Jon's Feed
Oct 12, 2015

Texas court halts execution of inmate after questions raised on testimony

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday halted the planned execution next month of a death row inmate whose lawyers argued he was sentenced to death based on tainted testimony from major witnesses.

The court stayed the Nov. 3 execution of Julius Murphy, without elaborating on its decision. Murphy, 36, was convicted in 1998 of fatally shooting Jason Erie in the head during a 1997 robbery.

Oct 12, 2015

Did Texas governor’s errant tweet jinx baseball Astros?

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – With the Houston Astros on the verge of advancing in the baseball playoffs on Monday, a tweet was sent out in the name of Texas Governor Greg Abbott congratulating the team on its victory. Oops.

The wheels soon came off for the Astros, who just six outs away from a berth in the American League Championship Series, suffered one of the worst breakdowns in post season history. The team’s fans were left wondering if the Astros were cursed by the leader of the Lone Star State.

Oct 12, 2015

Partial settlement reached in deadly Texas fertilizer plant explosion

By Suzannah Gonzales and Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – A partial settlement has been reached in the
2013 explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant that tore
apart a section of the city, killed 15 people, including 12
firefighters, and caused an estimated $100 million in damages.

The deal was reached on Sunday and its terms have not been
disclosed, McLennan County District Clerk Jon Gimbal said on
Monday. The settlement includes the families of the three
civilians killed in the fire and explosion.

Oct 9, 2015

Arkansas judge halts scheduled executions of eight inmates

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – An Arkansas judge issued an order on Friday that
temporarily blocked the scheduled executions of eight convicted
murderers after lawyers for the death row inmates challenged
secrecy provisions in the state’s lethal injection procedures.

Arkansas, one of the 31 U.S. states with the death penalty,
has not carried out an execution since 2005 but had planned to
resume capital punishment on Oct. 21 with two executions.

Oct 9, 2015

Baylor University rescinds honorary degree awarded to Bill Cosby

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Baylor University, the world’s largest Baptist university, has decided to rescind the honorary degree it awarded to comedian Bill Cosby in 2003, saying on Friday “acts of interpersonal and sexual violence” run counter to the school’s values.

Baylor is one of several universities to cut ties with Cosby in the past year after more than 50 women have come forward with allegations against him, including drugging, sexual assault and rape.

Oct 7, 2015

Texas appeals court to weigh felony charge against Rick Perry

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said on Wednesday it will hear arguments on whether former Texas Governor Rick Perry should face trial on an abuse of power count, one of the charges that clouded his failed Republican presidential run.

The court set Nov. 4 oral arguments for the count of abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony charge that can carry from five to 99 years in prison

Oct 6, 2015

Texas executes man who killed Mexican, robbed him of $8

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas on Tuesday executed a 35-year-old man convicted of fatally shooting a recently arrived Mexican immigrant in the head and robbing him of $8.

Juan Garcia was pronounced dead from a lethal injection at 6:26 p.m. at the state’s execution chamber in Huntsville, a prisons official said.

Oct 6, 2015

Montana judge rules lethal injection drug violates state law

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – A Montana judge ruled on Tuesday that one of the
drugs planned for use in a lethal injection mix violates state
law, effectively putting a hold on executions in the state,
which has only two inmates on death row.

Montana law stipulates that one of the drugs in its lethal
injection mix must be an “ultra fast-acting barbiturate” and the
current drug intended to play that role, pentobarbital, does not
meet that criteria, District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock said
in his ruling.

Oct 5, 2015

University of Texas debates guns on campus after Oregon shooting

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A law to allow guns in more places at the University of Texas system would increase the danger on campuses and could not prevent mass killings like the one last week in Oregon, faculty and students told a forum on Monday.

But supporters said at the system’s flagship university in Austin the measure will increase campus safety because criminals will have to worry about being stopped by a licensed and trained person with a concealed weapon.

Oct 2, 2015

Oregon sheriff who opposes gun control thrust into spotlight

By Jon Herskovitz and Katie Reilly

(Reuters) – About a month after the 2012 Sandy Hook school shootings, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin in Oregon posted a video on his Facebook page from conspiracy theorists who said the event might have been a hoax. A few days later, he wrote to Vice President Joe Biden, telling him to stay away from gun control.

Hanlin was thrust into the spotlight on Thursday, when a gunman opened fire at a college classroom in Douglas County, killing nine people and wounding several others before police shot him to death.