Search Results: Houston Press (667)

3090392251_911be4dfaf_zScott Davidson/Flickr

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.

7606416730_26cb8b5536_z (1)Victor/Flickr

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.

Zelaya and ArceHouston Police Department

Zelaya and Arce

Two suspects who police said they believe have stolen more than 100 vehicles in the Houston area have been arrested and charged.

Police think Michael Armando Arce, 24, and Jesse Irvin Zelaya, 22, were using laptops and electronic devices to disable alarms and break into dozens of SUVs. Then, police said, they believe the men drove the vehicles across the Mexican border overnight before the owners even realized their cars were gone. The cars — specifically Jeep Wranglers, Jeep Cherokees and Dodge pickups — have been disappearing since last November, said HPD spokesman Victor Senties.

Here’s how they did it.


iceboxmurdersThere’s nothing quite like a good, old-fashioned murder mystery, and when it comes to creepy cold cases, Houston has plenty of ’em to choose from. From the notorious I-45 “Killing Fields” to the grisly, gut-churning “Ice Box Murders,” the Bayou City has been home to some seriously disturbing, and unsolved, murder mysteries.

These are Houston’s five most unsettling — and unsolved — murder mysteries. Time to sleep with the lights on, folks.

screen_shot_2016-05-23_at_2.36.51_pmA student who was found bound and gagged in a bathroom at the University of Houston Law Center claimed she was kidnapped was apparently not actually kidnapped, according to the Above the Law.

In an email obtained by the legal blog, the dean of the law school assured students there was no abduction or crime, said the student “was experiencing a personal crisis,” and that “the matter has been closed.”

screen_shot_2016-05-23_at_2.36.51_pmA Sharpstown High School math tutor faces two felony charges related to an alleged inappropriate relationship with a student. Aldo Leiva has been charged with sexual performance by a child and possession of child pornography, after the 51-year old instructor was allegedly caught having a sexual relationship with a 17-year old student.

The text messages allegedly showed that Leiva liked superhero-themed role-play; Leiva allegedly referred to himself as “Batman” and called his penis “Robin,” and police allege that one photo found on the girl’s phone shows Leiva wearing a Batman mask. Leiva allegedly wrote to the girl “I want to poke you with my robin” in a text message exchange that police said occurred while the girl was in class.

The phone call from the “Harris County Sheriff’s Office” went like this: “You have an open warrant. You owe us money. Unless you pay up, we will send somebody to arrest you.” The caller would then ask the nervous victim to drive to a Kroger or a convenience store to purchase a pre-paid credit card, and to stay on the line. Once the victim bought it, the caller would ask the person to read the number on the card back to him before mailing it to “court.”

That’s how dozens of people in Harris County lost hundreds or thousands of dollars to inmates in Georgia prisons who carried out these identity scams, according to sheriff’s officials. 

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