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U.S. judge orders fixes to ‘still broken’ Texas foster care system

Texas Digest: DA to seek death penalty in Tech shooting, lawyer says


WEST TEXAS

Lawyer: Death penalty sought in Tech shooting

An attorney for a 19-year-old student charged in the fatal shooting of a Texas Tech University police officer says prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty against his client if he’s convicted of capital murder.

KLBK-TV in Lubbock reported that defense attorney Dennis Reeves indicated in a court filing Tuesday that the state will seek to execute Hollis Daniels III of Seguin if he’s found guilty. Prosecutors have not said whether they will seek the death penalty; a gag order has been issued in the case.

The lawyer’s filing also indicates that Daniels might not be found competent to stand trial. A previous attorney for Daniels requested that he receive a mental health evaluation.

Daniels is being held in lieu of $5 million bail.

Investigators say officer Floyd East Jr. was shot Oct. 9 at campus police headquarters while booking Daniels on a drug possession charge.

WEST TEXAS

Man gets life sentence for shooting 2 officers

A man has been sentenced to life in prison after a jury convicted him of attempted capital murder in the 2015 shooting of two police officers at an apartment complex.

The Ector County jury found Roy Daniel Garza guilty Friday of two counts of attempted capital murder, and he was sentenced shortly afterward.

An Odessa police sergeant was shot in the arm and an officer suffered wounds to the chest and leg during a nine-hour standoff. Both men recovered.

Garza shot at a group of law enforcement personnel as he was being served a warrant from Williamson County for aggravated robbery.

He eventually surrendered after gas canisters were fired into his apartment and an armored police vehicle was used to break a wall.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

‘Where’s Waldo?’ book banned in prisons

The children’s book “Where’s Waldo? Santa Spectacular” is among the 10,000 books banned from Texas prisons, but Adolf Hitler’s autobiography “Mein Kampf” made the cut.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice provided to The Dallas Morning News the list of banned publications and the more than 248,000 works that inmates are allowed to read.

Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple,” a Pulitzer-Prize winner for fiction, and the 2005 best-seller “Freakonomics” also are not allowed. But two books by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke are OK.

There are a variety of reasons the agency bans books, such as graphic depictions of illegal sex acts or information on criminal schemes.

The agency also won’t allow covers that can be used to hide contraband, which is why the “Harry Potter: Film Wizardry” popup book isn’t allowed.

NORTH TEXAS

Hospital to pay $7.5 million over kickback allegations

A physician-owned hospital in Dallas has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle claims that it paid in the form of marketing services in return for surgical referrals.

The Justice Department said in a statement Friday that Pine Creek Medical Center engaged in a kickback scheme between 2009 and 2014. As part of its settlement, Pine Creek has a corporate integrity agreement that requires internal compliance measures for the next five years.

The settlement resolves a whistleblower lawsuit and will pay two former Pine Creek marketing employees $1.125 million.

A call to the Pine Creek Medical Center administrator was met with a full voicemail box.

NORTH TEXAS

Study: Quakes spurred on long-dormant faults

A new university study has found that earthquakes registered recently in North Texas have occurred on faults awakened by human activity after they had lain dormant for at least 300 million years.

The study by Southern Methodist University researchers was published online last week in the journal Science Advances. The research supports recent assertions that the earthquakes were induced by human activity, not naturally.

The conclusion is apart from previous study results that correlated earth tremors to the timing of wastewater injection associated with the fracking process for oil and gas drilling. Nevertheless, the researchers say it corroborates those previous findings.

Texas, Oklahoma and other states have had earthquakes in recent years that scientists have linked to wastewater injection wells.



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