS (AP) — Federal officers have arrested 98 people in a Texas and Oklahoma immigration enforcement sweep that authorities say could lead to dozens of deportations.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday announced officers made 87 arrests in North Texas and 11 in Oklahoma. The 10-day law enforcement effort concluded Friday.

ICE officials say most of those immigrants targeted by deportation officers have criminal convictions. Officials say 29 of those arrested had illegally re-entered the U.S. after being deported.

Agency authorities say deportation officers, during similar operations, have encountered other immigrants believed to be in the U.S. illegally and those individuals could also face arrest.


Emily Guevara promoted to editor of Tyler Morning Telegraph

(Information from: Tyler Morning Telegraph,

TYLER, Texas (AP) — Emily Guevara has been promoted from managing editor to editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

The newspaper reports that Guevara, who's 34, is a San Antonio-born former Texas A&M University student who started her newspaper career with three years at the Beaumont Enterprise. She moved to Tyler in 2010 and moved from reporter to city editor and to managing editor.

She succeeds Allison Pollan, who resigned to become director of communications for UT Health East Texas.


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