- Staff American-Statesman staff
Motorcyclist dies in crash
A crash between a car and a motorcycle on the Research Boulevard service road left the rider dead and closed a key portion of the road Monday afternoon.
The incident occurred a little after 1 p.m. at the 8300 block of Research Boulevard service road, just south of Lazy Lane and just north of the Lamar Boulevard intersection.
Medics tried to revive the victim but he died at the scene, authorities said.
The wreck was cleared shortly after 3 p.m.
— Nolan Hicks, American-Statesman
Robbery suspect jailed in Killeen
A man wanted in connection with an Austin jewelry store robbery last month was arrested Sunday in Killeen, according to jail and court records.
Deon Lashawn Clay, 26, was booked Sunday into the Bell County Jail on charges of aggravated robbery, evading arrest and giving a false statement to obtain property or credit.
An arrest affidavit filed in Travis County on Monday accused Clay of being one of two men who held up a jewelry store in the 6300 block of Interstate 35 North on Nov. 25.
The affidavit said investigators identified Clay after he pawned jewelry that had been swiped during a heist at a pawn shop in Killeen a few days after the Austin robbery.
Police had tracked Clay down to his home in the 300 block of Libra Drive in Killeen, the affidavit said.
The document also said Clay had been paroled from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on Oct. 2.
— Mark D. Wilson, American-Statesman
Police: Man choked woman while she was driving
A woman’s ex-boyfriend choked her and held a knife to her throat as she was driving, making her swerve on the road with their 3-month-old son in the backseat, according to an arrest affidavit.
Gabriel Melant, 22, of Georgetown, was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon and endangering a child.
The incident happened Thursday. The victim told police Melant had been released from prison on parole the week before the incident, the affidavit said. She said Melant had called Thursday to apologize for verbally abusing her Wednesday and asked to see their son, according to the document.
It said the victim picked up Melant in her car with their son in the backseat and began driving to her home when Melant threw her phone at her, hit her in the leg and began to strangle her as she was on University Avenue approaching the intersection with the Southeast Loop.
The woman said she was swerving as she was fighting off Melant and that other vehicles on the road were honking at her as she struggled to avoid hitting them, the affidavit said.
It said as soon as Melant stopped strangling the victim, he pulled out a large kitchen knife and placed it against her throat. He told her she deserved to die and that he was going to kill her, the document said. The victim got to her house, where Melant got out of her car and allowed the victim to call his mother to come pick him up, it said.
After Melant left, he sent the victim messages telling her not to call police, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit said police saw bruising on the victim’s arm and leg and on the sides of her neck.
After they arrested him, Melant said he only got into a verbal argument with the victim. He was being held in the Williamson County Jail on Monday with bail set at $250,000.
— Claire Osborn, American-Statesman
Man escaped mental ward, set house fire, police say
A man is charged with arson after he escaped a mental health facility and set his family’s home on fire, according to an arrest affidavit.
On Thursday evening the Austin Fire Department responded to a call about a fire at a home near the 5000 block of Sunset Trail. Firefighters put out the fire, which was contained to a bedroom, and determined it was intentionally set, the affidavit says.
Edward Avalos, 28, was at the home when police arrived, and told them he had escaped from the Next Step mental health facility, where he had stayed for about three weeks, the affidavit says. Avalos told police he got angry at his mother because she was upset when he arrived at the house, and at his brother, who was staying in his room, the document says.
Avalos set his brother’s bed on fire and broke things in the house before the fire crew arrived, the affidavit says.
Police said they heard crashing sounds coming from inside the home when they arrived and found Avalos inside the home with a shovel, according to the affidavit.
It is still unclear how Avalos left the mental health facility, which did not respond to a request for comment from the Statesman on Saturday.
Avalos is currently at Travis County jail with a bond set to $30,000 as of Saturday.
— Anusha Lalani, American-Statesman