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Scarecrow Bandit Gets 29 Life Sentences & Nightly Roundup


By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – Another "Scarecrow Bandit" has been sentenced to multiple life sentences without parole for a series of north Texas bank heists. U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle ordered 43-year-old Charles Runnels to serve the 29 life sentences consecutively.

Runnels is the next-to-last "Scarecrow Bandit" to be sentences for a series of 2008 holdups in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. No sentencing date has been set for 43-year-old Tony R. Hewitt. Prosecutors say Hewitt and 29-year-old Corey Deyon Duffey were leaders of the gang. Duffey already has been sentenced to 354 years in prison.

Also sentenced previously were 32-year-old Antonyo Reece, sentenced to 140 years in federal prison, and 30-year-old Jarvis Dupree Ross, who received a 330-year prison sentence. None of the sentences do not carry the possibility of parole.

The group was called "Scarecrow Bandits" because of loose shirts and floppy hats worn during some robberies.

Love Field CNG Cab Preference Halted By Court

A federal judge has put the brakes on plans to move natural gas powered taxis to the head of the line at Dallas Love Field.

City officials say being first in line to pick up fares would encourage cab owners to "go green". They say that would help reduce vehicle emissions and clean up the air.

Attorney for the Taxi Association, Kelly Hollingsworth says the judge issued a temporary restraining order - ruling that regulation of vehicle emissions is the jurisdiction of the federal government under the Clean Air Act.

Cab drivers have complained that converting to natural gas, or buying new cabs, in order to compete would put independent drivers and small companies out of business. A hearing is set for May 4th.

DFW Airport tried to bump CNG cabs to the front of the line last year. A judge also blocked that plan.

Gingrich attends Texas rally, won't discuss plans

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he isn't sure if he'll run for president in 2012.

Gingrich addressed about 300 conservative tea party activists at an Austin hotel Thursday. The crowd chanted "Newt," when a moderator asked about his political plans. Gingrich dodged the moderator's question but later told reporters he didn't know if he'd run for president 2012.

Gingrich was appearing at one of several tea-party gatherings around the nation and around Texas, and he signed a tea party document called the Contract From America.

Activists touted the contract, a 10-part pledge that some activists are asking elected officials to sign. Gingrich is well-known for his support of the Contract With America that helped Republicans recapture Congress in 1994.