It's Friday -- Let's Get Out of Here

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

Ten years ago Bridgeport and Decatur were still playing each other.   (That's the game ball being delivered in the top photograph and not an injury situation.)

  • Regarding Thomas Houchin's DWI arrest. The Messenger, to its credit, got a hold of the probable cause affidavit which police are required to prepare whenever there is a warrantless arrest. If you are a defendant in a DWI case and have only two "clues" on the Walk and Turn test and one on the One Leg Stand test, I generally like your chances. A lot. Whenever I see that in a case, it tells me the person is going to look fantastic on the video. And the video is basically all the State has when there is no blood or breath test. (The facts don't make it a "bad arrest", they just make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for prosecutors to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.)

  • Mansfield High School shooting case updates:
    • The shooter, Timothy Simpkins, was released on bond yesterday. Some of our state representatives must think the kid must have been convicted in a secret trial already, or he has never heard of the presumption of innocence. Jeff Leach is a lawyer and a Baylor graduate. 

    • To the extent it's characterized as a "mass shooting", his attorney ain't wrong. 

    • One more thing about the case that I was slow to realize, Simpkins, the shooter, was the kid who was getting the crap beat out of him in the video. The probable cause affidavit says he had on "light colored hooded shirt" on during the fight which preceded the shooting. 

    • A photo from inside a classroom during the lockdown.  Here's a video of cops busting through it to check on the room. 

  • As we all knew it would be, the Debt Ceiling Crisis was avoided last night. But we had a split vote of the Texas Senators to get there:

    • Here is Cruz's exact quote after the vote. It's funnier when you see him say it. 

  • I wish there was more information about this Sheriff near Amarillo who was found not guilty yesterday. It had something to do with allegations of purchasing equipment at a discount. 

    • His lawyer was happy on Twitter.

  • These are headlines I've seen over the last 24 hours.  What's the next step, formal book burnings?

  • I saw this posted yesterday.  Have I ever mentioned the fact that DPS spent tons of your money on gun boats? 

  • The third victim in the Three-Bodies-In-A-Dumpster case has been identified. Maricruz Mathis, 33, had her "throat slashed" and then her body set on fire in the dumpster. 
  • Time which has passed since the Wise County Sheriff's Office has failed to solve the murder of Lauren Whitener in her home at Lake Bridgeport: 828 days.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

Photographer Joe Duty did/does some great work.    

  • Mansfield Timberview High School Shooting: 
    • It's interesting how various news media are handling the video of the "fight" which started the shooting.  The national ABC World News Tonight broadcast played it. Local WFAA, whose 6:00 p.m. news immediately followed it, didn't even mention it. Fox 4 acknowledged the video existed but didn't play it because it "hadn't been verified." 

    • There's another video where the audio picks up the shots being fired. It's chilling. 

    • The whole thing was definitely national news as it was going down.

    • This stuck with me. Buses lined up in Arlington yesterday to evacuate students due to gun violence in America. Good lord. 

    • As did this (from CBS 11):

  • This ruling from last night enjoining the Texas abortion ban will last until the Fifth Circuit gets to the office this morning. If you want to read the 113 page decision, here you go.  

    • The State appealed to the Fifth Circuit within 75 minutes.

  • The Star-Telegram has yet another story where someone's identity has been solved using "genetic genealogy." Authorities had a DNA profile from two feet which had mysteriously washed up on shore in South Carolina but couldn't find an exact match for the profile through traditional means. They (1) then "sent a DNA sample [from the feet] to a company in Texas for a genealogical profile" (2) "the lab compared the sample to databases where people voluntarily upload their DNA [like 23andMe] and found someone they believed to be a sibling", (3) they solved the case within three months by tracking down that sibling and learning she had a sister who had gone missing. 
    • That's the way it works: You use private genealogy databases to at least identify the family of the person you are looking for. Once you find the family, you use old-fashioned police work to locate the exact identify of the person you seek. 
    • The technique has been used to find the Golden State killer, solved a 1977 cold case in Fort Worth involving a killing at a bowling alley, and, as Texas Monthly featured, solved the identity of "Pecos Jane" found dead in a Texas motel pool in 1966. 
    • So how in the world has the Lauren Whitener murder case not been solved when Wise County authorities have a complete DNA profile of the person who left behind semen? 

  • Is it kind of weird we let a jury decide things like this?

  • Here's a play-by-play yesterday in the Elizabeth Holmes trial where a juror was excused right in the middle of it. 

  • This video from last week's Aggie Yell Practice was going around yesterday. It really is amazing. And it also qualifies as the worst comedy routine in the history of ever. 

  • Oh, look. Another story today. 

  • Gov. Abbott was at the border against yesterday but this time he brought nine other governors with him. Someone had an observation about the relevance of eight of them.

  • Abbott's border wall update: The project has raised $54 million.  But 98% of that came from one person: The grandson of banking tycoon Andrew Mellon.


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

That was how Apple's home page looked on October 5, 2011 after it was immediately changed.

  • According to the Wise County Jail records, Decatur ISD Board Member Thomas Houchin was arrested by the Decatur Police Department on the charge of DWI last night. He was booked in at 12:38 a.m.  (A note of caution: As much as the guy has been dog-piled lately, everyone probably needs to withhold judgment here. There is no charge more likely not to pan out than that of DWI.  A recent example is that of Texas governor candidate Allen West's wife.)
  • I was correct about my report yesterday that not enough people showed up for jury selection in a murder trial at the Decatur courthouse on Monday. Only 53 of 300 people responded to the jury summons (18%). Of those 53, so many had to be released for not being qualified or "struck for cause" that there weren't enough left over to seat a 12 person jury. 
  • A revised Texas House map was released yesterday but the changes did not impact Wise County. We are still proposed to be in district 64 held by Rep. Lynn Stucky. I thought they might tweak the boundaries of that part of the district in Denton County, but it remained the same in the revised map. 

  • A Wise County murder conviction where the defendant received 40 years in prison was affirmed on appeal yesterday.  
  • Big news in Cowboys world in that they cut Jaylon Smith last night.  The best answer as to "why now?" is something the Dallas Morning News pointed out a month ago: If he were to have been injured this year and couldn't pass a physical on March 20, 2022, his salary for next year of $9.2 million would become fully guaranteed. The Cowboys think he's done and didn't want to risk him getting hurt. 

  • If you've been following the Urban Meyer case (the Jacksonville head coach who got very handsy with a girl in a restaurant/bar that he co-owns in Ohio), one of the under-reported fun facts is that Meyer has a big picture of himself and his wife hanging in that bar. 

  • The Southlake school administration investigated the claim and decided to not reprimand the teacher. The Carroll School Board overturned that decision.  The book was a New York Times bestseller and an Oprah Book Club selection. (What is going on in Southlake is the focus of a great podcast here.)

  • That's a hotel room. In Texas

  • Messenger: Above the Fold (I got my access back!)


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

There was a bomb threat at Decatur ISD ten years ago which turned out to be a false alarm. The picture of the kids who evacuated wasn't posted by the school -- someone sent it to me that day.  Interestingly, the note that caused the commotion actually made its way to Facebook. I think it had been written on a door:

  • I'm trying to confirm that an insufficient number of jurors showing up for service caused a murder trial in Decatur to get derailed yesterday.  
  • There were lots of funny comments about Facebook being down. 

  • And another DFW company. That's 54,000 employees.

  • The gerrymandering for State Senate District 10 in order to get rid of Democrat Beverly Powell is really amazing. It is currently 413 square miles but will increase to 6,233.

  • I don't know how you can do a story like this and simply say, "The cause of death was not released."  The Dallas Morning News was quiet about it as well in their story

  • George Floyd had a drug conviction out of Harris County, but it was one of the many cases handled by an officer who ended up being disgraced and charged because of the infamous "Pecan Park Raid" in 2019.  Now the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole has approved a posthumous pardon for Floyd, but it has to be approved by Greg Abbott. Here's a hot prediction: He won't approve it. 

  • Funny chryno this morning on CNN reviewing former VP Mike Pence appearing on Fox News last night. 

  • Never heard a thing about whether these two were related. Both were posted early Sunday morning. 

  • Officials at the Collin County Courthouse forgot to pay attention to its "emergency power transfer switch" yesterday morning.  

  • Three valets of the ages of 18, 22 and 23, who worked at the restaurant pictured below, were killed in Houston on Friday night after a car driven by a 17 year old struck them. He was being chased by police for doing doughnuts in a parking lot. Sheesh. And there's a weird twist: The 17 year old was another valet from a different restaurant across the street who was in a customer's car. 

  • Didn't I tell you the richest guy I know once told me he began investing in warehouses? This from the Dallas Morning News today:

  • We got to take care of a dog at the office for a couple of days.  Office dogs should officially be a thing. 

  • Legal nerd stuff: The Twitter bot which tracks laughter during arguments at the Supreme Court. (It had  a rough year due to COVID induced Zoom hearings, but it's back.)