tiffany.huntz.cs.indy.800.croppedReading from the Voice Media empire: Sheriff Terry Maketa has been found not guilty on three counts related to a 2016 indictment that he’d abused his power while in office.  However, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on four other counts, and prosecutors are leaving their options open when it comes to retrying him for these alleged offenses. And that’s not to mention a lawsuit filed by employees against him and onetime Undersheriff and romantic partner Paula Presley, who’s scheduled for trial later this year. That document, accuses the pair of practicing sexual favoritism and running a smear campaign against the plaintiffs. Westword has the story.

roman.morales.facebook.croppedReading from the Voice Media empire: Roman Morales originally claimed to have been insane when he fatally strangled his two-year-old cousin in 2015. But the jury hearing the case ultimately found Morales guilty of first-degree murder under the theory that his bizarre behavior, including claims that he’d somehow been ordered to kill the child, was actually a symptom of psychosis spurred by meth use. Westword has the story.

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.

sienna.johnson.facebook.3Breakfast reading from the Voice Media Empire: Sienna Johnson has pleaded guilty to two charges, one juvenile and one adult, in relation to an alleged Columbine-style plot against her high school circa December 2015. Her sentence is similar to, but slightly longer than, the one meted out against Brooke Higgins, her alleged co-conspirator. Here’s why. Westword has the story.

screen_shot_2017-07-06_at_9.55.48_amScreenshot/KPRC

A La Porte volunteer firefighter has said he plans to resign from the fire department after crashing into a kid’s bedroom and then getting arrested.

Blake Andrew Stevens, who had been voted firefighter of the year in 2016, was on his way to a reported fire on the Fourth of July around 10:45 p.m. when he lost control of his pickup truck along Shady Lane near Highway 46. Police said he then went through a steel fence before ramming into a six-year-old boy’s bedroom.

img_1792Michael Mabe and his mom, Linda, first met former Texas City police officer Linnard R. Crouch at the emergency room the night their father and husband, James, died of heart failure.

He had something for them, a little clear plastic baggie full of James’s belongings that Crouch found at the scene where Mabe’s heart went out behind the wheel of his pickup truck, on the side of a busy road in Texas City. Crouch had brought James’s cellphone, his wallet and a stack of money with a single $100 bill on top.

Mrs. Mabe and I thanked Officer Crouch for helping our loved one,” Michael wrote in a letter to Texas City Police Chief Robert Burby in February — before launching into the rest of the narrative: Later that night, when Linda opened the bag, she discovered that the $2,400 she had just given him at her office one hour earlier was missing, and that instead, the money had been replaced with single dollar bills. Turns out, Officer Crouch is now under investigation for stealing it and has been sued by the Mabe family.

kelsie.schelling.suspect.fire.facebookReading from the Voice Media empire: A fire at the former home of Donthe Lucas, a suspect in the disappearance of Kelsie Schelling more than four years ago, is being investigated as potential arson, raising speculation about a potential link to her case that police are trying to dampen. In the meantime, a fire department spokesperson confirms that the current residents of the house were home at the time the blaze erupted and sprang into action to put it out before more permanent damage was done. Westword has the story.

feature-openerReading from the Voice Media empire: Loose, blood-red vomit poured from Demetri’s mouth, his half-digested noodles swimming down the Chautauqua Trail. A few feet away, Lewis propped himself against a rock, his tremoring body kicking up dirt in the final rays of the sunset. Demetri’s stomach heaved, searching for something else to eject. But the only thing left in his body was heroin. Westword has the story.

dolphin-mall-credit-taubman_centers_incCourtesy of Taubman Centers

Two men casually wandered through Dolphin Mall earlier this month, past the teenage shoppers and kiosks hawking watches, and headed for a quiet bathroom. One man gripped an envelope stuffed with $10,000 in cash. The other waited for a handoff in a stall. And lurking in disguise nearby, federal agents watched it all go down.

harrison-garcia-featureCourtesy of Dania Jimenez

High above a leafy Westchester neighborhood, a helicopter full of federal agents zeroes in on a gated house with a red-tiled roof. On the ground, a Homeland Security SWAT team surrounds the ranch-style home on a dead-end street off the Palmetto Expressway. Scores of agents in body armor crouch nearby, rifles ready. It’s around 5:30 p.m. on a sun-drenched Friday in October, and the 40 agents lie in wait as a confidential informant places a call to lure out their suspect.

Soon enough, a Chevy Suburban pulls out of the driveway, and the agents watching from the sky give the go-ahead. Four blocks from the house, an agent steers a Dodge Charger toward the SUV and slams to a stop in front of it. The Suburban veers onto someone’s front lawn. Other cars materialize behind it, and more feds jump out. “Put your hands up!” the agents holler as they converge with guns drawn.

They shatter the window on the driver’s side and haul out their guy: a 26-year-old aspiring music producer named Harrison Garcia.

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