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Roundup: Death Row Inmate Gets Stay

Hank Skinner's mugshot
Hank Skinner's mugshot

By BJ Austin, KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has halted the execution of a man who was set to die Wednesday.

Hank Skinner is on death row for killing three people in 1993.

His lawyers have been asking the courts to order DNA testing of crime scene evidence that was not tested during Skinner's original trial. Rob Owen is one of Skinner's attorneys.

Rob Owen: "Today's order does not guarantee Mister Skinner of the DNA testing that he's been fighting for for more than a decade, it just ensures that he won't be executed before he has a fair opportunity to convince the Court of Criminal Appeals that he should get that testing."

Skinner claims the testing would prove his innocence. He has maintained that he was incapacitated by alcohol and prescription drugs at the time of the murders.

Central Market Okayed Next To School

Central Market got the green light from the Dallas City Council Monday to put a store in the old "Borders" location at Preston and Royal.

The Council had to waive the required buffer zone between a school and an establishment that sells alcohol. The property line of the Preston Royal Shopping Center is less than 300 feet from St. Mark's School. But the entrance to the store is further.

Council member Ann Margolin said the headmaster and the St Mark's Board are okay with a Central Market next door.

No word on how soon the store plans to open.

Tarrant County Highway To Close Overnight

Starting Monday - weather permitting -- State Highway 114 in Roanoke will be closed overnight for about a week. Burlington Northern Santa Fe is making repairs to the railroad overpass. Nightly 114 detours will be from 10 pm until 6am tonight through November 14th.

Profanity-filled Washington recording on Internet

The Texas Rangers are investigating who leaked an audio recording of the clubhouse speech Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington gave to his players before Game 7 of the World Series.

The website posted the six-minute recording and said it was made by a member of the clubhouse staff it did not identify. The profanity-filled speech includes Washington encouraging and laughing with his players.

Washington spoke to his team on Oct. 28, the day after the Rangers twice were within a strike of winning their first World Series title before losing Game 6 to the St. Louis Cardinals 10-9 in 11 innings. The Rangers then lost Game 7 by a score of 6-2.

General manager Jon Daniels says the team is looking into the leak. He says it was a "private moment" for the team and it is "unacceptable" for it to be in public.

Texan tells court he didn't want to help al-Qaida

A Texas man accused of trying to sneak out of the country to join al-Qaida says he never intended to help the terrorist group.

Barry Walter Bujol Jr. told the court during opening statements Monday that he wanted to leave the U.S. because he disagreed with its foreign policy but that he never intended to harm anyone.

The 30-year-old American citizen is representing himself at his trial, which is being heard by a judge, not a jury.

Prosecutors say Bujol sought to join al-Qaida and to provide it with money, restricted U.S. military documents and GPS equipment.

Bujol is charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and aggravated identity theft. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Drought, demand from China drive up pecan prices

Expect to pay more for pecan pie this holiday season.

Because of drought in Texas and other top pecan-growing states and continued strong demand from China, the average price for a pound of pecans is about $11 this year. That's up from $7 a pound in 2008 and $9 last year.

South Georgia Pecan Co. vice president Jeff Worn says that's a lot of money to pay for pecans in a sluggish economy.

Worn says retailers who sell bagged pecans are likely to be hardest hit by increased prices. Food manufacturers who use pecans can probably manage more easily because the cost gets mixed in with that of other ingredients.

A big factor in the price of pecans is demand from China, which takes about 20 percent of the U.S. crop.