Texas Executed 10 People in 2014, the Lowest Number Since 1996

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
California's lethal injection room.
The number of executions and new death sentences continued to drop in the U.S. in 2014, even in Texas, which killed 10 prisoners this year, according to a new report from the Death Penalty Information Center.

That's the lowest number since 1996, when three men received lethal injections. (The 1996 figure comes with an asterisk. The state was in the midst of a legal battle regarding changes made to the capital case appeals process by the Legislature. As a result, there ended up being a de facto death penalty moratorium from March 1996 to January 1997. After the changes were upheld, the state killed 37 people during the remainder of 1997.)

The 10 executions still matched Missouri for the most in the country but represented a significant drop from 2013, when 16 convicted murderers were killed. Texas juries only handed out 11 death sentences this year -- the latest being given Eric Williams in Kaufman County on Wednesday. That's down from a 1998 high of 48.

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Kaufman County DA Murderer Eric Williams Sentenced to Death

Categories: Crime

Kaufman County
Eric Williams
After hearing testimony on Tuesday about the glee Eric Williams took in killing Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McClellend, McClellend's wife, Cynthia, and Assistant Prosecutor Mark Hasse, a Rockwall County jury decided Wednesday morning that Williams should be killed by Texas.

Williams was convicted of Cynthia McClellend's murder on December 4. His lawyers didn't mount a strong defense, hoping instead to save Williams' life in the trial's penalty phase. Witness after witness was called from the depths of Williams' past, each meant to help humanize the man special prosecutors painted as a monster.

After all that, it was one of the last witnesses, called by prosecutors for rebuttal, that resonated the most. Williams' estranged wife admitted guilt for taking part in the crimes, but said her husband was the shooter. She shared his anger, she said, over Hasse's prosecution of Eric Williams for stealing Kaufman County computer equipment. The murders were revenge the couple was happy to take.

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Slashing Prices at Wal-Mart Gets You Savings. Slashing Cop Gets You Shot.

Google Street View
The Wal-Mart in question, at 6185 Retail Road in Dallas.
Just after midnight Tuesday morning, Dallas police officer Larry Moody shot Jonathan Puckett. It was the 20th time Dallas cops have shot at a civilian so far this year. Puckett was hit in the leg and torso and is being treated for his injuries at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Puckett was spotted by Moody -- who was working an off-duty security job -- and a Wal-Mart loss prevention officer attempting to leave the Retail Road store without paying for a phone charger. After initially cooperating and walking back into the store, Dallas police say, Puckett dashed for the exit. Moody grabbed his shoulder and they both lost their balance. As they struggled on the ground, police say, Puckett cut Moody with one of the four knives he was carrying.

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Kaufman Killer Eric Williams Was Happy After Murders, Planned to Kill More, Wife Testifies

Categories: Crime

KXAS Screenshot
Eric Williams during one of his numerous media appearances.
Tuesday morning, one of the last remaining mysteries in the trial of Eric Williams was answered: His estranged wife would indeed participate in the proceedings. Kim Williams took the stand to describe how she and Williams plotted and executed the killings of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McClellend, his wife Cynthia and one of his top prosecutors, Mark Hasse. Williams was convicted of killing Cynthia McClellend on December 4. He and his attorneys are now trying to avoid his being killed by the state of Texas.

Kim Williams said she was guilty of capital murder early in her testimony. She hasn't been offered a deal by prosecutors, but she was hoping to save her life with her testimony, she said, as she described the murders and her relationship with Eric Williams.

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Boy Scouts of America to Pay $7 Million for Sex Abuse

The Ninjaneer
The site of the 2013 Boy Scouts Jamboree.
The Boy Scouts of America has been found negligent in the case of Siegfried Hepp, a Connecticut troop leader accused of sexually assaulting multiple Scouts. Hepp was convicted of unlawful sexual touching of a minor in 1999.

Witnesses at the trial, held in Waterbury, Connecticut, said that the Irving-based organization knew of widespread sexual abuse in its ranks as early as the 1920s. The organization, they said, kept thousands of what it called "confidential files" in locked cabinets at its Irving headquarters. Scout executives who testified during the trial confirmed the files' existence.

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Dallas Aviation Company Fined $14 Million For Bribing South American Military Officials

Categories: Crime

Courtesy of Dallas Airmotive. All rights reserved.
A Dallas Airmotive worker does engine some engine maintenance.
Commissions and consulting fees. That's what Grapevine-based Dallas Airmotive called the bribes it paid to military officers and government officials in Brazil, Argentina and Peru to keep its maintenance contracts for those countries' military planes. Many of the payments were for small amounts like $3,000 or $5,000, the biggest was $35,000 paid to two Brazilian Air Force officers. Other benefits, like paid vacations, were also passed out.

The payments were funneled through three front companies, but the feds discovered an email trail connecting the bribes to managers at Dallas Airmotive and its Brazilian affiliate, Dallas Airmotive Brazil

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Arlington Woman Accused of Double Homicide Was a Member of Open Carry Tarrant County

Categories: Crime, Guns

Open Carry Tarrant County via Facebook
Veronica Dunnachie praised by Open Carry Tarrant County in a now-deleted Facebook post.
Veronica Dunnachie, who Arlington police say shot her husband Russell Dunnachie and his adult daughter Kimberly on Wednesday afternoon, knew her way around firearms. Her Facebook page is filled with pictures of her firing rifles and posing with her fellow Open Carry Tarrant County members. She decided to put that knowledge to use, police say, because she and her husband were going through an ugly divorce.

According to a search warrant affidavit, Dunnachie called a friend in the early afternoon Wednesday to confess to the shootings. She told him she had done something bad and when he tried to reassure her that things were going to be OK, she told him she couldn't be helped. She'd shot her husband, she said. Her friend asked about Kimberly, and Dunnachie said she'd shot her, too. Police who showed up at the Dunnachies' house on Edinburgh Street found Russell and Kimberly Dunnachie dead.

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SMU Violated Title IX, Failed Victims in Handling Sexual Assault Claims, Feds Say

Thumbnail image for SMUDallasHall.jpg
In late September 2012, an SMU freshman, just a month into his life on campus, went to university police to report that he'd been sexually assaulted at a frat party. He hoped the school could help -- help protect him from his alleged assailant, help save him from further embarrassment on campus.

Instead, the student says, school officials did basically the opposite. They sent a campus-wide alert, over his objections, that made it clear he'd gone to police. While the police investigated, a high-ranking school official discouraged him from pursuing charges. They did nothing meaningful to protect him from retaliation, the student says, and when he was bullied out of his original dorm they moved him to a floor where the resident assistant was a frat brother of his alleged attacker.

The student makes these allegations in a lawsuit he filed against the school in September. Since then, SMU's lawyers have been busy disputing them, vowing that the school acted properly. But the U.S. Department of Education, after a sprawling investigation into the school's response to this and other incidents of sexual harassment and assault on campus, has found that SMU failed the student in the aftermath of his alleged assault, creating a hostile environment that eventually forced the student to drop out of school.

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Feds Bust 15 in Dallas Strip Club Drug Ring

Categories: Crime

Clinton Lane via Youtube
Drugs at a rave? No way.
In a shocking turn of events, Eternal Eden, the afterhours rave held on Saturday nights at Jaguars, a northwest Dallas strip club, may have been a haven for illegal activity, feds say.

Authorities recently announced the indictments on firearms and drug charges of 15 people involved with the club. Feds say cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and alprazolam were being sold out of the club, and they found guns when they arrested 12 of the 15 at or near Jaguars.

KDFW's Becky Oliver filed a report on the party in September, after the death of Brittany Nemeth, a 19-year-old raver friends said took ecstasy at Eternal Eden. Oliver describes the club as being packed to the gills, with revelers spilling out into the morning sun amid discarded liquor bottles. (Jaguars, which is an all-nude establishment during its normal operation, is BYOB.)

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Dallas Woman Pleads Guilty to Faking Being a Nurse at Eight Dallas Hospices

Categories: Crime, Healthcare

Wiki Commons User Stethoscopes
>Wearing one of these does not make you a nurse.
Jada Antoine has quite the resume for a hospice nurse. From January 2009 to April 2012, she cared for more than 100 patients while employed by eight Dallas hospice companies.

The thing is, Antoine isn't a nurse. She isn't licensed as any kind of healthcare provider. Antoine didn't let that stop her. She found a woman who was a nurse and took her driver's license and Social Security card was employed by the hospices as a registered nurse.

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