AP-TX--Texas News Digest 12 am, TX
Good morning! Here’s a look at AP’s general news coverage in Texas at this hour. Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the Dallas AP at 972-991-2100, or, in Texas, 800-442-7189. Email: email@example.com. Jill Bleed is at the desk after 6 a.m.
Reminder: This information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date. All times are Central.
HOUSTON — Attorneys for a Texas death row inmate who removed his only eye and ate it in a bizarre outburst several years ago are arguing to a federal appeals court that he’s too mentally ill to be executed and that his trial attorneys were deficient when a North Texas jury in 2005 convicted him of killing his estranged wife’s 13-month old daughter. A federal judge in 2016 rejected an appeal from Andre Thomas and his attorneys took that refusal to the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard their arguments on whether appeals can move forward. By Michael Graczyk. SENT: 450 words, photos.
— TEXAS EXECUTION — The state’s top criminal appeals court has blocked the execution of an East Texas man set for later this month for the slaying of a 93-year-old woman during a robbery at her home. SENT: 130 words.
AROUND THE STATE & NATION:
WICHITA, Kan. — A Texas woman who faked a pregnancy for several months has been found guilty of fatally shooting a former co-worker in Kansas and kidnapping the victim’s newborn baby with the intention of raising the child as her own. A Sedgwick County jury found Yesenia Sesmas guilty of first-degree premeditated and intentional murder, kidnapping and interference with parental custody. Prosecutors said she shot 27-year-old Laura Abarca on Nov. 17, 2016, at Abarca’s Wichita apartment and abducted 6-day-old Sophia Gonzales. The baby was found safe less than two days after the abduction at Sesmas’ apartment in Dallas and was returned to relatives in Wichita. SENT: 370 words.
SUGAR LAND, Texas — A judge has given a Houston-area school district permission to exhume the remains of what historians believe were nearly 100 imprisoned African-Americans buried in unmarked graves when they died more than a century ago. The decision Monday means the Fort Bend Independent School District will begin a months-long process to exhume the graves. SENT: 480 words.
WASHINGTON — The former president of USA Gymnastics has refused to answer questions from a Senate subcommittee about how he handled allegations of sexual abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar, and another former executive sat next to him and asserted that he instructed her and others to keep quiet after she informed him of athletes’ claims. Rhonda Faehn, the former senior vice president of USA Gymnastics, said she first reported an allegation against Nassar to Steve Penny, her then-boss, on June 17, 2015. Nassar was not arrested until more than a year later. He is now serving decades in prison for sexual assault and possession of child pornography, and hundreds of athletes have said they were abused by him, including Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles. By Ben Nuckols. SENT: 780 words, photos. Moved on general and sports news services.
DALLAS — A musician who defrauded investors by claiming to develop sound wave technology that would revolutionize the oil and gas industry used money he collected to support his “lavish” personal spending habits, federal regulators in Texas allege. In a lawsuit filed Monday in a federal court in Dallas, the Securities and Exchange Commission says Paul Gilman, a self-described music visionary, raised about $3.3 million from approximately 40 investors across the country, including in Texas, Georgia, New York and California. By Ryan Tarinelli. SENT: 400 words. Moved on general and financial news services.
— BORDER PATROL-AGENT SLAIN — A South Texas jury has sentenced a 34-year-old Mexican national to death for the fatal 2014 shooting of an off-duty Border Patrol agent. SENT: 90 words.
— SCHOOL SHOOTING-NORTH TEXAS — A 16-year-old boy accused of shooting a female classmate in their North Texas high school cafeteria will stand trial as an adult. SENT: 130 words.
— WACO SHOOTING-INDICTMENT — Attorneys for a man accused in a deadly gunfight in Waco, Texas, say a new indictment should be dismissed because of procedural problems. SENT: 130 words.
— YELLOWSTONE-ELK ATTACK — For the second time in three days, an elk has attacked someone in Yellowstone National Park. The National Park Service said a female elk with a calf attacked 53-year-old park visitor Penny Allyson Behr of Cypress, Texas, behind the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. SENT: 130 words.
— EPA-CHIP AND JOANNA GAINES — Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” series, have settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on allegations that they used inadequate protection while removing lead paint during renovations. SENT: 120 words. Moved on general, entertainment and lifestyle news services.
— XTO ENERGY-FORT WORTH — XTO Energy plans to close its downtown Fort Worth headquarters and relocate hundreds of the 1,200 jobs to the Houston area. SENT: 130 words.
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