Author True Crime Report

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Houston police say they are continuing to investigate an assault that occurred at a high-profile River Oaks attorney’s office building Saturday night, sending a woman to the hospital with lacerations and possible broken ribs.

Although the security guard at the offices says the victim told him her attacker was the wife of prominent divorce attorney Bobby Newman, police have yet to make any arrests and Newman himself declined to comment on the altercation. Police say the victim hasn’t identified her attacker to them.

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A Houston police officer shot his neighbor during a dispute over a dog Thursday evening, Houston police said Friday.

According to police, off-duty Officer Jason Loosmore knocked on his 21-year-old neighbor’s door around 6:20 p.m., on Riderwood Drive in Westside, hoping to ask the man for medical and shot records for his German shepherd, which Loosmore told police attacked his own Pug mix that evening. Then things got weird.

fullsizerender_1_Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson laid bare the havoc a missing evidence scandal in Precinct 4 has caused within her office: 142 dismissed criminal cases to date, a list that grows longer each week.

“It’s so critical that this gets under control,” Anderson said at a Friday morning news conference, adding that she was not exaggerating in stating her attorneys have so far spent hundreds of hours trying to determine which cases to proceed with and which must be tossed.

Anderson said as many as 21,500 individual pieces of evidence may be missing.

houston-press-feat-image-huffing-shutterstockShutterstock/Photo Illustration by Monica Fuentes

Ever since he was a kid, Steven Allen liked to take things apart, see how they worked and put them back together again. “He made a computer for his little brother, just by spare parts that people threw out, one year for Christmas,” recalls Nellie Hencerling, his mom. He was a good kid, she says. Sure, he’d had issues with drugs back when he lived in their hometown of Victoria, but after he moved to Houston in 2012, he seemed to put those behind him. He was married, with a young son, a steady job and a home of his own.

Then, over just a few days in February 2014, Allen’s life unraveled completely.

Read on in the Houston Press on how inhalants have torn lives apart.

caicaiLan Cai

A lawyer helping Lan Cai—the 20-year-old waitress sued by a Houston law firm for sharing her bad experience with the firm on Facebook and Yelp—has asked a judge to immediately dismiss the case.

The Law Firm of Tuan A. Khuu sued Cai, a former client, for between $100,000 and $200,000, arguing that the things she wrote on Facebook, urging no one to ever hire the firm, are defamatory and libelous, meaning the firm believes the statements are false and will seriously damage its reputation.

Houston Attorney Michael Fleming, however, thought the case was bogus almost immediately after seeing media reports about it — including ours — and thought it was nothing but a bully’s attempt to silence unfavorable criticism on the Internet. Should a Fort Bend County  judge agree, Fleming is asking that Tuan A. Khuu pay $50,000 in damages plus attorney’s fees, as Fleming is representing Cai pro bono.

“Whenever you see a situation where a lawsuit is being used to coerce somebody into taking an action —like removing an online review — it’s a red flag,” Fleming said. “The intention is to have a chilling effect and to stop other people from speaking out.”

As we reported Wednesday, Cai originally hired attorneys from Tuan A. Khuu to represent her after she was hit by a drunk driver, then subsequently hit by an SUV that couldn’t swerve out of the way in time. Her first meeting with the attorneys was already off to a bad start: They entered her private bedroom while she was half-asleep under the covers in her underwear (the attorneys maintain Cai’s mother told them to go inside). Then, after Cai was enticed by the discount attorneys offered, she hired them — but says they ignored her calls for a few days while she was bombarded with questions from insurance hounds.

donaldrobertsonLeif Reigstad

Donald Robertson was blindsided. He was stopped at a red light on the North Sam Houston Parkway East frontage road on June 24, 2006, his patrol car next to a big white van sitting in the inside lane. The light turned green. As Robertson entered the intersection, a blue 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix sped through the stoplight — then brakes squealed and screeched as the Pontiac slammed into the patrol car’s front passenger side, throwing Robertson and his white Chevrolet Impala into a concrete barrier 15 yards away.

It was the worst jolt Robertson had ever felt in his life, and the first accident he’d ever had while on patrol in his 17 years working as a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy. His neck hurt like hell; his right leg was pinned by a toppled computer console. A plume of smoke rose from his battered car. He wanted to turn his head, but his body wasn’t responding to what his brain was telling it to do. He tried to lift himself, gripping the steering wheel and hoisting himself up using his upper-body strength, but every time he tried, he could feel his torso separating from his head, causing him to lose his breath and slip in and out of consciousness. It didn’t take him long to realize his neck was badly broken.

The crash gave Robertson a type II Odontoid fracture, left a four-inch laceration on his right knee and temporarily blurred his vision with floaters. Doctors at the hospital told him he needed emergency surgery to realign his neck with the rest of his body. It was a dangerous procedure. Paraplegia or quadriplegia: Those were two possible outcomes. A third was death. Robertson had no choice. Miraculously, he survived the surgery. But he was hardly made whole again.

Hurt and unable to work, Robertson was immediately placed on worker’s compensation. His supervisors repeatedly assured him he would have a place one day again with the sheriff’s office. His time working as a patrol deputy — his dream job — was almost certainly over, but many injured deputies return to work simple desk jobs. Whenever Robertson would call the county or the sheriff’s office, worried he would lose his job while he recovered, he was always told not to worry, to just focus on getting better. Law enforcement takes care of its own.

In 2012, Robertson was blindsided again. Two weeks before Christmas, he received a letter from the sheriff’s office in the mail. “An administrative review reveals you have been absent from duty since June 24, 2006, after having been placed on Worker’s Compensation due to an injury,” the letter said. “As of the date of this letter, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office has not received any correspondence from you or Worker’s Compensation concerning your ability to return to active duty at this time. Unfortunately, the Sheriff’s Office is left with no other recourse but to grant you an administrative dismissal, effective the date of this letter.” The letter instructed Robertson to turn in his badge. After more than two decades of serving in the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and nearly losing his life on the job, Robertson was suddenly kicked to the curb.

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