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Texan Gets Life Sentence In Sex Club Case & Nightly Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – An East Texas jury has convicted and delivered a life sentence against a man accused of being part of an alleged swinger's club that used children as performers.

The Smith County jury in Tyler decided within a half hour Thursday that 47-year-old Dennis Pittman will serve at least 15 years of his prison sentence before he becomes eligible for parole.

Pittman had been found guilty earlier in the day of engaging in organized criminal activity.

The jury deliberated about 1 1/2 hours before convicting Pittman, who was the fourth of six defendants to be tried in the so-called Mineola child sex ring.

Texas gasoline prices remain stable

What a difference two years makes in the price of gasoline at pumps across Texas!

The AAA Texas gasoline price survey released Thursday shows unleaded regular averaging a penny less this week at $2.56 per gallon statewide. Nationally, the price average was unchanged at $2.72.

That's $1.42 less than the record $3.98 Texas motorists paid two years ago and $1.39 less than motorists paid nationwide.

The auto club statement credits crude oil price stability at between $69 and $79 per barrel, less consumption from past summers and greater use of ethanol.

The cheapest gasoline in Texas is in Houston, where regular averages a penny less than last week at $2.52 per gallon. The most expensive is in El Paso, where the average price is unchanged at $2.69 per gallon.

Speaker sitting on $3 million in campaign cash

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus says he has about $3 million in campaign cash and has raised more than $650,000 from late February through June.

The figures released Thursday by the Republican speaker from San Antonio show that he's given almost $260,000 to GOP House candidates and $15,000 to the debt-ridden Republican Party of Texas.

In addition to his own accounts - which grew by almost $470,000 - Straus reports having raised $183,852 for the Texas House Leadership Fund to support the GOP House majority. That fund has a balance of about $206,000.

Straus says he's giving money to GOP candidates earlier than usual for the November election and will continue to do so because "the stakes are very high for us this fall."