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October 08, 2018 - 12:00 am

SEX OFFENDERS-CHANGING LAWS

Texas Supreme Court to hear sex offender law challenge

(Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Supreme Court will consider a challenge to the state's retroactive sex offender laws that some say unfairly stack new punishments on those convicted in plea deals.

An Austin-American Statesman analysis of the Texas registry found that more than 2,800 sex offenders remain on the list despite being no longer required to register under terms of their probation.

Every qualifying sex offender was ordered onto the registry in 2005 after Texas expanded its sex offense laws. But that included some defendants who were promised in deals with prosecutors that they wouldn't have to be on the list after a certain amount of time.

In a lawsuit before the Supreme Court, San Antonio attorney Angela Moore argues that undoing plea bargains makes the agreements worthless.

Texas Department of Public Safety attorneys warn the lawsuit could relieve many "other sex offenders of their duty to register."

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GIRL FATALLY SHOT

Man arrested in fatal shooting of 16-year-old Dallas girl

DALLAS (AP) — Police say a 19-year-old man has been arrested on a manslaughter charge in the killing of a high school junior who, witnesses say, was shot in the head during a party at a home in north Dallas.

Dallas police say William Hester, of Mesquite, was arrested Sunday evening in the death of 16-year-old Jakiyah Wrightsil.

Police say officers responded to a call about a shooting at the apartment shortly after 4:30 a.m. Sunday and found Wrightsil's body. Multiple people were detained as they tried to leave the party.

Some witnesses told police that people had been playing with a gun during the party before Wrightsil was shot.

Jail records don't list an attorney who can speak on behalf of Hester, who has been booked into the Dallas County Jail.

WEST TEXAS FLOODING

Floods sweep away West Texas RV park, at least 4 missing

JUNCTION, Texas (AP) — Rescue crews in boats and helicopters are searching for at least four people missing since heavy rain washed away a recreational vehicle park in a small West Texas city.

Kimble County Sheriff Hilario Cantu said Monday morning that no fatalities have been confirmed in the floods in Junction, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) west of Austin, but that "all the RVs, everything, got swept away."

Cantu says state and local agencies are helping with the rescues. Police say the city of about 2,500 people has no electricity.

National Weather Service meteorologist Aaron Woodward says the main flooding is along the South Llano River, next to the RV park. Woodward says radar estimates show that up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain has fallen in the area since Sunday evening.

DEADLY WRECK-TEXAS

4 killed, child hurt in Central Texas traffic collision

BASTROP, Texas (AP) — Authorities say four people died and a child was critically injured when a speeding pickup truck hydroplaned on a rainy road near Austin, Texas, and struck an oncoming car.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Robbie Barrera told the Austin American-Statesman that two juveniles were among those killed in the crash Sunday in Bastrop County.

Barrera says the pickup was traveling at "an unsafe speed" in light of the rainfall at the time.

The pickup struck a Honda sedan. Barrera says the Honda's driver and three passengers were killed. A child in the Honda was critically hurt and airlifted to a hospital. Authorities haven't released the child's age or any of the victims' identities.

The pickup driver is in stable condition at a hospital.

DPS is investigating the wreck.

AMERICAN AIRLINES-STRANDED PASSENGERS

AA aims to avoid putting delayed travelers on other airlines

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines is telling employees to think twice before rebooking stranded customers on rival airlines, and regular economy-class passengers are the most likely to suffer when there are long delays or canceled flights.

A new policy at American directs airport agents not to rebook economy passengers on competing airlines — with no stated limit on how long they must wait for a seat on another American flight. A manager can make exceptions in a few cases, such as people flying to a wedding or funeral and those who would be stranded overnight with no hotel room.

By contrast, American told agents in late September to help the airline's best customers get to their destinations quickly, even if it means putting them on Delta or United.

BARBARA BUSH-WEDDING

Former first daughter Barbara Bush gets married

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (AP) — Former first daughter Barbara Bush has gotten married.

Her father, former President George W. Bush, escorted his daughter down the aisle while her grandfather, former President George H.W. Bush, watched the ceremony at the family's Walker Point compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, on Sunday.

The 36-year-old married 37-year-old screenwriter Craig Coyne.

Her twin sister, Jenna Bush Hager, told NBC's "Today" show on Monday Barbara wore something borrowed — a bracelet her grandfather had given to his wife on their 70th wedding anniversary. Her namesake and grandmother, former first lady Barbara Bush, died at age 92 in April.

The bride is the co-founder of public health nonprofit Global Health Corps.

The couple will live in New York.

TEXAS EXECUTION

Texas appeals court puts execution on hold

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas' highest criminal appeals court has put on hold an execution that was scheduled for this week.

Juan Segundo was set to be executed Wednesday for the rape and slaying of 11-year-old Vanessa Villa. He was arrested nearly 19 years after the 1986 crime when a DNA match tied him to the cold case slaying in Fort Worth.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday ordered that his execution be put on hold in light of a 2017 U.S. Supreme Court decision that invalidated the state's method of discerning intellectual disability. Attorneys for Segundo have argued that he's intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for execution.

Segundo's attorneys also say the trial judge incorrectly allowed evidence on other offenses.

Ten inmates have been put to death in Texas so far this year.

POLICE PURSUIT-FATALITY

Fleeing driver kills sleeping homeless woman in Texas

HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities say a fleeing driver in Texas killed a sleeping homeless woman when he crashed into a utility box.

The pursuit began early Sunday when a deputy with the Harris County Constable Precinct One office saw the driver speed past him and then refuse to pull over.

A statement from the agency says the driver lost control while fleeing and crashed into a utility box, hitting the homeless woman. It says the driver, who tried to flee the scene but was detained, "appeared to be intoxicated." The woman was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Authorities say they found marijuana and a pistol inside the suspect's vehicle. Charges are pending and the case has been referred to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

BALENCIAGA EXHIBIT

Texas museum exhibit features Balenciaga's designs in black

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — More than 100 items including dresses, gowns, suits, jackets and accessories — all in black — designed by famed Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga will be showcased in an exhibit at a Texas museum.

"Balenciaga in Black," which opens Sunday at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, focuses on the designer's artistry in working with black fabrics, embroideries and lace. The items were created by the late designer in the prime of his career — from the 1940s through the 1960s.

Museum director Eric M. Lee says Balenciaga "is among the most influential fashion designers of modern times."

Complementing the exhibit will be another featuring more than 85 works by the Spanish artist Goya. The exhibit, "Goya in Black and White," features his work in back ink on white paper.

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This story corrects the spelling of the designer's first name to Cristobal.

OVERDOSE DEATHS-DOCTOR ARRESTED

Ex-doctor pleads guilty to drug charges over patient deaths

(Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com)

SHERMAN, Texas (AP) — A former North Texas pain management doctor accused of prescribing painkillers that contributed to the deaths of at least seven people in two states has pleaded guilty to federal drug distribution charges.

Federal prosecutors say 57-year-old Howard Gregg Diamond pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and other charges. Diamond will serve 20 years in federal prison.

A federal grand jury alleged last year that Diamond conspired with others to write unnecessary prescriptions for highly addictive drugs like fentanyl, hydrocodone and morphine. Prosecutors alleged the prescriptions resulted in seven deaths in Texas and Oklahoma from 2012 to 2016.

Peter Schulte, Diamond's attorney, told the Dallas Morning News Diamond acknowledged responsibility for just one patient overdose.

The Texas Medical Board suspended Diamond last year.

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