Crime

Class action suit calls out Travis County officials over sex assault investigations

Class action suit calls out Travis County officials over sex assault investigations

A federal class action lawsuit filed Monday slams current and former Travis County and Austin officials, including district attorneys and police chiefs, arguing that they don’t adequately investigate or seek to prosecute suspects in women’s sexual assault cases. The suit names as defendants the city of Austin, Travis County and five individuals — Travis County District Attorney Margaret...
Historic downtown building damaged by arson, fire officials say

Historic downtown building damaged by arson, fire officials say

A single sprinkler on the third floor of the Millett Opera House — home of the Austin Club, a plush reception venue — kept a blaze from spreading through the 140-year-old building in downtown Austin and destroying the valuable paintings and antiques inside. Austin fire investigators said an arsonist broke into the building at 110 E. Ninth St. on Monday a little after 4 a.m. and lit a hanging...
Sen. Carlos Uresti to resign days before his sentencing

Sen. Carlos Uresti to resign days before his sentencing

Texas Sen. Carlos Uresti, the San Antonio Democrat found guilty of 11 fraud-related counts in February, announced Monday that he will resign his seat effective Thursday. Uresti, who is scheduled to be sentenced June 26 in federal court and faces the potential of years in prison and restitution of more than $3 million, said in a letter posted on Twitter and his Facebook page that the legal matter required...
JUST IN: Credit card skimmer reported at 7-Eleven on Burnet Road

JUST IN: Credit card skimmer reported at 7-Eleven on Burnet Road

Someone reported a credit card skimmer at a gas station pump in North Austin, according to the state Department of Agriculture. An inspector found a possible Bluetooth skimmer device at a 7-Eleven at 7844 Burnet Road, officials said.  Police have removed the device, state officials said.

Crash near San Marcos kills three from Wimberley

SAN MARCOS 3 killed in crash Three people from Wimberley died in a fiery crash Friday near San Marcos. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, 22-year-old Ramiro Ramirez, 40-year-old Angela Mary Masullo and 44-year-old Daniel Stuart Masullo all died about 8 p.m. on RM 12, three miles south of San Marcos. Three others also were injured in the wreck. DPS officials said Ramirez’s truck...
Officials seized $73K from home of suspect in tax fraud investigation

Officials seized $73K from home of suspect in tax fraud investigation

Officials seized more than $73,000 in cash from a suspect arrested in connection with an ongoing fraud investigation involving the Travis County tax office, according to a notice filed by the state of Texas this month. On May 11, a Texas Department of Public Safety special agent seized $1,718 from Eulalio Hernandez’s wallet, $23,550 from envelopes found in an office desk drawer in his Pflugerville...

Texas Digest: Killer of prison worker loses appeal

COURTS Prison worker’s killer loses appeal The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an appeal from a 45-year-old Dallas man on death row for killing a supervisor at an Amarillo state prison shoe factory. Attorneys for Travis Trevino Runnels had appealed after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016 rejected arguments that he had deficient legal help at his trial for the 2003 slaying...

Deputy accused of assaulting child, threating mom with deportation

A sheriff’s deputy in Bexar County is accused of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl and threatening the child’s mother with deportation if she reported him, authorities said. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said Sunday that investigators arrested 47-year-old Jose Nunez on suspicion of super aggravated sexual assault of a child, pending formal charges. “The details of the case...
Deputies seize more than $80,000 in traffic stop in Georgetown

Deputies seize more than $80,000 in traffic stop in Georgetown

Williamson County sheriff’s detectives seized more than $80,000 during a traffic stop on Interstate 35 in Georgetown on Wednesday, an arrest affidavit said. Ana Ortiz, 27, of Pharr, was charged with money laundering, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. She told detectives after they found the money in her car that it was there because she receives large amounts of cash...
Police: Shotgun fired during Round Rock pot deal gone wrong

Police: Shotgun fired during Round Rock pot deal gone wrong

Two men are accused of robbing a man selling marijuana in a deal that involved a shotgun being fired in Round Rock, an arrest affidavit said. Bryan Almanza, 18, of Taylor and Carlos Aldair Alvarenga-Realegeno, 18, of Round Rock were both charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison. A man who had marijuana stolen from him during...
NEW INFO: Police identify driver in deadly San Marcos hit-and-run 

NEW INFO: Police identify driver in deadly San Marcos hit-and-run 

San Marcos police on Monday identified the driver in a hit-and-run crash that left a pedestrian dead Friday as 29-year-old Uriah Keith Robinson. Robinson faces charges of intoxication manslaughter, failure to stop and render aid, escape, possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and possession of marijuana for his role in the crash that left 48-year-old Tyrus Dennis Piano dead. Police...
Defense in UT student Haruka Weiser’s death calls new DNA test flawed

Defense in UT student Haruka Weiser’s death calls new DNA test flawed

The defense in the murder case of UT student Haruka Weiser says new DNA testing that investigators believe ties defendant Meechaiel Criner to the crime is unreliable. A hearing Monday in Travis County district court focused on the DNA software STRmix, which the Department of Public Safety has used since March 2016. It’s also used by the FBI. The software replaces some of the human element in...
UPDATE: Police identify man suspected of starting fire at Austin Club downtown

UPDATE: Police identify man suspected of starting fire at Austin Club downtown

9:34 a.m. update: Austin fire officials identified the man suspected of starting a fire at The Austin Club on Monday morning as 36-year-old Matthew James Caldwell. He has been charged with arson. Earlier: Austin police arrested a man early Monday morning after police and fire officials said a fire was intentionally started at The Austin Club downtown.  Police were called to 110 E. 9th Street...

Texas Digest: 2 face capital murder charges in Dallas

DALLAS Two men charged with capital murder Two men are facing capital murder charges in the shooting deaths of two men found stuffed in the trunk of a Cadillac near a West Dallas park last month. Authorities say 37-year-old Moises Martinez has admitted his role in the homicides and has named an accomplice, 26-year-old Andres Frausto. Frausto already was in custody on an unrelated charge. The bodies...
Police say man deliberately rammed vehicle on I-35, caused crash

Police say man deliberately rammed vehicle on I-35, caused crash

A man was arrested early Sunday morning after police say he deliberately drove his vehicle into another car on Interstate 35 in North Austin, causing both to crash. Juan Torrez, 51, was charged with aggravated assault with a motor vehicle in the incident, which happened shortly after 2 a.m., an arrest affidavit said. According to the document, Torrez became upset when his ex-wife and his neighbor...
Pedestrian killed in San Marcos hit-and-run; suspect arrested

Pedestrian killed in San Marcos hit-and-run; suspect arrested

A man was charged with intoxication manslaughter after police say he drove his van onto a sidewalk in San Marcos on Friday night, killing a pedestrian. The incident happened at 7:15 p.m. at the intersection of Riverside Drive and the Interstate 35 west frontage road. Witnesses reported that a 1998 Toyota van had jumped the curb and struck the pedestrian, who had been on the sidewalk, police said....
Sources: Slain jeweler’s daughter-in-law cooperating with authorities

Sources: Slain jeweler’s daughter-in-law cooperating with authorities

The bail for the daughter-in-law of a slain Austin jeweler has been reduced, and she is helping investigators unravel an alleged murder-for-hire plot against him, according to law enforcement sources. The sources say Jaclyn Edison, 19, has begun cooperating with the ongoing investigation to find out who shot and killed Gallerie Jewelers owner Ted Shaughnessy in his southwestern Travis County home...

City Council votes against returning stipends to Austin police

In a split decision Thursday night, members of the City Council voted down a measure that would have restored stipend pay to Austin police while city and police union officials negotiate the details of a new labor agreement. The stipend pay was included in the last police contract. The agreement expired late last year when the union walked away from discussions after council members unanimously voted...
Time may be running out for Texas ‘revenge porn’ law

Time may be running out for Texas ‘revenge porn’ law

Sharing naked or sexually explicit photos and videos online and without consent has been a crime in Texas since 2015, but time may be running out for the state’s “revenge porn” law. The first of four appeals seeking to overturn the law, all filed by men charged under the anti-harassment statute, has arrived at the state’s highest criminal court, which has been asked to determine...

Round Rock Uber driver falsely claimed he was kidnapped, police say

LAKEWAY EMS: Man found dead after shooting A man described as in his 40s was found dead by Lakeway police in the parking lot of a church Friday afternoon, police said. Police said officers responded at 12:13 p.m. to Emmaus Catholic Church in the 1700 block of Lohmans Crossing Road after receiving a report of “a distraught individual” in a pickup truck. After officers arrived at the church...
UPDATE: Slain Austin jeweler’s daughter-in-law bonds out of jail

UPDATE: Slain Austin jeweler’s daughter-in-law bonds out of jail

5:45 p.m. update: The daughter-in-law of a slain Austin jeweler who was arrested with her husband last month in connection to the killing has bonded out of jail, her attorney confirmed Friday evening. Bill Hines, an attorney who represents 19-year-old Jaclyn Edison, said his client is innocent. “This is a girl who has no record, no criminal history of any kind. She has maintained from the very...
Police: Taylor shooting victim had argued with man who shot him

Police: Taylor shooting victim had argued with man who shot him

A man shot twice in Taylor on Monday told police at the hospital that he had been involved in a verbal argument with the person who fired at him, according to an arrest affidavit. Manuel Herrera Jr., 43, of Taylor was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the shooting. The victim, 31-year-old Juan Palacio, was shot once in the chest and once in the upper arm and was in stable condition...

Bastrop County deputies seeking suspects skimming credit cards

BASTROP COUNTY Authorities seek suspects skimming credit cards The Bastrop County sheriff’s office is warning people about a rash of credit card skimming incidents reported at local gas stations in recent weeks. Sheriff’s officials said on Facebook Wednesday evening that a suspect or suspects have been using the skimmed credit card information to create cloned cards, then using those cards...
BREAKING: Austin council OKs Manley as permanent police chief  

BREAKING: Austin council OKs Manley as permanent police chief  

11:25 a.m. update: The Austin City Council unanimously approved Brian Manley’s bid to become Austin police chief after serving more than 18 months as interim chief. Manley, a veteran officer with deep community and departmental roots built over a nearly 30-year career, had been serving as interim chief before City Manager Spencer Cronk made him the sole candidate for the chief’s...
WATCH: Authorities seek suspects skimming credit cards to buy fuel at Bastrop County gas stations

WATCH: Authorities seek suspects skimming credit cards to buy fuel at Bastrop County gas stations

The Bastrop County sheriff’s office is warning people about a rash of credit card skimming incidents reported at local gas stations in recent weeks.  Sheriff’s officials said on Facebook Wednesday evening that a suspect or suspects have been using the skimmed credit card information to create cloned cards, then using those cards to purchase large amounts of fuel at gas stations. The...
Jabari Mitchell not guilty of murder in shooting of Trelin Reed

Jabari Mitchell not guilty of murder in shooting of Trelin Reed

After an impasse earlier in the day, a Travis County jury came to an agreement Wednesday evening and acquitted a man accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend’s brother over a social media dispute. The seven women and five men judging defendant Jabari Mitchell returned the not guilty verdict after two days of deliberations spanning more than 13 hours. Mitchell, 26, was on trial for two weeks for...
HAVE YOU SEEN THEM?: Round Rock police seek two suspects in nail salon burglaries

HAVE YOU SEEN THEM?: Round Rock police seek two suspects in nail salon burglaries

Round Rock police are asking for the public’s help finding two burglary suspects who have been targeting primarily nail salons in the city this month.  Police said the two people are linked to as many as 13 commercial burglaries that have occurred in the Round Rock area since June 4 and similar crimes in the Williamson County and Austin areas. They said the burglars have targeted mostly...
Williamson County sheriff: $40,000 to $60,000 seized in traffic stop

Williamson County sheriff: $40,000 to $60,000 seized in traffic stop

Williamson County deputies seized $40,000 to $60,000 during a traffic stop Wednesday on Interstate 35, said Sheriff Robert Chody. They used a dog to find the money in bags in the backseat of a Volkswagen Jetta, Chody said. The female driver was arrested, he said. READ: Sheriff’s detectives seize $95,930 during traffic stop in Georgetown Further details about where the traffic stop was, why the...

Travis deputies looking for man who stabbed, sexually assaulted woman

TRAVIS COUNTY Deputies: Man stabbed, sexually assaulted woman Travis County deputies are looking for man who stabbed, sexually assaulted and robbed a woman Saturday who was walking through a Wells Branch apartment complex, the sheriff’s office said. The woman was walking through the Churchill Crossing apartment complex in the 14100 block of Thermal Drive when she was attacked around 4:30 a.m...
Taylor police charge man in Monday shooting

Taylor police charge man in Monday shooting

Taylor police have arrested a man accused in the shooting Monday of 31-year-old Juan Palacio, according to a police news release. Manuel Herrera Jr., 43, of Taylor, has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Palacio, who was shot in the chest and upper arm, was in stable condition Tuesday at Seton Medical Center Williamson...
Deputies looking for man who stabbed, sexually assaulted, robbed woman in Wells Branch

Deputies looking for man who stabbed, sexually assaulted, robbed woman in Wells Branch

Travis County deputies are looking for man who stabbed, sexually assaulted and robbed a woman Saturday who was walking through a Wells Branch apartment complex, the sheriff’s office said.  The woman was walking through the Churchill Crossing apartment complex in the  14100 block of Thermal Drive when she was attacked around 4:30 a.m., Travis County sheriff’s officials said. ...
In murder trial, defense says police ignored other possible suspects

In murder trial, defense says police ignored other possible suspects

A defendant who is on trial for a fatal shooting that police believe was over inflammatory social media posts told investigators he did not kill the victim, even though he said he had every reason to do so. Jabari Mitchell, 26, had arranged in November 2016 to meet up and fight his ex-girlfriend’s brother, Trelin Reed. When there were too many people hanging around at the North Austin Luby&rsquo...

Father of woman killed by police says officers could have disarmed her

The father of a 20-year-old woman who was fatally shot by police in Southeast Austin last week said officers should have been able to disarm his daughter without killing her. An officer shot Leslie Yolanda Salazar at 2:39 a.m. Thursday as she approached him with a knife in her hand, interim Austin police Chief Brian Manley said. READ MORE: 20-year-old holding knife killed by officer in Austin home...

Woman wielding knife, killed by Austin officer last week identified

SOUTHEAST AUSTIN Woman wielding knife killed by officer ID’d The 20-year-old woman who was shot and killed by police after she approached an officer with a knife early Thursday was identified this afternoon as Leslie Yolanda Salazar. The incident happened at a Southeast Austin home at the 7300 block of South Glenn Street. Officer Thomas Brown, who was also identified by the Austin Police Department...
Closing arguments set in murder trial linked to Facebook dispute

Closing arguments set in murder trial linked to Facebook dispute

Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in the murder trial of Jabari Mitchell, who is accused of fatally shooting Trelin Reed in November 2016 over what authorities said was a social media beef. On the opening day of trial last week, prosecutors said Mitchell lured a group of people to a North Austin convenience store to fight. But when the group arrived, they were ambushed by 25 gunshots...
City action would target racial disparity in Austin police arrests

City action would target racial disparity in Austin police arrests

If you run into Austin police for a nonviolent misdemeanor offense, such as having a small amount of marijuana or driving with an invalid license, one of two things can happen: Officers can write you a ticket, or they grab the handcuffs and place you under arrest. For these nonviolent offenses — and others, including city ordinance violations, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief &mdash...
Man pushes cyclist off bike at St. Edward’s, tries to rob him, officials say

Man pushes cyclist off bike at St. Edward’s, tries to rob him, officials say

A man pushed a cyclist off his bike on the St. Edward's University campus in South Austin and tried to rob him last week, campus police said. The incident happened near around 9:30 p.m. June 5, at the retention pond known as Lynch Lake, near Woodward Street and South Congress Avenue, St. Edward’s University police said. Police received the report Sunday. The would-be robber was a thin man...

Ex-judge challenges citations in rape victim case

A former Texas judge is fighting disciplinary sanctions by the state’s watchdog agency for issuing a court order that landed a mentally ill rape victim in jail. Stacey Bond, a Harris County judge from 2013 to 2016, is challenging disciplinary action by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct while she campaigns for another court seat this fall, the Houston Chronicle reported. The commission...
Unpaid dances led to Austin strip club shooting, lawsuit says

Unpaid dances led to Austin strip club shooting, lawsuit says

A South Texas man who visited Austin two years ago for his birthday was shot by a strip club security guard after a dispute over unpaid private dances, according to a lawsuit filed recently against the club. James Anthony Salazar, of Laredo, was with friends at XTC Cabaret in Northeast Austin in November 2016 when the group was tossed out for refusing to settle its debts, the lawsuit states. The men...
Mexican candidate killed on border had history of defying Zetas

Mexican candidate killed on border had history of defying Zetas

During a congressional debate Friday night just across the Rio Grande from Eagle Pass, Fernando Purón Johnston didn’t mince his words when it came to the Zetas. The former mayor of the gritty border city of Piedras Negras in the state of Coahuila, Purón was running for a seat in Mexico’s congress and was highlighting his track record in standing up to the cartel. “We...

Texas Digest: Weatherford firefighter dies after battling wildfires

FORT DAVIS Firefighter dies after battling wildfires A Weatherford firefighter who was battling wildfires in the western part of the state died after suffering a medical emergency, officials say. Weatherford Fire Marshal Bob Hopkins told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Andy Loller died Sunday en route to a hospital in Odessa. Hopkins said the 42-year-old firefighter had been sent to help fight wildfires...

Texas Digest: Immigrant killed himself despite checks, officials say

RIO GRANDE CITY Officials: Suicide happened despite checks A Honduran man who entered the U.S. illegally killed himself in a Starr County jail despite guards checking on him every half-hour and a camera in his padded cell, authorities say. Marco Antonio Munoz, 39, was found unresponsive in his cell on the morning of May 13, a day after U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents brought him to the jail...
Four hours from Austin, Mexican candidate slain after defying Zetas

Four hours from Austin, Mexican candidate slain after defying Zetas

During a congressional debate Friday night just across the Rio Grande from Eagle Pass, Fernando Purón Johnston didn’t mince his words when it came to the Zetas. The former mayor of the gritty border city of Piedras Negras in the state of Coahuila, Purón was running for a seat in Mexico’s congress, and was highlighting his track record in standing up to the cartel. &ldquo...
Central Texas authorities thwart potential school violence

Central Texas authorities thwart potential school violence

As Texas grapples with the aftermath of the Santa Fe High School mass shooting, attention has focused on what went wrong and what more can be done to prevent future similar tragedies. But for every mass shooting, many more potential acts of violence are thwarted in Texas schools, providing valuable lessons in keeping schools safe. “It’s hard to quantify how many incidents are thwarted...
OVERNIGHT: Suspect shot and killed by Temple police during reported disturbance

OVERNIGHT: Suspect shot and killed by Temple police during reported disturbance

A person was shot and killed overnight Saturday after Temple police responded to a reported disturbance at an apartment in the city north of Austin. Police said they were called to the Glen Apartments in the 2600 block of South 39th Street at about 3:30 a.m. because of a reported disturbance. When they arrived, someone began firing a gun from inside the apartment, police said.  Officers returned...
Memorial Day weekend DWI arrests down nearly 15% this year

Memorial Day weekend DWI arrests down nearly 15% this year

Driving while intoxicated arrests Memorial Day weekend fell nearly 15 percent compared with 2017, and Austin authorities said they hope the trend continues as the annual Republic of Texas Biker Rally rolls through town. Austin police officers are targeting drunken drivers during an extended “no-refusal” initiative, which started May 24 and will end Sunday. During the effort, which is in...
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