Keep Away From 820 at Mark IV Parkway

Which is in north Fort Worth. It was a three vehicle wreck, one death, and a freeway shut down.

Wedding Follow Up

It's being touted as the "Greatest Marriage Proposal In The World" on the Internet. Hmmm. Maybe "Greatest Marriage Proposal By Flamboyant Broadway Wannabe".

Wise County Wedding In The Courtroom This Morning

No comments (I like this girl, and I don't trust you people.) But I posted this on Facebook where someone commented, "Was there a jury?"

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • Yeah, it's cute, but the Evian "skating babies" commercial doesn't jazz me like it does everyone else. I'm just not a fan of the overly tricked up computer generated video.
  • Twice this week, I've driven by down a street in the morning only to see a guy walk out of his house, shirtless, and fire up a cigarette.
  • I wonder if other cultures get as freaked out as the U.S. does over "sex crimes."
  • I don't think I've ever seen a "victim impact statement" delivered to a defendant after a trial but while the jury was still in the jury box. At least not in Wise County.
  • And that legal right of the victim is simply odd: It can only occur after a sentence has been handed down.
  • But the defendant yesterday will certainly remember it. Heck, I will.
  • The photo of Obama checking out the girl yesterday was pretty funny. Headline winner may go here but our local Fox 4 gave it a good effort.
  • College football fans only: ESPN's Big 12 Blog has been counting down to the 25 biggest moments in the conference's history. Good stuff. The only one left to be disclosed is #1, but it has to be UT's Vince Young's scramble on 4th down to win the National Championship.
  • The capital murder indictment of Steven York by a Wise County Grand Jury this week kind of flew under the radar. The next big announcement is whether the DA's office will seek the death penalty -- something that hasn't occurred in almost 30 years.
  • I think a new Harry Potter movie is coming out. I've never seen any of them nor do I have any desire to.
  • Running of the Bulls update: Bulls 1, Humans 0
  • Our Congress woman, Kay Granger, visited a Wise County ranch a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday she was hospitalized due to dehydration. Coincidence?
  • Movie critic Gary Gogill called the new Bruno movie the most shocking R rated movie he's ever seen. That's saying something.
  • 14 of 17 dogs at the Jacksboro animal shelter were euthanized. It's like a puppy holocaust.
  • [Post about Steve McNair's killer failing field sobriety tests deleted because even I was bored by it.]
  • What temperature do you keep your home thermostat at? Me: 77 in the evening. 74 at night.


Verdict: 15 years

Barry (from iPhone) Edit: But we did have a little bit of drama when the victim was allowed (by law) to address the defendant in open court after the verdict. She stood about 15 feet from him and spoke loudly and angrily. Her opening sentence was something about "throwing a shoe" which I didn't quite pick up. But after telling him that she did not fear him although he "destroyed my family," she ended with: "I hate you and hope you burn in hell." That was pretty shocking.

Defendant and family wait for verdict

Live from courthouse in ongoing sexual assault case

Closing arguments (as seen from gallery and with a very rough
transcribed summary):

- we are judged how we protect our children
- punishment for punishment's sake is sometimes appropriate

- you promised me you would consider the full range of punishment
including probation
- probation is not a slap on the hand
- you heard what's involved including GPS ankle bracelet
- it can go on up to 10 years
- if he violates his probation he goes to prison. No jury. Just the
- he will have to register as sex offender and he has a felony
- he had no criminal history whatsoever
- no evidence that there are any other victims
- he will live 2,500 miles from victim
- has a child in college andnow divorced and two others. As sex
offender he will not be able to go to their activities
- he would be able to pay child support
- many witnesses said he was a good man
- he made a serious mistake
- this act was one of sickness. Probation will require counseling to
overcome this sickness
- have we come to the point of throwing sick people in jail
- you heard how many people he has helped in his life
- we ask you for probation and this the verdict form you would use
- we thank you

Prosecutor rebuttal:
- you are the ones to tell us what we are to do with these people
- nice guy? He was a nice guy to victim before abuse
- this is a 51 year old man and preyed on young girl
- he stole her innocence
- if it is not about the child then it's about nothing
- I wlll not ask for life in prison but Wise County demands at least
50 years
- make her misery and pain mean something

Barry (from iPhone)


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • More news yesterday on how former NFL player Steve McNair died: His 20 year old girlfriend shot him twice in the head and twice in the chest while he was sleeping.
  • Note to self: Get rid of 20 year old girlfriend.
  • I don't know why I haven't mentioned the 500 dogs seized in Montague County due to neglect. Maybe it's because they don't look near as bad as some other cases we've seen.
  • I can't imagine being a defendant in a felony case waiting for the verdict. I've experienced sitting right beside them, but that's not the same thing as being in their shoes.
  • Man, colleges do some long term planning. Baylor and Duke just worked out an agreement to meet in football on 2017 and 2018. Obama will have finished his second term by then.
  • Something I learned from my new book Assassination Vacation: Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was wearing a T-shirt at that time with a picture of Abraham Lincoln and the motto: Sic semper tyrannis, the state motto of Virginia, and also the words shouted by John Wilkes Booth after he shot Lincoln. (The translation: Thus, always, to tyrants.)
  • I really don't know what "Thus, always, to tyrants" means.
  • Our County Attorney spent most of the weekend in an RV at the Sheriff's Office in connection with "Nor Refusal Weekend." I told him he was crazy.
  • Mena Suvari has a tattoo on her back, too.
  • Megan Henderson, formerly of Fox 4, has been gone for months and hasn't been replaced.
  • There's a web site that almost always steal a pic from for the Random Girl. Now it's started to put a watermark on them which greatly distracts from the hotness. Ugh.
  • If you saw Alpha Dog you'll be very interested in this.
  • I'm amazed at how many cops don't understand they are an agent of government.
  • 41 dead in Iraq in the last two days. Anybody truly believe it's only going to get better?

Greenpeace Takes To Land

I have no idea what the environmentalist group Greenpeace was doing with this banner today at Mt. Rushmore (pic from Christian Science Monitor), but it has a Wise County connection. Blog fan Teela Watson of Decatur ISD was there on vacation and sent me this pic of the banner as it was being taken down.

Sex Assault Trial

I didn't watch much of the sexual assault of a child trial that went on in Decatur over the last two days, so I can't tell if today's late afternoon guilty verdict seemed right or wrong. But it was part of the very odd "split verdict" where the jury found the defendant guilty of one sex act in Count I but not guilty of a different act in Count II. But these cases make me nervous because there seems to be so much doubt. No scientific evidence, just the word of the girl, a family incest allegation, delayed outcry, and a very short trial. (Although there was evidence that the defendant admitted to the offense to family members - but I'm not sure as to the context of this admission.) The unusual part for the Decatur courthouse was that the defendant was of Middle Eastern descent. Most of the witnesses were from Pakistan or Bangladesh who testified with thick accents in front of typical looking Wise County jury. I hope the evidence that those involved were practicing Muslims played no role in the verdict. I have faith that it did not. The punishment phase of the trial is tomorrow. The possible range of punishment is as low as 5 years of probation to the maximum of life in prison. Texas is unusual about allowing jury sentencing and giving them wide discretion as to what to do.

I'll Be Sad When This Guy Dies, Too

But in the meantime, it was just announced that Paul McCartney will perform in the new Cowboys Stadium on August 19th.
  • Thought during the Michael Jackson funeral yesterday: Every speaker, any where, in every setting, needs to be limited to five minutes.
  • The funeral was much, much more reserved than I expected.
  • The most touching moment was Jackson's 10 year old daughter, Paris, saying a few words. But that's insane for the Jackson family to do that to her.
  • The crazy Running of the Bulls has begun. Prepare for pictures of bulls goring Spaniards.
  • Michael Jackson and the #7. (That's a reach.)
  • Fort Worth PD arrested 30 people on DWI charges last year over the 4th of July weekend. This year it was 43.
  • "Around midday, we’ll hit 12:34:56 p.m. on 7/8/09." (Credit Bud Kennedy's column for reminding me.)
  • I'm number intensive today.
  • Geek talk: Google announced late yesterday that it will be releasing an Operating System.
  • I think it kind of hit me last night why some people are moved by Michael Jackson's death and others aren't. If you even remotely cared about the guy's music growing up, his death is kind of a slap in the face about your own mortality. During Queen Latifah's remarks yesterday, she recalled buying "Dancing Machine" as a little girl and running home to play it. I did the exact same thing. Those old songs, those old images, reminds us of a childhood that now seems frighteningly long ago. And Jackson's death reminds us of what the future holds. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think that all the nostaliga is about him. It's about us.


Poor Copy Of Mike Synder Sign Off

The "I Love Yous" happen during the last 20 or so seconds.

Michael Jackson Funeral

Just when I thought it would be a circus, Mariah Carey comes out and sings, "I'll Be There." Even made a cynical old man like me stop down.

Mena Suvari:What's Up With The "3"?

Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • I'm trying to track down the video, but you've got to see Mike Snyder's goodbye on Channel 5's 10:00 o'clock news last night. (He's been demoted to 5 and 6 p.m.). As a tearful Jane McGarry bids him farewell, they turn and exchange to each other a very passionate "I love you".
  • Had a friend who had her nails done in Decatur in the last couple of days but, after the fact, discovered she left her wallet at home. She offered to leave her driver's license as proof that she would return to pay but, no dice. They wanted her to leave her iPhone.She did.
  • There's the Hitler video which is constantly in circulation and spoofed with different subtitles. There's now one for the Michael Jackson death. (Language warning.)
  • Am I recording coverage of the Michael Jackson funeral today? Yes, I am.
  • And do you think Staples got more than their money's worth when they bought the naming rights to the "Staples Center" (the site of the funeral.)
  • Another plug for wisecounty.com's Free Classifieds.
  • Local sports talk news: The Fan (105.3) has a quick trigger finger in firing Ben and Skin.
  • You had to see it to understand, but the purse snatching victim in North Richland Hills (as seen on Fox 4) was one irritating lady.
  • And, after the purse theft, that lady called 911 followed by some prayer chain named the Power Tower. Gordon Keith on The Ticket this morning said, "If you're going to inject God into the phone calls, wouldn't you want to call the Power Tower first?"
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center has compiled a list of terrorist plots in America, and the one listed for April 22, 1997 refers to Wise County. But (1) authorities saying that the planned explosion could have killed up to 30,000 couldn't be further from the truth, and (2) those involved weren't smart enough to set off two bottle rockets simultaneously. (Credit Bud Kennedy for finding the list.)
  • The return of the Hard Rock Cafe to Dallas does nothing for me. (And if it failed on McKinney Avenue, how in the world will it survive in the nearly deserted Victory Park?)
  • I read an article this weekend which referenced "smudge pots" having been used in the old days instead of flares to redirect traffic. I think I have a vague memory of them -- weren't they basically metal cannon balls that worked like a candle?


Michael Jackson Ghost?

I didn't believe it until the music and production value kicked in.

The Results

There were five search warrants for blood over the three day No Refusal Weekend in Wise County

Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • I like fireworks, but there seems to have been no improvements in them in the last 30 years. You think we could have tricked them up a little bit by now.
  • "Two Mexican Midget Wrestlers Killed by Fake Prostitutes." Heck, my weekend was better than that.
  • The Wimbledon Finals aren't the same since NBC booted announcer Bud Collins two years ago.
  • Serena Williams, who won the women's title on Saturday, was photographed two years ago at the beach. Big girl.
  • The Wimbledon final yesterday was great. But, as I've said for years, if they were forced to use wooden rackets, thereby increasing the number of volleys, the game would be better. (Or is it "racquet"?)
  • And don't cry for runner-up Andy Roddick. He is married to her.
  • Where's the best place to buy home grown tomatoes? I just don't see the roadside stands like I used to.
  • Craziest Michael Jackson photo ever?
  • And if you are sick of Michael Jackson coverage, get ready for tomorrow.
  • The guy the suffered head injuries at the Rainbow Lounge, a gay bar in Fort Worth, was on Fox 4 last night to defend himself. Except he uttered the phrase, "I probably was drunk" which doesn't help his cause. (And then there was the weird whisper from his side that said, "But not to the point of alcohol poisoning.")
  • ESPN did a show the other day about the "10 Greatest Dallas Cowboys" and the Star Telegram yesterday had an oddly themed column called "The Greatest Living Cowboys." Emmitt Smith never gets close to #1.
  • Hadn't thought about this in a while: Of all those offices in the outfield at Ranger Stadium, how many are occupied? (I remember the Troy Aikman Foundation -- or something like that -- officed out there when the place first opened.)
  • Sarah Palin can't stand the heat? How about another woman that has endured far more fire who never quit: Hillary.
  • And I don't understand her constant whining about the press always picking on her.She loves attention but then complains when she gets it.
  • After all the self inflicted wounds, Wordkyle may be the only Republican left for the 2012 election.
  • Kinda hot black girl gets booked in Denton yesterday. Then again, I don't see people in colors.
  • Simple graph of the unemployment rate over the years here. That should scare you to death. The economy and your job depends on people having money to spend.
  • If you click on the "+" sign besides Texas in the above graph, you can see the unemployment rate for Wise County.
  • OK Magazine reportedly paid $500,000 for the last photo of Michael Jackson? I promise I saw this photo on Fox News hours after his death.
  • And Entertainment Tonight had the same photo shortly after the death.


Lake Bridgeport: 4th Of July

And I'm pretty sure that's the Messenger's Joe Duty in the bottom pic on the Sheriff's version of the Bat Boat.