Crime

Suspect’s gun ties neighbor’s death to shooting binge, Austin police say

Charles Curry, 29, and the man he is accused of killing, 32-year-old Christian Meroney, so far appear to be linked only as neighbors and by ballistics evidence found in their shared South Austin apartment building, according to court documents made public Monday. Investigators did not reveal a possible motive for Meroney’s shooting death in an arrest affidavit filed against Curry, who is charged...
Austin man broke into 2 Amy’s Ice Creams locations, affidavit says

Austin man broke into 2 Amy’s Ice Creams locations, affidavit says

An Austin man broke into two different Amy’s Ice Creams locations, once in March and again this month, according to his arrest affidavit. Gerard Ricasolo, 55, is accused of forcing his way into the Amy’s Ice Creams on South Lamar Boulevard near Manchaca Road, his affidavit says. Video surveillance shows he tried to access the store’s safe, but was unsuccessful, the document says...

Texas Digest: Store owner’s killer set for execution Tuesday

CRIMINAL JUSTICE Store owner’s killer set for execution Condemned prisoner Christopher Young says there’s no question he fatally shot a San Antonio convenience store owner but insists he never intended to kill the man whose slaying was recorded on a surveillance camera. “I’ve never denied the crime,” Young said recently from a visiting cage outside Texas death row. &ldquo...
$4.8 million in drugs seized in South Austin traffic stop, police say

$4.8 million in drugs seized in South Austin traffic stop, police say

SOUTH AUSTIN Police: $4.8 million in drugs seized during traffic stop Austin police seized more than 130 pounds of drugs worth $4.8 million last week after a traffic stop on Interstate 35 South near the Texas 45 South interchange. Armando Martinez, 43, was arrested after officers found 82 pounds of cocaine, 50 pounds of methamphetamine and 6 pounds of heroin inside the rims of his car, police said...
$4.8 million in drugs seized during traffic stop in South Austin, police say

$4.8 million in drugs seized during traffic stop in South Austin, police say

Austin police seized more than 130 pounds of drugs worth $4.8 million last week after a traffic stop on Interstate 35 South near the Texas 45 South interchange.  Armando Martinez, 43, was arrested after officers found 82 pounds of cocaine, 50 pounds of methamphetamine and 6 pounds of heroin inside the rims of his car, police said. Travis County Jail records show he was booked on three charges...
Gun ties shooting suspect Charles Curry to neighbor’s death, affidavit says

Gun ties shooting suspect Charles Curry to neighbor’s death, affidavit says

Authorities said ballistics evidence ties Charles Curry, a man accused of randomly shooting Austin motorists last week, with the killing of his neighbor two days earlier, according to court documents. Curry was charged with murder on Friday night in the death of his neighbor, 32-year-old Christian Meroney. Curry was booked into the Travis County Jail Thursday on charges of aggravated assault with...
Week 2 of Criner trial in death of Haruka Weiser set to start Monday

Week 2 of Criner trial in death of Haruka Weiser set to start Monday

The capital murder trial of Meechaiel Criner, who is accused of killing University of Texas dance student Haruka Weiser in April 2016, begins a second week on Monday with prosecutors introducing more evidence they say ties Criner to the crime. When proceedings ended last week, Austin police detective Ray Tynes had finished listing the various items he discovered in the search of a vacant building...

Man critically hurt after collision with truck near downtown Austin

DOWNTOWN AUSTIN Man critically hurt after collision with semi-truck A man was critically injured after his vehicle was pinned beneath a semi-truck in the 2300 block of Interstate 35 near Manor Road early Sunday. Austin-Travis County EMS medics and firefighters responded around 4 a.m. Fire crews had to lift the semi-truck off the car to remove the person. The rescue took about 30 minutes. One man was...

Texas Digest: Man accused of being former cartel leader to go on trial

WACO ‘Comandante Kiko’ to go on trial A 38-year-old man authorities describe as a former leader of the Zetas drug cartel in Mexico is scheduled for a federal court trial starting Monday in Waco on charges of conspiracy to traffic drugs inland through South Texas, conspiracy to possess firearms and laundering millions of dollars in drug proceeds. Juan Francisco Trevino Chavez Jr., also...
Drunken driver hit Austin police vehicle, fled scene, affidavit says

Drunken driver hit Austin police vehicle, fled scene, affidavit says

A driver is accused of hitting a police vehicle while drunk and driving off, an arrest affidavit said. Court documents said the officer was sitting in his vehicle at the scene of a crash in the 500 block of Bastrop Highway (U.S. 183 just south of Vargas Road) shortly before 2:30 a.m. Saturday. He had been flashing his lights to alert oncoming traffic to the crash when a driver, identified in the affidavit...
Man accused of grabbing girl at Sunset Valley Home Depot, police say

Man accused of grabbing girl at Sunset Valley Home Depot, police say

A man was arrested Saturday afternoon after witnesses said he grabbed a 7-year-old girl at a Home Depot in Sunset Valley, according to an arrest affidavit. The child was with her father’s girlfriend at the store in the 1200 block of Home Depot Blvd. when a man came from behind, and grabbed her by the shoulders, the affidavit said. He said, “Can you help me?” and tried to pull the...

Texas Digest: Girl who sparked opposition to separations back with mom

HOUSTON Girl who fueled opposition rejoins mom A 6-year-old girl from El Salvador who became a face of the Trump administration’s practice of separating immigrant families at the border has been reunited with her mother. Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid and her mother, Cindy Madrid, were separated after U.S. authorities detained them June 13 for illegally entering the United States near Harlingen...
Georgetown police say man sent lewd video to cop posing as 15-year-old

Georgetown police say man sent lewd video to cop posing as 15-year-old

GEORGETOWN An Austin man is accused of sending naked pictures and a video of himself masturbating to a Georgetown police officer posing as a 15-year-old girl on Craigslist, according to an arrest affidavit. Scott Phillips II, 31, was charged with online solicitation of a minor, a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The officer put an ad on Craigslist on July 5 posing as a...
Testimony: Charred boot led to Criner’s arrest in UT student slaying

Testimony: Charred boot led to Criner’s arrest in UT student slaying

Dr. Martens boots have a distinct look featuring the brand’s iconic yellow stitching that connects the top of the shoe to a thick, air-cushioned sole. University of Texas freshman Haruka Weiser owned a pair, and so did Ray Tynes, an Austin police detective whose discovery of the shoe led to the arrest of Meechaiel Criner, now accused of killing Weiser in April 2016. As Criner’s capital...
Dog rescue leads to animal cruelty conviction for Lockhart rancher

Dog rescue leads to animal cruelty conviction for Lockhart rancher

Shana Best had just started working for rancher CJ Tobler on his 50-acre property in Caldwell County, tending to chicken coops and pig stalls, when she found Brock, a French bulldog, lying on a urine-soaked shred of cardboard with piles of feces around him. Brock was resting on his right side with his front legs skinned from the elbows down, bite wounds on his back legs and face and an abscessed right...
Murder suspect sought gun suppressor just before rampage, police say

Murder suspect sought gun suppressor just before rampage, police say

More details emerged Friday in court documents about how murder suspect Charles Curry spent Wednesday afternoon before a shooting rampage in South Austin that injured two women. Austin police investigating the case retraced the steps they think the 29-year-old former political staffer took before the shootings, starting at a South Austin gun range, where they said Curry had been turned down from buying...
Austin man sent lewd video to cop posing as 15-year-old, police say

Austin man sent lewd video to cop posing as 15-year-old, police say

An Austin man is accused of sending naked pictures and a video of himself masturbating to a Georgetown police officer posing as a 15-year-old girl on Craigslist, according to an arrest affidavit. Scott Phillips II, 31, was charged with online solicitation of a minor, a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The officer put an ad on Craigslist on July 5 posing as a 15-year-old...
More Travis County deputies getting crucial mental health training

More Travis County deputies getting crucial mental health training

Deputy Wes James stepped into a classroom at the Travis County sheriff’s office academy in Del Valle on Friday and came face to face with a woman who told him she was seeing demons and needed his help. She paced back and forth and fumbled with her hands as she spoke to creatures who weren’t there, then told James they were telling her to hurt people. James stayed calm and made sure he...
Firm hired to review Cedar Park police policies shares recommendations

Firm hired to review Cedar Park police policies shares recommendations

A firm hired to review Cedar Park Police Department policies and procedures says the department needs to improve supervision, reduce the caseload for detectives and create a system for tracking cases. Rob Davis, an executive senior vice president at Hillard Heintze, presented the findings to the Cedar Park City Council on Thursday night. Davis also praised the department for its “family atmosphere&rdquo...

Texas Digest: Eight MS-13 gang members indicted, authorities say

DALLAS Officials: 8 MS-13 gang members indicted Authorities say eight MS-13 members in the U.S. illegally have been indicted on charges tied to alleged gang activities including racketeering conspiracy, attempted murder and assault. U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox announced the charges at a news conference Friday in Dallas. Cox said seven suspects are in custody. Janet Pearre, a spokeswoman for the U...

Credit card skimmer spotted on Howard Lane in Northeast Austin

NORTHEAST AUSTIN Credit card skimmer spotted on Howard Lane The Texas Department of Agriculture said an illegal credit card data skimmer was spotted Friday at a gas station in Northeast Austin. The skimmer, which can steal a victim’s financial data from credit cards, was discovered on pump No. 4 at the Minimax Food Mart at 1033 East Howard Lane on the corner of Howard and Harris Ridge Road,...
SCAM ALERT: Credit card skimmer spotted on Howard Lane in Northeast Austin

SCAM ALERT: Credit card skimmer spotted on Howard Lane in Northeast Austin

The Texas Department of Agriculture said an illegal credit card data skimmer was spotted Friday at a gas station in Northeast Austin. The skimmer, which can steal a victim’s financial data from credit cards, was discovered on pump No. 4 at the Minimax Food Mart at 1033 East Howard Lane on the corner of Howard and Harris Ridge Road, the department said in a statement. “Pump was closed...
Shooting rampage suspect to be charged with murder tonight, police say

Shooting rampage suspect to be charged with murder tonight, police say

5 p.m. update: The man accused of going on a shooting rampage in South Austin on Wednesday will be charged with murder in the killing of a man who died Monday, police said.  Police will file a murder charge against Charles Curry later today in the death of Christian Meroney, 32, police said.  Austin police said they recovered a gun from Curry’s vehicle that linked him to Wednesday&rsquo...
TODAY: Criner jury to hear testimony on Haruka Weiser’s burned clothing

TODAY: Criner jury to hear testimony on Haruka Weiser’s burned clothing

Testimony will continue at 8:30 a.m. Friday in the capital murder trial of Meechaiel Criner, 20, who is accused of strangling and sexually assaulting University of Texas dance student Haruka Weiser on campus two years ago. Through his attorneys, Criner has denied being in the vicinity along Waller Creek where authorities found Weiser on April 5, 2016. FOLLOW LIVE: Courtroom updates from Meechaiel...
Southeast Austin apartments OK after reports of suspicious package, police say 

Southeast Austin apartments OK after reports of suspicious package, police say 

Authorities investigating reports of a suspicious package at a Southeast Austin apartment complex have cleared the scene, officials said Thursday night.  Hays County deputies, who were serving a warrant in Austin, found the suspicious package at 7:22 p.m. while searching an apartment unit in the 1800 block of East Stassney Lane.  The Austin police SWAT team had detained a man there...
Travis County deputies identify man who died under ‘suspicious circumstances’ 

Travis County deputies identify man who died under ‘suspicious circumstances’ 

Travis County sheriff’s officials on Thursday identified a man whose body was found in southeastern Travis County. Johnny Cardenas, 31, of Austin, was found dead Wednesday in the 9800 block of Blocker Lane, sheriff’s officials said. His death is being investigated by the department’s homicide unit. “There are suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Cardenas...
Criner trial: Crime weapons came from UT storage room, prosecutors say

Criner trial: Crime weapons came from UT storage room, prosecutors say

The bloody Waller Creek crime scene in the killing of University of Texas dance student Haruka Weiser might be connected to a messy storage room across the street at the 100,000-seat Royal-Memorial Stadium that could help answer some of the remaining questions in her death. In the second day of testimony in the capital murder trial of Meechaiel Criner, a former UT student testified Thursday he had...
Shooting rampage suspect targeted victims at random, Austin police say

Shooting rampage suspect targeted victims at random, Austin police say

Austin police on Thursday said a former policy analyst at the Legislature is a suspect in the fatal shooting of a man at a South Austin apartment complex Monday and in a shooting rampage Wednesday that left two women injured. Charles Curry, 29, was arrested about 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Post South Lamar apartment complex at 1500 S. Lamar Blvd. Curry has been charged with aggravated assault with a...
Consul: DPS helped Bastrop traffic operation that led to deportations

Consul: DPS helped Bastrop traffic operation that led to deportations

A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper participated in the Bastrop County sheriff’s controversial “zero tolerance” traffic enforcement operation, which resulted in 24 people being arrested and 14 of them picked up by immigration authorities for deportation proceedings, according to Carlos González Gutiérrez, the Mexican consul for Austin. González said he...
Sutherland Springs suit alleges military negligence led to massacre

Sutherland Springs suit alleges military negligence led to massacre

A woman who was shot four times during the Sutherland Springs church shooting last year is suing the U.S. government, alleging that it failed to prevent the deadliest mass shooting in modern Texas history. Margarette Vidal and her children, Monica Shabbir, Robert Vidal, and Ramiro Vidal Jr., filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday seeking damages from the government for physical pain and suffering...
Travis County deputies now equipped with opioid-reversing naloxone

Travis County deputies now equipped with opioid-reversing naloxone

All Travis County sheriff’s patrol deputies will now carry the life-saving drug naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, after a statewide organization gave the department the medication this week. The Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative donated to the sheriff’s office 480 doses of the drug at a cost of about $18,000, its co-founder Charles Thibodeaux said Thursday...
Man wanted in Hays County detained after SWAT call in South Austin, police say 

Man wanted in Hays County detained after SWAT call in South Austin, police say 

3:10 p.m. update: The Austin police SWAT team detained a man wanted in Hays County who had barricaded himself inside a South Austin apartment unit, officials said Thursday afternoon.  Luis Ernesto Aguilar Pantoja, 27, was wanted on two charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one charge of deadly conduct discharging a firearm.  Members of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force...
Trio kidnapped, robbed UPS driver making delivery, Austin police say

Trio kidnapped, robbed UPS driver making delivery, Austin police say

Police have accused two men and a woman of kidnapping and robbing a UPS driver during a delivery in East Austin last month, on Wednesday, court documents said. Edward Johnson Jr., 31, Michelle Macias, 30, and Christopher Martin, 23, face charges of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon Wednesday. Johnson, Macias, and Martin were not in police custody Thursday, jail records...
UPDATE: Attacker in shooting rampage randomly targeted victims, Austin police say 

UPDATE: Attacker in shooting rampage randomly targeted victims, Austin police say 

2:30 p.m. update: Authorities have determined that the weapon used in a shooting rampage Wednesday matched the one used to kill a man at a South Austin apartment complex on Monday, Assistant Police Chief Joe Chacon said. Chacon on Thursday said four shootings Wednesday involved several 911 calls across South Austin, most of them within an hour.  The first incident was reported at...
SCAM ALERT: Credit card skimmer spotted at San Marcos gas station off I-35

SCAM ALERT: Credit card skimmer spotted at San Marcos gas station off I-35

The Texas Department of Agriculture said an illegal credit card data skimmer was spotted last week at a gas station in San Marcos. The skimmer, which can steal a victim’s financial data from credit cards, was discovered July 6 on pump No. 12 at the Exxon on the corner of Wonder World Drive and the Interstate 35 North frontage road, the department said in a statement Thursday. “Local law...
Possible suspect in Cedar Park H-E-B carjacking in custody, police say

Possible suspect in Cedar Park H-E-B carjacking in custody, police say

Cedar Park police on Thursday said they have arrested a possible suspect in a carjacking that occurred last weekend in an H-E-B parking lot. Authorities had been looking for a man who forced a family out of their red 2015 Mazda CX5 in an H-E-B store parking lot at 2800 E. Whitestone Blvd. before driving away in the vehicle just after 10 p.m. on July 7. “Thanks to the help and reports of community...
Suspect in UT slaying may have lived near stadium, prosecutors say

Suspect in UT slaying may have lived near stadium, prosecutors say

12:35 p.m. update: A former University of Texas student took the witness stand Thursday in the capital murder trial of Meechaiel Criner and described a storage room at Belmont Hall that prosecutors say helps prove Criner killed dance major Haruka Weiser in 2016. The former student, Jose Sandoval, said he had an agreement with the recreational sports department to use the room connected to Royal-Memorial...
South Austin shooting spree ends at apartments where man was killed Monday, police say 

South Austin shooting spree ends at apartments where man was killed Monday, police say 

A person went on a shooting spree, taking aim at random cars throughout South Austin on Wednesday afternoon and injuring two people, before police took him into custody at an apartment complex at 6 p.m., according to Austin police officials. Police said there were four different shootings, one on West Gate Boulevard and another on the northbound Interstate 35 service road, but did not share all four...
Meechaiel Criner trial: Slain UT student had enjoyed solitude of path to dorm

Meechaiel Criner trial: Slain UT student had enjoyed solitude of path to dorm

University of Texas student Haruka Weiser’s family and friends didn’t like the shortcut she sometimes took to Prather Hall Dormitory along Waller Creek. Her father took one look at the dimly lit area and advised the oldest of his three children to find a better route. Her roommate told Weiser to avoid the “creepy” strip of land behind the university’s alumni center....
Former Pflugerville camp counselor charged with sexual abuse of child

Former Pflugerville camp counselor charged with sexual abuse of child

Pflugerville authorities on Wednesday accused a man of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl while he was a summer camp counselor 10 years ago and are asking other possible victims to come forward. Cameron Michael Kretsinger, 27, has been charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony punishable by five years to life in prison. He was booked Wednesday into the Travis County...
Kyle police investigating suspicious death of 2-year-old on July 4

Kyle police investigating suspicious death of 2-year-old on July 4

Kyle police are investigating the death of a 2-year-old boy on the Fourth of July, Police Chief Jeff Barnett said Wednesday. Officers responded at around 6 p.m. to a home in the 300 block of Marquitos Drive after the boy’s parents called to report a medical issue, Barnett said. When police arrived, the toddler was unresponsive and died inside the residence, officials said. Barnett said police...
‘This is the shooter’: 21-year-old charged in Austin jeweler’s death

‘This is the shooter’: 21-year-old charged in Austin jeweler’s death

Four months after Austin jeweler Ted Shaughnessy was shot to death inside his southwestern Travis County home, authorities have arrested a man they believe pulled the trigger in what they described as a murder-for-hire plot supposedly hatched by Shaughnessy’s son. A Travis County sheriff’s office SWAT team, armed with an arrest warrant, traveled to College Station on Wednesday morning...
Round Rock police seize more than $11,000 in drug bust, document says

Round Rock police seize more than $11,000 in drug bust, document says

Round Rock police found more than $11,000 in cash during a drug bust at an apartment, according to a notice of seizure filed in a Williamson County court this week. Aaron Ernst, 25, of Round Rock, was charged with possession of marijuana, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in jail. The seizure occurred June 28 at an apartment at 1401 Hesters Crossing, where Ernst lived, the notice said...
BLOTTER: Man escapes Austin hospital after arrest, deputies say

BLOTTER: Man escapes Austin hospital after arrest, deputies say

TRAVIS COUNTY Deputies: Man escapes hospital after arrest A man escaped from an Austin hospital hours after Travis County sheriff’s officials arrested him Tuesday, officials said. Deputies pulled the man over Tuesday and arrested him on a charge of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kristen Dark said. He had a medical issue that Dark declined to detail, and medics took...
Family, friends mourn man, 32, fatally shot Monday in South Austin

Family, friends mourn man, 32, fatally shot Monday in South Austin

Family and friends are stunned by the shooting death of 32-year-old Christian Meroney at a South Austin apartment complex Monday. Jackson Dyre-Borowicz, who knew Meroney for eight years, called him passionate, charismatic and well-loved — the last person anyone would expect to be killed in such a gruesome way. “We had all talked to him before. No red flags, nothing that would have...
Authorities arrest third suspect tied to March 2 killing of Austin jeweler

Authorities arrest third suspect tied to March 2 killing of Austin jeweler

Two days before Austin jeweler Ted Shaughnessy was shot dead in his southwestern Travis County home, three men, including his son, were discussing a plan to kill him and his wife, court documents released Wednesday say. Travis County sheriff’s investigators arrested Johnny Roman Leon III, 21, in College Station on Wednesday, making him the third person charged in connection with what authorities...
Father of slain UT student Haruka Weiser testifies in murder trial

Father of slain UT student Haruka Weiser testifies in murder trial

12:40 p.m. update: The father of slain University of Texas student Haruka Weiser was the first witness to testify in the capital murder trial of suspect Meechaiel Criner. Thomas Weiser, a physician from Portland, Ore., took the witness stand Wednesday and told jurors about how Haruka, the oldest of his three children, was a diligent student who came to UT on a dance scholarship after she was discovered...
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