Search Results: Houston Press (720)

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For years, narcotics field tests have been notorious for sending innocent people to jail. The cheap, roadside tests have misconstrued everything from Jolly Ranchers for meth to Pop-Tart crumbs for crack cocaine. In December, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office trumpeted the arrest of 24-year-old Ross Lebeau for felony meth possession — only for the substance, stuffed inside a black sock in his trunk, to turn out to be cat litter. His dad had used the cat-litter-sock as a trick to defog the windows.

“Building your reputation takes years,” Lebeau told the Houston Press in January. “One false positive can ruin all of that.”

Now, however, in a departure from standard police practice across the nation, Houston and Harris County law enforcement agencies will permanently stop using the narcotics field tests, effective immediately.

img_0871_1_The second suspect in the brutal murder of 11-year-old Josue Flores just became the second suspect to walk out of jail after the Harris County District Attorney’s Office again conceded that it does not have enough evidence to continue prosecuting him for the murder.

Andre Jackson, a 28-year-old ex-Marine, was accused last June of stabbing Josue Flores to death while he walked home from a science party at Marshall Middle School in broad daylight on May 17. Now, however, DA’s office First Assistant Tom Berg said results from a DNA analysis came back, and those results “make it impossible for us to move forward with the case at this time.”

angusCourtesy of Darrin Nielsen

In what surely qualifies as an express lane to hell, a man shot and killed a Houston firefighter’s dog in the Heights early Wednesday morning.

Dennis Nielsen told the Houston Press that a neighbor only got a brief glimpse of the man he believes was the shooter, who wore black clothes and possibly carried a pistol, at the corner of Tabor and West Patton streets. Nielsen said the neighbor couldn’t tell the shooter’s race or any other identifying characteristics. The shooting took place between 2:30 and 3 a.m.

img_1008On the night Jessica says she was raped by a prison guard at the Federal Detention Center in downtown Houston, she had only four days left of her sentence before she was released. (She requested that we not use her real name.)

It had been about six weeks since she cut off a consensual relationship with a prison guard named Samuel Hawkins and began resisting his advances, she said. But on the night of November 15, 2015, Hawkins came to her cell and told her to come with him to drop off a tissue box on the male floor, where she knew one of the inmates. Hawkins “paraded her around,” said Jessica’s attorney, Bill Underwood. And when he returned her to her own cell, seeming jealous of the attention from other men, Jessica says he told her,  “We’re gonna have our first real fight tonight,” before raping her. Hawkins pled guilty to sexual abuse of a ward.

rincon_final_rgb_cropped_for_homepageCameron K. Lewis

Valentina Villafane was sitting in her second-grade classroom when the tear gas canister exploded. The principal of her private school outside Barquisimeto, Venezuela, saw it first — an errant volley from a national guardsman that flew between the bars of the school’s gate and rolled to the front door. The principal shouted for the students to run to the back of the building as gas plumed at the entrance.

As Valentina huddled with her classmates, teachers brought jars of vinegar from the cafeteria and showed the children how to apply it to their faces to protect against the gas. They waited for hours, trapped as desperate Barquisimetanos clashed with police outside.

“I was scared and I almost cried,” Valentina recalls in a telephone interview from Venezuela–where many live in dire poverty while the corrupt businessman who looted the country live lavishly in Houston and Miami.

hpdmethcopHPD

It had to be one no good very bad day for the Houston police officer who got arrested by members of his own police force earlier this month.

James D. Norman, who has been with the Houston Police Department just over three years, was arrested and charged with possession of between four and 400 grams of meth on April 4. He was immediately relieved of duty, with pay, pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, said HPD spokesman John Cannon.

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 8.37.31 AMSomething unusual caught the attention of a Harris County Precinct 1 monitoring surveillance video of a popular illegal trash dumping site on Thursday — a man beating a child with a belt.

For five minutes, the man struck the boy with a belt at least 62 times in the head, shoulders, legs and buttocks, deputies said. Some of the blows knocked the seven-year-old to the ground. The man held the boy upright, like a rag doll, by holding the child with one hand while swinging the belt with the other.

houston-press-feat_img3_31Houston Press

Phillip Garcia Jr. was only celebrating a Houston Rockets win with some drinks and grub at a restaurant called Bombshells in southeast Houston — but he didn’t make it home after an off-duty cop shot him to death in the parking lot.

That’s according to the civil rights lawsuit his parents, Sonia Garcia and Phillip Garcia Sr., are filing against the City of Houston and the officer who killed their son, asking for an unspecified amount of damages.

abuse-cover-finalJustin Renteria

On the phone, the former Houston priest didn’t recognize the name of the 13-year-old boy he molested in 1978.

So much time has passed since that third encounter with the boy, in the Town & Country Village movie theater in Memorial City, where the priest slid his hand into the boy’s jeans and masturbated him. It’s hard to keep track of these things, and besides, the priest says, it’s old news.

Salisbury was one of more than a dozen priests named in a November 2016 press release by the local chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, as part of the group’s push for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to publicly identify, for the first time, all of its priests who’d been accused or convicted of crimes against children. Our cover story on the survivors .

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