Search Results: Houston Press (683)

6120199762_c1a20bf7cd_zAndrew Malone/Flickr

A former Medicare provider who owned an ambulance company has been found guilty of engaging in organized crime after deceiving dozens of mentally disabled patients and attempting to steal more than $1.3 million through fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid programs, the Texas Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday.

A Harris County judge sentenced the 44-year-old Houston man, Chimaroke Echenwune, to 30 years in prison for the elaborate theft.

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What should a police officer do when a handcuffed prisoner spits on him?

Yell at him and spit back? Punch him in the face? Slam his head against a metal door frame, then choke him from behind in a neck nerve-hold, causing him to collapse to the floor and convulse?

In the eyes of one Houston police officer now being sued in federal court, apparently Option 3 is the way to go.

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3311982761_58242bfe35_zRobert & Pat Rogers/Flickr

A Houston mother has been charged with endangering a child after investigators found she was homeschooling her daughter in a house full of wild animals — including a tiger, three tiger cubs, a cougar, a fox, a skunk and several monkeys.

An investigation was opened after a California man claimed Trisha Meyer swindled him out of $3,000 — the cost of an exotic Savannah kitten he had purchased from Meyer but that Meyer never shipped to him. Meyer has also been charged with felony theft in relation to the incident.

Here’s how they caught her.

12376173_10207181448388555_2397075597732748251_n-1Courtesy of Kris Smith

Neither Kris Smith nor his attorney understand how talking on the phone on a sidewalk next to a fast-food restaurant parking lot ever became a punishable crime, but one night this past December, Smith found himself in jail because of it.

Smith was walking along Westheimer in Montrose, on the way to his girlfriend’s house, when the phone rang. His employer was calling, and so to get away from the bustling traffic, Smith walked toward the Burger King where it was a little quieter. Midway through his brief phone conversation, a police cruiser pulled into the parking lot right in front of a man who appeared homeless, sitting at the very back of the lot. Police got out to arrest the man. Not wanting to deal with the ruckus, Smith started to walk away — when a cop yelled out to him, “Stop. Come over here,” Smith remembers.

After his arrest, he was jeered because of his gender identity.

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Ain’t nobody got time to handle emergency phone calls in which some people could possibly die — or at least that’s the opinion of one 911 operator who is now facing criminal charges for hanging up on thousands of panicking callers.

Crenshanda Williams has been charged with interference with an emergency phone call after an investigation by police and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity Unit revealed Williams was consistently blowing off callers from October 2015 through March 2016. Williams’s superiors started to grow suspicious after noticing that Williams had logged an unusual number of calls lasting shorter than 20 seconds (superiors are notified any time that happens, according to court records). Here’s what she actually tells people.

kush_slideshowedit_002Sypho Turner is only 56 years old, but when he sits on the trash-strewn pavement below the Southwest Freeway overpass near the Wheeler Metro Station in Midtown, the low light deepens his cracked skin, turns his toothless smile into a black pit and makes his battered face look like a well-worn catcher’s mitt. He’d pass for at least a few decades older, perhaps even for a corpse. Years of smoking crack cocaine will do that to a man. But the fresh bruises and scabs on his arms and head — “battle scars,” as Sypho excitedly describes them — aren’t from crack. In fact, Sypho says, he hasn’t smoked crack or even weed in a few years. His scars are instead from kush, the new drug of choice among Houston’s homeless.

Kush gets Sypho higher than he’s ever been. He says he practically floats. But he has to be careful — if he doesn’t eat, kush ties his stomach into knots and makes him vomit. Sometimes he blacks out and hallucinates, or feels things crawling on him. He has keeled over on the spot after smoking kush, smacking his head on the unforgiving concrete. He’s woken up in the middle of the street after being hit by a car, and found himself in Bellaire or Acres Homes without the slightest idea how he got there. One time, when he was being transported to Ben Taub Hospital after a bad reaction to kush, he was so uncontrollably violent that he “went berserk” and tried to fight everyone in the ambulance. They had to tie him down and sedate him. “It feels like you’re dying,” Sypho says. “But it’s the best high I’ve ever had. When you wake up, it’s back to normal. You just want more.”

Read the rest of the feature here.

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His attorney told him he could be out of jail in ten days if he took the plea deal — but 58-year-old Gilbert Cruz refused, saying he wasn’t going to plead guilty to something he didn’t do.

He had just been booked on charges of interfering with the duties of a public servant, after a former neighbor, whom Cruz says was recently homeless, called the police on him when Cruz told her he wouldn’t allow her to stay with him. Then she accused Cruz of beating her.

The arrest that would lead to more than two months in Harris County Jail and cause Cruz to lose his job and his car and almost his home, however, had nothing to do with assault — an accusation police and prosecutors agreed did not withstand scrutiny. The Houston Press has the story.

unnamed_4_Houston Police Department

A mother has been charged with capital murder after drowning her two young children in a bathtub, then hiding their bodies underneath a neighbor’s house.

Houston police arrested 31-year-old Sheborah Thomas after she “matter-of-factly” told a neighbor that she had killed her five-year-old daughter, Kahana, and seven-year-old son, Oraylyn, as the Houston Chronicle reported.

Thomas, who just moved in April to the 3000 block of Tierwester Street near Texas Southern University in Third Ward, was throwing away large bags of trash in a nearby field when her neighbor spotted her, the Chron reported. Thomas told him that she needed to move immediately and asked if he would help her pack up. Noticing her kids weren’t around, the man asked Thomas where they were. That’s when Thomas apparently told him she had drowned them in the tub Friday.

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