Five stories that have North Texas talking: Fracking is OK in Denton again; AT&T is in trouble with the FCC; a Stephenville man proves to be the worst pet-sitter ever; and more.
Gregory Russeau, convicted of beating a man to death during an East Texas robbery, is scheduled for execution tonight in Huntsville. He's 45 and has been on death row for 12 years and 8 months. You can find all of this information about him and the other 260 inmates facing the state's death penalty in a new interactive database. The Texas Tribune recently launched “Faces of Death Row,” built with data from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The project focuses on “the most active execution chamber in the nation,” as the Tribune puts it. You can interact with the data by clicking on each inmate and learning the details of his or her crime and conviction. And, you can use age, gender, race and time on death row as filters to learn interesting statistical information about the makeup of Texas’ highest offenders of the law. A few examples:
- Of 261 inmates, only six are women.
- The oldest inmate is 77, and the youngest is 23.
- The inmates have spent an average of 13 years, 6 months on death row.
- Just 12 percent of the state’s residents are black, but 42 percent of death row inmates are.
Hear more about the database app on Texas Standard from earlier this week. The Tribune’s Terri Langford talked about the difficulties getting updated photos of the inmates and how those photos humanize the inmates, making some uncomfortable and concerned, particularly the defense attorneys. [Texas Tribune and Texas Standard]
Denton officials repealed the ban on fracking that was enthusiastically approved by residents last November. The Associated Press reported Wednesday: “The Denton City Council early Wednesday voted 6-1 to drop the fracking ban. The Denton Record-Chronicle says council member Keely Briggs dissented.” Denton voters approved the ban last November “amid concerns that the process could damage the environment and causes earthquakes. The Texas General Land Office and the Texas Oil and Gas Association sued to block the ban.” [Associated Press]
Dallas-based AT&T faces a $100M fine from the FCC for misleading its customers. The Dallas Business Journal reported Wednesday the FCC “alleges that [AT&T] slowed data speeds for customers with unlimited data plans and that it didn’t adequately notify customers about receiving slower speeds.” AT&T said it will “vigorously dispute” these allegations because it’s been transparent with consumers and that the FCC has “‘known for years” that major carriers slow data to manage their networks,”[Dallas Business Journal]
The FDA says the food industry has until 2018 to eliminate all trans fats from America’s diet. The agency announced plans to rid the food supply of trans fats – a major contributor to heart disease – in 2013, but the decision was finalized Tuesday, according to The New York Times. “The agency estimated that the action would cost about $6 billion to put into effect but would save about $140 billion over 20 years in health care and other costs.” In 2006, trans fats were required to be put on nutrition labels, which contributed to the drop in consumption from 2003 to 2012, according to the article. [The New York Times]
A Stephenville man said he would watch a rancher’s cattle and horses for him, but he sold them and made $200,000 instead. The Associated Press reported: “Erath County jail records show Asher Quinn Hoxie of Stephenville was being held Wednesday on a charge of misapplication of fiduciary property over $200,000.” In 2012, Hoxie was supposed to be watching 210 cattle and 30 horses for an Odessa livestock owner, who was recovering from a serious illness. Hoxie was arrested Tuesday and held with a bond of $500,000. Authorities are still trying to find the stolen animals. [Associated Press]