Stacey Hargraves was pulling in $300 per week from his job in the sanitation department at Mary Kay, but it never seemed to stretch far enough to support his wife, children and his propensity to gamble and go to sporting events. And so, according to the FBI, he walked into the Comerica Bank on Illi ... More >>
On an August night in 1998, Douglas Feldman pulled his Harley up next to an 18-wheeler that had just cut him off on a highway in Plano. Feldman shot and killed the driver, Robert Everett, then paused on his way home to murder an Exxon tanker driver named Nicholas Velasquez. A week or so later, he ki ... More >>
Prosecutors team with debt collectors to terrorize consumers in ways both highly profitable and usually illegal.
Two years ago, Joey Dauben was full-time small-town muckraker, publishing the Ellis County Observer and a string of other small papers, blending investigative stories with vicious gossip and baseless speculation at a rate of speed that thrilled and enraged his target audience. He focused intensely o ... More >>
The Associated Press is reporting that Jerry Brown, the Cowboys practice player who died in a drunk-driving accident last month, was sober at the time of the crash. Brown's teammate, Josh Brent, had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit when the car he was driving crashed. The two had been par ... More >>
In May, the Texas Observer profiled Josh Gravens, a 25-year-old Plano man struggling to find a job and otherwise coping with life on the Texas Department of Public Safety's sex offender registry. His crime? Molesting his 8-year-old sister -- when he was 12. Gravens's case illustrates a flaw in the ... More >>
There must be easier ways to make a living than faking car accidents and submitting false insurance claims for those fake car accidents. It also sounds like a ton of work to set up fake chiropractic clinics to generate fraudulent medical records and bills to submit with those fake insurance claims. ... More >>
On the front line of the costliest battle in the high-tech world.
On Tuesday, Ryan Adam Romo, an 18-year-old Highland Park High School senior and star baseball player, was charged with sexual assault of a child, a second-degree felony. Romo is accused of raping a HPHS classmate after a Ghostland Observatory concert at the Palladium Ballroom Saturday night. Given ... More >>
It's hard to forget Alan Todd May. He's the Texas con man who, until his phone privileges were revoked, used to sell spaces in made-up trade shows from his Harris County prison cell, not to mention any number of more pedestrian financial misdeeds. His boldest scheme started in 2008, when he formed ... More >>
Nearly a year and a half since the U.S. Supreme Court tossed a class action lawsuit filed by some 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees who say they hit a corporate glass ceiling, the plaintiffs hit a brick wall in Texas. Because the court ruled the women of Wal-Mart could not sue as a class, a num ... More >>
There is good news to be found in the city's crime stats. For the ninth year in a row, Dallas is on pace to see a drop in its crime rate and, while violent crime is about flat, burglary and theft are down by 15 and 11 percent, respectively. The improving numbers are partly tied to a drop in crime n ... More >>
If someone rolled into Unfair Park HQ and pointed an assault rifle at me while they stole my $800 and seven packs of Newports, I'd probably piss my pants and then go become a monk or a farmer, or maybe a farmer-monk. The owner of McGriff's Beer & Wine are not so fainthearted.
The death of Deanna Cook, who police believe was murdered by her ex-husband as 911 operators listened, was a rare public reminder that instances of domestic violence can turn fatal, with alarming frequency. So far this year, 19 PEOPLE have been murdered in acts of domestic violence, few of which rec ... More >>
You know the Liberty Institute as the group that has steered Plano's infamous Candy Cane Case through the courts. More recently, it's championed the cause of Angela Hildenbrand, the Texas high school student who wanted to pray during her valedictory speech. As part of its work, in 2004 the nonprofi ... More >>
It was not the scene housekeepers expected to find when they entered the seventh-floor room of the upscale Whitehall Hotel in Chicago: the body of Brianna Gardner, a 22-year-old Dallas woman, fatally shot in the head. Police found a cell phone in the room and, shortly after, brought it's owner in f ... More >>
It was a grisly scene Lancaster police found on July 22, 1997: Dorothy Booth, a 71-year-old retired psychology professor, stabbed to death on the floor of her dining room stabbed, her left ring finger severed from her hand. The evidence quickly led police to Kimberly McCarthy, Booth's next-door nei ... More >>
Strip clubs are the brave new frontier in employment lawsuits. Women who were for years treated as "independent contractors" are filing suit in droves against their current or former employers. All of them want basically the same thing: the minimum wage and overtime money they feel they should have ... More >>
In 1997, Blas Hernandez was convicted of drunk driving in Ellis County. It was his third DWI, making it a felony and, since he had two previous convictions for assaulting a public servant, they threw the book at him: Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison. Fast-forward to 2012. Hernandez, who wa ... More >>
Last month, Texas' prison population was right at 154,000, the lowest its been in five years. Lower crime rates, an aging population, and alternative treatments have all contributed to the decline. But as the Star-Telegram noted yesterday, the drop hasn't been enough to spare Texas the dubious dist ... More >>
Each year, a handful of Dallas county teenagers accused of crimes are "certified," meaning they're being charged as adults and will appear in adult criminal court. While they await trial, they sit in Dallas county jail. We've learned that while in jail, these teens are kept in their cells for 23 hou ... More >>
Updated to include an additional interview. A Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial published this weekend concludes that Tarrant County has not exonerated nearly as many innocent prisoners as Dallas County simply because it did not wrongfully incarcerate them in the first place. This black-and-white ... More >>
Texas has executed five people so far this year, all using the same procedure. First, a barbiturate, pentobarbital, is administered to induce unconsciousness. Then a dose of pancuronium bromide paralyzes every muscle in the body. Finally, a dose of potassium chloride stops the heart. That wil ... More >>
On Tuesday, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced it would use a single drug -- pentobarbital, a barbiturate -- to carry out executions due to a shortage of one component in a three-drug cocktail. Overseas manufacturers of pancuronium bromide, a powerful paralytic, have halted shipment ... More >>
On the trail for justice with Texas' exonerees.
The 2004 summer night when David Cunniff took his two teen daughters to an Old 97's show at the Gypsy Tea Room rattled Deep Ellum to the core. How it all went down depends who you ask, but the end result left Cuniff bloodied and beaten to the point that friends and family questioned whether he would ... More >>
There was some good news in the crime statistics presented to the City Council's Public Safety Committee a few moments ago. Burglaries, the bane of the Dallas Police Department in recent years, are down by double-digits thanks to ongoing efforts to shut down fencing operations through which thieves ... More >>
Meet the average modern Texas prisoner, released in 2009. He spent 2.8 years behind bars -- 32 percent more time than his average prisoner predecessor released in 1990. If he was busted for a violent crime, he spent 5.3 years locked up, a 44 percent increase from his predecessor in 1990. You've spen ... More >>
As most people who follow the news know by now, since Craig Watkins became Dallas County district attorney in 2007, 33 local men have been exonerated of crimes they didn't commit. But what does this number mean in the context of the rest of the nation, and what are the common issues that lead to wro ... More >>
Rick Halperin, head of SMU's human rights program, has been saying for years what became nationally recognized this week: "Yes, America, We Have Executed an Innocent Man," to borrow a headline from the Atlantic. Halperin has spent his career doing the academic equivalent of banging his head against ... More >>
There are 11 candidates in the crowded Democratic primary for the new congressional district spanning from Oak Cliff to Fort Worth, but the race is quickly sinking into a political pissing match involving just two as the May 29 primary approaches. Marc Veasey, a state representative from Fort Wort ... More >>
An exhaustive new study has found alarming conditions for Texas teenagers housed in adult jails while awaiting trial, a practice that Dallas and Harris counties use more than anywhere else in the state. In essence, the study found that there's really no good way to keep teens and adults safely in ... More >>
The Dallas Police Department is continuing to explain away -- and maybe overcompensate for -- their initial silence concerning the armed robberies on the Katy Trail and the dozen-or-so incidents police believe they're linked to.A pair of press releases from police hit the inbox yesterday evening, on ... More >>
It was back in January when we first introduced you to young Anthony Blue, a 19-year-old man trying to make a go in the bank-robbing field. He was off to a decent start, actually: In June of last year, he had walked into a Garland bank and slipped the teller a note -- "50's 100's and no body gets hu ... More >>
The number of convicts being freed after serving prison time for crimes they didn't commit keeps mounting in Dallas County, with Friday bringing a rare triple exoneration for three men wrongly accused of robbery. On November 17, 1994, five teenagers roamed the parking lot near the Eckerd drugstore ... More >>
Before this morning, we had never heard of Reynolds Protection, a Dallas purveyor of bodyguards, or its owner, Chad Reynolds, who judging from his bio photo is roughly the size of a refrigerator. A very bald, imposing refrigerator. But this morning Reynolds Protection sent around a press release ann ... More >>
Thirteen years and a hundred school shootings later, why is Hollywood still obsessed with this one?
Is Texas still racist enough to warrant hand-holding by the federal government? That's the essence of where the voter ID debate stands now and where it's headed. Though it may seem like a straightforward question, and one that many politicos have reduced to a "yes" or "no" sound bite, the issue is a ... More >>
Scanning the city's inscrutable bids website this morning in the hopes of finding that not-there-yet Dallas Farmers Market RFP, I came across this instead: a 102-page request for proposals from the Dallas Police Department, which is looking to significantly step up its arsenal of video surveillan ... More >>
It's been 11 years since George Rivas lead the Texas Seven in their escape from prison and shooting of a police officer, and the hour of his death is fast-approaching. At around 6 p.m, the State of Texas will end his life by lethal injection. Rivas confessed that he was the ringleader of the group ... More >>
Via.Anthony Graves, exonerated from death row in 2010As "the death chaplain" at Huntsville prison, Reverend Carroll Pickett has counseled 95 prisoners, one at a time, on the day the state has scheduled to end their life. Death by lethal injection, the chaplain found, is not a quiet exit. It's ... More >>
Google the phrase "SponsorMonsters," and the first thing that pops up is an item from the Mothers Against Drunk Driving website touting the John Carpenter Freeway-based organization's partnership with it. As in: "For 2011, Sponsor Monsters donated their lead sponsorship position to MADD and will ... More >>
That photo you see at right comes from the F.B.I.'s Bandit Tracker website, which we've perused in the past. It was snapped June 14 of last year at a State Bank of Texas branch in Garland, off IH-30. The bandit in question: 19-year-old Anthony Blue of Garland. Which we now know thanks to Anthony' ... More >>
Seems like only three weeks ago Sam Hurd was just another former wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys who was on his road to journeyman status, which, in his case, ran through Soldier Field. Then it was revealed: Even before his acquisition by the Chicago Bears, the San Antonio native fancied him ... More >>
Teresa Hawthorne, the Dallas County judge who ruled that the state's death penalty statute was unconstitutional, must recuse herself from a capital murder case, a judge ruled today. Hawthorne was presiding over the capital murder trial of Roderick Harris, who's accused of killing brothers Alfredo ... More >>
If your New Year's weekend plans include a destination in Tarrant County and you have a nasty and terribly irresponsible habit of driving drunk, your boozebaggery and bad decisions can make you famous -- which is to say, infamous. The Tarrant County District Attorey's Office will publish the names o ... More >>
Freeing the wrongfully convicted through science was the easy part. Now what?
Via....not seeing a whole lot of action.In the death penalty debate, Texas has a long-standing reputation for abiding by one guiding principal: an eye for an eye. But the state has increasingly chosen to holster its lethal-injection needles in recent years, with death-penalty sentences decrea ... More >>