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Texan Receives New Trial After DNA Test & Midday Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX –

A Texas man who spent the past eight years in prison on a manslaughter conviction is getting a new trial.

A state district judge in Paris set aside Danny Holloway's conviction Thursday, agreeing that a DNA test showed that blood on the suspected murder weapon didn't belong to the victim.

The 32-year-old Holloway has said he's innocent and that someone else fatally stabbed 17-year-old Ashley Lee in 2001 during a brawl outside a bar in Paris, about 90 miles northeast of Dallas.

Lamar County District Attorney Gary Young said he respectfully disagrees with the ruling. Young says seven eyewitnesses say Holloway stabbed Lee.

Young says he believes this is the first Lamar County case in which a judge has set aside a conviction based on DNA evidence.

County to take televangelist's jet off tax rolls

A northern Texas tax appraisal district has agreed to exempt the $3.3 million jet owned by Kenneth Copeland Ministries from property taxes.

The Tarrant Appraisal District's concession is at the heart of a settlement reached with the Newark-based television evangelist's ministry last week. KTVT-TV of Fort Worth and Dallas reports the district also agreed to drop its requirement of salary information on the ministries' directors.

In December 2008, a district board ruled the ministry's jet lacked tax-exempt status. It also denied a protest from Copeland's attorneys because the ministry refused to release salaries of directors, including Copeland and his wife.

Copeland's ministry is based on a 1,500-acre campus behind an iron gate on Eagle Mountain Lake, about 40 miles northwest of Dallas. It includes a church, airstrip, hangar for its aircraft and a $6 million lakefront mansion.

35 years for shoeless robber in Fort Worth

A thief who tried to avoid identification by going shoeless during some Fort Worth-area holdups must serve 35 years in prison. Detectives say 21-year-old Johnny Lee Britt thought he could elude police by not leaving shoe prints.

Prosecutor Lisa Callaghan says "somebody had been watching too much CSI."

Britt pleaded guilty and was sentenced Wednesday over six aggravated robberies during 2008.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Thursday that masked robbers shed their shoes and opted for white crew socks during some of the crimes. Nobody was hurt during the robberies that mainly targeted restaurants and retail stores.

Callaghan, who referred to the CBS television show "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," says the shoeless aspect was the connecting factor in some cases.

She declined to provide more details on how Britt was identified, since a co-defendant awaits trial

Arson ruling in dead tax protester's Austin house

Investigators say a fire that destroyed a tax protester's house as he flew his small plane into an IRS office building in Austin was intentionally set. Fire officials have ruled arson caused the Feb. 18 blaze that burned Joseph Stack's home.

Investigators have said they believed Stack torched his home, drove to Georgetown Municipal Airport and then flew his single-engine plane into the office complex. Stack died in the fiery crash, along with IRS employee Vernon Hunter. A service is scheduled tomorrow in Austin for Hunter. Hunter's family on Monday sued widow Sheryl Stack, to determine if her spouse had insurance policies or other assets. Meanwhile, neighbors have set up a Web site, seeking financial assistance, for Sheryl Stack and her 12-year-old daughter.