Waco Prosecutors Withheld Public Information In Biker Shootout Case, Texas AG Says
Five stories that have North Texas talking: texts and the Waco biker shootout case; a rainy weekend; the latest on Planned Parenthood in Texas; and more.
The Texas attorney general's office says Waco prosecutors violated open records laws by not releasing text messages related to a deadly May shootout involving bikers and police. A letter to McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna instructed him to "cure" the violation earlier this month. Attorneys for some of the 170 bikers arrested following the melee at a Twin Peaks restaurant have accused prosecutors of offering reduced bonds in exchange for waiving their right to sue. A retired sheriff's deputy is now seeking the text messages. Prosecutors released some communications following the attorney general's letter. Assistant District Attorney Michael Jarrett denies the waiver offer in some messages, though prosecutors are still challenging the release of all records. Nine bikers were killed in the fight between rival motorcycle gangs. [Associated Press]
- The rain kept falling and falling -- and when it finally stopped, 21 inches fell in Corsicana in Navarro County, which is about an hour south of Dallas. There was an unofficial report of 28.9 inches of rain in Dawson, a small town in Navarro County. All that water made driving a mess. Interstate 45 between Dallas and Houston had to be shut down in Corsicana repeatedly throughout the weekend. There was also a levee breach west of I-45. County officials performed dozens of high water rescues, getting calls from people stuck in cars, homes and businesses. A Union Pacific freight train derailed near Corsicana early Saturday morning. Chambers Creek was overflowing and washed out the tracks. Two crewmembers were on board – they escaped by swimming to safety. Nobody was hurt. The Corsicana school district is delaying school until 10 a.m. today. Several other school districts in Navarro County are closed today because the roads aren’t safe. They plan to reopen Tuesday. [KERA/Associated Press]
- The actions taken against Planned Parenthood in Texas last week are not final, an official says. The Texas Tribune reports: “The Texas official in charge of the Medicaid inquiry of Planned Parenthood says that the organization has not been terminated from that federal health care program and that it would take at least a month to determine whether it should be. In an interview … with The Texas Tribune, Stuart Bowen Jr., head of the Office of Inspector General at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, said the ‘notice of termination’ sent to Planned Parenthood last week is the start of a civil enforcement process — and not a final determination of the organization’s status as a Medicaid provider in Texas. ‘We did not terminate them,’ he said. ‘We began a process ... inclusive of the development of evidence.’ The wording of that notice, along with public statements from the governor and other top state officials, made last week’s actions sound more final than they are.” [Texas Tribune]
- Dallas police arrested a suspect in the Zoe Hastings murder case. The Dallas Morning News reports: “DNA evidence links a 34-year-old man to the abduction and murder of 18-year-old Zoe Hastings near White Rock Lake earlier this month, police said Saturday. Antonio Lamar Cochran, who recently moved to the Dallas area from Texarkana, Texas, has been charged with capital murder and is being held in the Dallas County Jail with bail set at $2.5 million. U.S. marshals arrested him at an apartment in northeast Dallas early Saturday. Police say Cochran abducted Hastings on Oct. 11 when she left her family’s home for a class at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on East Lake Highlands Drive.” [The Dallas Morning News]
- Horseback riders from a cowboy church in Texas have delivered to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin a stone tablet engraved with the Ten Commandments. Fallin accepted the tablet Friday outside the state Capitol, where a large granite Ten Commandments monument stood before it was ordered removed by the state Supreme Court. The court says the display violates a state constitutional prohibition on the use of public property to support religion. The Rev. John Riggs of the Texoma Cowboy Church in Wichita Falls led a group of 11 riders to the Capitol to deliver the tablet. Riggs says he was troubled the Ten Commandments monument was removed from the Capitol grounds and believes God's law should be honored. Fallin says she plans to place the Ten Commandments tablet in her office. [Associated Press]
The Associated Press contributed to this report.