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Texas Judge Sharon Keller On Trial & Nightly Roundup


By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX –

Judge Sharon Keller says denying a request to keep her court open late didn't amount to any decision on her part about a death row inmate scheduled to be executed that night. The presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals testified Thursday in her ethics trial in San Antonio.

She testified she got a call shortly before court closed about an appeal that was running late. Keller said she knew it concerned that night's execution but that no explanation was given.

Under a state investigator's questioning, she denied being told of problems that were delaying an appeal from convicted killer Michael Wayne Richard.

Keller's accused of denying Richard the right to file an appeal by not keeping her court open late. She faces five charges of judicial misconduct and could be removed from the bench.

Keller is scheduled to continue testifying Wednesday.

Former bank executive sentenced

A former Kilgore bank executive has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for fraud.

The U.S. attorney in eastern Texas, John M. Bales, said 51-year-old C. Hugh Bowden, Jr., of Gladewater, pleaded guilty on Feb. 26. Bowden was charged with making a false entry in bank records.

A statement Tuesday from Bales said on Jan. 18, 2006 while Bowden was Executive Vice President of City National Bank in Kilgore, he knowingly failed to disclose that he was engaged in business partnerships with certain customers. The bank lost more than $300,000.

Bowden must also repay $301,516.06 and was ordered to surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service on Oct. 19 to start serving the prison sentence.

Man charged with raping women after car crashes

A 26-year-old Dallas man is in a Dallas County jail accused of sexually assaulting at least two women after crashing his pickup truck into their cars deliberately. Omar Quinonez is jailed with bond set at $250,000.

A police spokeswoman says Quinonez is accused of intentionally bumping the victim's vehicles from behind. Then, he allegedly abducting the women at knifepoint when they step out to inspect the damage and exchange insurance information.

The charges arise from two separate cases in opposite sides of Dallas on Aug. 2, and Saturday.

There was no answer at the Dallas County jail to calls for information on whether Quinonez has an attorney.

Ex-worker gets prison over Garland standoff

A fired custodian accused in a 2007 standoff at a Garland nursing home in which nobody was hurt is going to prison. Earnest L. Smith, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced in Dallas to 49 years in prison for each of four aggravated kidnapping counts.

Prosecutor Dewey Mitchell says Smith on Monday also was sentenced to 25 years in prison for aggravated assault. The terms will run concurrently.

Smith had been a janitor at the Castle Manor Nursing home when he was fired. Days later, on April 3, 2007, Smith was accused of using a gun to hold four people at the complex hostage. Smith surrendered after about three hours.

A relative claimed Smith had been mistreated on the job.

College Station clarifies George Bush Drive is 41

No disrespect to George W. Bush, but a street in College Station is named for his father.

The College Station City Council on Monday night approved a resolution to clarify that George Bush Drive is named for the 41st president, George H.W. Bush.

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M carries a street address of 1000 George Bush Drive West. George W. Bush, the 43rd president, left office in January. The younger Bush's library is planned for Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Councilman John Crompton has said he was concerned that people might not know which ex-president is associated with the road. The elder Bush lives in Houston. George W. Bush lives in Dallas.

Texas man fires at utility worker replacing meter

Police say an elderly Dallas homeowner opened fire on an electric utility employee replacing meters after suspecting the worker was trying to break into his home.

According to a Dallas Police Department statement, the Oncor utility worker was hit by flying splinters Tuesday morning when one of the shotgun rounds hit a wooden post. Paramedics examined the worker, but he wasn't taken to a hospital.

Police say the worker knocked on the 79-year-old man's door but got no answer. He went to the rear of the house and used a ladder to climb a fence to get access to the meter.

Police say the homeowner, thinking the worker was breaking in, fired several shotgun blasts through the back door. They're questioning him and likely will refer the case to a Dallas County grand jury.