EastTexasNewsWebsite BannerAd

Log in

ETNbanner 01

  • (UPDATE) 3 suspects in custody

    shooting suspectsCOURTESY PHOTO shooting suspects Cole Tucker, Dontrevion Glenn, and Jared Hope.

    4 shot, 1 dead in residence shooting 

    From Staff Reports

    LIVINGSTON — One man is dead after a shooting that took place at a residence on the 200 block of Maple Lane in Livingston Wednesday evening.

    Ashton Allen Smith, 22, was found deceased after he received multiple gunshot wounds. Three other people were shot at the residence as well.

    At approximately 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Livingston Police Department responded to the residence, located at 201 Maple Lane, after receiving two 911 calls in regard to gunshots fired inside the residence and several occupants of the residence had been struck. The officers arrived on scene and found multiple gunshot victims and one white male laying on the floor of the residence.

    After securing the scene, EMS was summoned to the scene to treat the wounded, which included a 3-year-old female. During the investigation, witnesses were able to positively identify two of the alleged three suspects who all fled the scene after making forcible entry into the residence.

    The suspects were identified as Cole Byron Tucker, 20, Jared William Hope, 22, and Dontrevion Donnell Glenn, 18, all from Livingston. All three suspects were arrested Thursday in three separate locations.

    Tucker went to Memorial Hermann in downtown Houston to be treated for gunshot wounds, and was arrested at 12:20 a.m. Thursday by an LPD detective and a Texas Ranger. Hope was taken into custody by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 11:30 a.m. Thursday just outside of Splendora.

    Glenn was arrested in Diboll by Texas Rangers Thursday evening. Glenn, Hope and Tucker are all in custody at the Polk County Jail.

    All three have been charged with murder, and Hope also received a probation violation charge. Hope was on probation for three years for his involvement in a drug bust that took place in August 2017.

    According to witnesses, Tucker began firing his weapon upon making forcible entry into the residence and a male inside returned fire with his weapon. The investigation continued and the male inside the residence was later identified as Smith, who was deceased at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.

    The other occupants inside the residence were identified as Jimmy Douglas, Vickie Douglas and Erin Pasket. All the victims except for Jimmy Douglas sustained gunshot wounds and are being treated for their injuries, including the child.

    The investigation is continuing by the LPD and are being assisted by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers.

    Anyone with information on this crime and the whereabouts of Jared William Hope, you are asked to contact Detective Leon Middleton at the Livingston Police Department 936-327-3117 or Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP (7867). Callers will remain anonymous and may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information provided leads to an arrest or grand jury indictment of a felony offender.

  • (UPDATE) 4 shot, 1 dead in residence shooting

    Jared HopeCOURTESY PHOTO Jared William Hope

     2 suspects on the run, 1 in custody

    From Staff Reports

    LIVINGSTON — One man is dead after a shooting that took place at a residence on the 200 block of Maple Lane in Livingston Wednesday evening.

    Ashton Allen Smith, 22, was found deceased after he received multiple gunshot wounds. Three other people were shot at the residence as well.

    At approximately 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Livingston Police Department responded to the residence, located at 201 Maple Lane, after receiving two 911 calls in regard to gunshots fired inside the residence and several occupants of the residence had been struck. The officers arrived on scene and found multiple gunshot victims and one white male laying on the floor of the residence.

    Shooting 2JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Livingston Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Rangers investigate a shooting that took place at a residence on the 200 block of Maple Lane Wednesday night in Livingston. Four people were shot and one died from gunshot wounds.

    After securing the scene, EMS was summoned to the scene to treat the wounded, which included a 3-year-old female. During the investigation, witnesses were able to positively identify two of the alleged three suspects who all fled the scene after making forcible entry into the residence.

    The suspects have been identified as Cole Byron Tucker, 20, and Jared William Hope, 22, both from Livingston. The third suspect has not yet been identified.

    According to witnesses, Tucker began firing his weapon upon making forcible entry into the residence and a male inside returned fire with his weapon. The investigation continued and the male inside the residence was later identified as Smith, who was deceased at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.

    The other occupants inside the residence were identified as Jimmy Douglas, Vickie Douglas and Erin Pasket. All the victims except for Jimmy Douglas sustained gunshot wounds and are being treated for their injuries, including the child.

    The LPD is continuing with the investigation and arrest warrants have been issued for Tucker and Hope for the felony offense of Murder. The LPD has received several tips in regard to the locations of the alleged suspects and Tucker was arrested in Houston.

    Tucker went to Memorial Hermann in downtown Houston to be treated for gunshot wounds. He was arrested at 12:20 a.m. Thursday by an LPD detective and a Texas Ranger.

    Hope was taken into custody by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 11:30 a.m. Thursday. The investigation is continuing by the LPD and are being assisted by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers.

    Anyone with information on this crime and the whereabouts of Jared William Hope, you are asked to contact Detective Leon Middleton at the Livingston Police Department 936-327-3117 or Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP (7867). Callers will remain anonymous and may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information provided leads to an arrest or grand jury indictment of a felony offender.

  • (UPDATE) Polk County Jailer reportedly terminated

    logoDPS LOGO

    From Staff Reports

    A Polk County jailer who was put on leave two weeks ago after a complaint of excessive use of force was filed has been terminated, per sources.

    On Feb. 22, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint of a Lieutenant at the Polk County Jail allegedly using excessive force on an inmate in the jail. PCSO administration notified the Texas Rangers and requested the Rangers’ assistance in conducting the investigation.

    The jailer was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. Between the PCSO and Polk County Jail, there are currently 14 job openings listed on the Polk County Texas website.

  • 3 bodies found in Escapees Park

    The bodies of Michael, Deborah and Anthony Nuncio were found in a residence on the 100 block of West Dove Street, which is located in Escapees Park, on Saturday. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Rangers Company A and ATF are investigating the deaths. (Jason Chlapek Photo)The bodies of Michael, Deborah and Anthony Nuncio were found in a residence on the 100 block of West Dove Street, which is located in Escapees Park, on Saturday. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Rangers Company A and ATF are investigating the deaths. (Jason Chlapek Photo)

    From the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

    LIVINGSTON — Three people are dead after their bodies were discovered over the weekend.

    The bodies of Michael, Deborah and Anthony Nuncio were found in a residence on the 100 block of West Dove Street, which is located in Escapees Park, on Saturday.

    The Polk County Sheriff’s Office was requested to conduct a welfare concern on the parents of the caller, because she had not been able to make contact with them for two days.

    A deputy arrived on scene and soon after requested assistance at that location. After obtaining a search warrant for the residence, investigators from the PCSO along with Texas Rangers from Company-A, re-entered the residence and began the investigation into the deaths of the Nuncios family.

    Upon entry, Investigators observed items in the residence and an adjacent building that caused concerns of possible explosive devices at that location. Agents from ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire Arms) were requested to assist with the investigation to identify items found at the scene.

    Unable to identify, agents detonated the object with a small explosive charge. After both structures were deemed safe to re-enter, investigators continued their investigation and discovered who they believed to be Michael Nuncios, his wife Debra Nuncios and their adult son Anthony Nuncios.

    After talking with the daughter and neighbors, it is believed the bodies had been there since Thursday. An inquest was conducted by Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Robert Johnson, who ordered the bodies transported to the Harris County Forensics Lab.

    The PCSO will be looking for confirmation of the findings from the medical examiner’s office on cause of death, how long the bodies have been deceased, and confirmation of the identities.

    The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said via press release it is not looking for suspects in connection with the deaths nor are there hazards to the community surrounding these deaths.

    Those with information concerning the deaths are asked to contact Captain Rickie Childers of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 936-327-6810.

  • Additional charges for Jasper jailer

    MUGSHOT Anibal VillasanaMUGSHOT Anibal Villasana

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE –  A Tyler County Grand Jury handed down two more indictments to a Woodville man who was first indicted last year, all on child rape charges.

    Anibal Maurico Villasana, 61, was booked into the Tyler County Justice Center last week on two charges of

    Sexual Assault of a Child. He was subsequently released after posting bond. Each charge carried a $100,000 bond amount.

    Villasana was indicted on two counts of Indency with a Child by Sexual Contact in December 2020. The indictments came after an investigation regarding incidents alleged to have occurred in Tyler County.

    At the time, he was working for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department. He has worked in various capacities within the Jasper County Jail, including head of kitchen staff and jailer. He had worked for the county for more than 20 years. At the time, he had been placed on leave with pay, pending that case’s outcome.

    The four charges Villasana faces are second-degree felonies, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 per charge, between two and 20 years in prison, or both.

  • Alleged shooting in Livingston

    4987COURTESY PHOTO Livingston Police and the Polk County Sheriff's Department responding to a residence in Livingston on Wednesday January 6, 2021.

    PCE Staff

    The Polk County Enterprise has received reports of multiple shooting victims in Livingston Wednesday night.

    Sources have told the Enterprise that four people have been shot and one is dead after an alleged incident some time after 6 p.m.

    Livingston Police and the Polk County Sheriff's Department responded to a residence off Liberty Avenue near Maple Lane Wednesday.

    The condition of the other three victims, as well as the suspect, are unknown at this time. Stay connected to www.easttexasnews.com for breaking information.

  • Altercation leaves juvenile dead

    TX DPS SealTX DPS Seal

    From the Texas Department of Public Safety

    A juvenile male is dead after being stabbed during an altercation.

    The subject and two other juvenile males were involved in an altercation at an Onalaska residence with another juvenile male early Saturday morning. At the request of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Texas Rangers are investigating the homicide.

    The preliminary investigation indicates that three male juveniles went to a residence where a male and a female juvenile were located. A short time after the three male juveniles arrived, a physical altercation between the male at the residence and the three males occurred.

    During this altercation, the male who was at the home stabbed one of the three juvenile males. Immediately after the incident, the male who was stabbed was transported to a medical facility in Livingston by some of the other male juveniles.

    While being transported to Houston for further medical care, the injured juvenile succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased. One of the juveniles was armed with a handgun during the incident and was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and placed in the Polk County Jail and later transferred to a juvenile detention facility in Montgomery County.

    This incident remains under investigation. Since the individuals in this criminal investigation are juveniles, their names will not be released at this time.

    Further information is not available for release.

  • Caught on camera

    beaird pcso picMUGSHOT Steven Beaird

    By PCE Staff

    LIVINGSTON - The use of surveillance video helped stop a burglary while in process at a Livingston residence, leading to the arrest of an Onalaska man.

    The Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a homeowner May 13, stating his building was being burglarized. They could see the suspect on remote surveillance video. Deputies responded to the residence near Mangum Road, but the suspect had left the scene by the time law enforcement arrived.

    The complainant was able to provide a description of the suspect. Deputies and detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, along with assistance from the Polk County Fire Marshall, responded to the location and began to search the area near the residence. Deputies quickly located the suspect in a thick wooded area near the Mangum address.

    The suspect, Steven Beaird, 30, was detained and immediately identified. After further investigation, several items of stolen property were recovered and Beaird was subsequently arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail without incident.

    Those with information in this case or any other in Polk County are asked to submit a tip at p3tips.com, (the P3 App), or call Polk County Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP, where tipsters can remain anonymous and could collect a cash reward for information leading to an arrest. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division may also be contacted directly to speak with a detective at 936-327-6810.

  • Corrigan officer back at work after stabbing

    CnYMCoIJMUGSHOT Judy Gail Moreira

    By Jason Chlapek

    CORRIGAN – A K9 Unit officer with the Corrigan Police Department is back on duty after he was stabbed in the line of duty last month.

    Albert Richard was one of the CPD officers on duty on Feb. 20, who was dispatched for backup by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to assist in a disturbance call just outside of Corrigan. When Richard arrived at the residence, he went inside and attempted to detain the subject.

    As Richard grabbed the suspect, 28-year-old Judy Gail Moreira, he was stabbed in the upper area of his right arm. However, Richard continued with business as usual and didn’t realize he had been stabbed until he and his partner put Moreira in handcuffs.

    It was at that point that Richard saw blood dripping from the right side of his body and a steak knife fell to the ground during the process. Moreira was taken to the Polk County Jail where she remains in custody on charges of aggravated assault of a uniformed public servant and terroristic threat.

    Richard was taken to CHI-Livingston Hospital where he received treatment and was released. He was cleared to return to duty earlier this week.

  • Crockett burglary suspect arrested in Huntsville

    MUGSHOT CorleyMUGSHOT Castein Austin Corley

    By Chris Edwards

    CROCKETT – Crockett Police last week identified one of the suspects in a burglary that occurred earlier in the month.

    According to a news release from CPD, a 20-year-old Crockett man, Castein Austin Corley, was arrested on March 12 by the Huntsville Police Department for warrants issued by CPD. The warrants were for Burglary of a Habitation and Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity.

    The burglary Corley was named as a suspect in occurred on March 4 in the 500 block of Anson Jones and was one of several to occur at the home within the last few months.

    Police say that suspects have taken in excess of $200K in cash and property.

    Footage from the victim’s home DVR system allowed law enforcement to obtain videos depicting the crime as it occurred, and the videos are available on the Crockett Police Department Facebook page, as well as the Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers page. The footage shows four suspects making unlawful entry into the home through a window.

    Both charges Corley faces are felonies, with the conspiracy charge a first-degree felony and the burglary a second-degree felony.

    According to the investigators working the case, the investigation is still ongoing, with the arrests of the other suspects to follow.

    CPD is asking the public to help with this case. Anyone with any information regarding the identity of the remaining suspects is urged to call the Crockett Police Department at 936-544-2021, or the Crime Stoppers tip line at 936-639-TIPS. Crime Stoppers tipsters can remain anonymous and can be eligible for a cash reward if information leads to an arrest.

  • Dangerous drug kills 1, sends 3 to hospital

    PCSO logoPCSO logo

    From the Polk County Sheriff's Office

    One person is dead and three more in the hospital after they consumed a dangerous drug earlier last week.

    On Tuesday, Polk County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a location in the Ace area of Polk County concerning the death of a local individual and two others that were believed to have consumed methamphetamines. Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons suspects that due to the evidence located at the scene along with drug evidence all three individuals consumed the unknown drug laced with an unknown chemical.

    Later that day another individual was discovered in a different subdivision with the same symptoms stating that he also consumed drugs associated with the three individuals from earlier. This person was transported to a local hospital.

    At this time detectives are conducting investigation and awaiting information from the Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office as well as hospitals the individuals were transported to for treatment.

    Lyons wants to make the public aware of drugs such as crystal meth and heroin being sold to individuals in Polk County that is suspected of being laced with an unknown chemical or possibly fentanyl. He asked that anyone with information as to the illegal use and sale of narcotics to contact and report to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP (7867).

  • Deputies investigating weekend shooting

    020421 shooting Photo courtesy of SJCSO Facebook page Law enforcement officials investigate a shooting in the 100 block of Cindy Lane on Friday that left one man with a gunshot wound.

    By Tony Farkas

    SHEPHERD — A Shepherd man was arrested in connection with a Friday shooting that left a second man in critical condition.

    Brent Donnan, 36, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the incident.

    According to information provided by The San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office, a 911 call was made around 6 p.m. on Jan. 29 regarding a possible shooting in the 100 Block of Cindy Lane in Shepherd.

    A San Jacinto County deputy constable arrived first on the scene to find a victim was shot and being transported out of the area by a personal vehicle to meet EMS personnel.

    Witnesses provided a description of a person involved in the altercation, which was relayed to law enforcement personnel, the SO said.

    The suspect that was involved in this shooting had left the residence, running into a nearby wooded area with a firearm, according to witnesses.

    As other deputies and state troopers arrived to establish a perimeter, the subject came out of the woods and surrendered to authorities, the SO said.

    The victim was transported to an area hospital in critical condition, where he was admitted and underwent surgery. The victim is listed in stable condition, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

    Donnan has been released on a $10,000 bond.

    The investigation by the San Jacinto County Sheriff's detectives is continuing.

  • Eight indicted for transnational drug trafficking, money laundering Defendants connected to company located in Onalaska

                                   PCE STAFF The office of Aircraft Guaranty Corporation, located at 2058 FM 356 in Onalaska.

    From Enterprise Staff

    A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas has returned an indictment charging eight individuals with various federal violations related to a complex international drug trafficking conspiracy, announced acting United States Department of Justice Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. This investigation to date has led to indictments of individuals for transnational drug trafficking, money laundering, and financial crimes out of the Eastern District of Texas Federal Court related to a complex international drug trafficking conspiracy.

    Debbie Mercer, 58, and Kayleigh Moffett, 33, both of Oklahoma City; Federico Machado, 53, of Florida; Carlos Villaurrutia, 40, of McAllen, Texas; and four others were named in an indictment charging them with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit export violations, and conspiracy to commit federal registration violations involving aircraft. The indictment details approximately $350 million in alleged criminal activity since 2016. The seven-count superseding indictment was returned by a federal grand jury earlier this week and unsealed recently.

    According to unsealed court documents, the defendants allegedly purchased and illegally registered aircraft under foreign corporations and other individuals for export to other countries. The indictment specifically alleges that Mercer and Moffett, through their company Aircraft Guaranty Corporation (AGC), registered thousands of aircraft in Onalaska, a Polk County town without an airport.

    According to the indictment, several of the illegally registered and exported aircraft were used by transnational criminal organizations in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico to smuggle large quantities of cocaine destined for the United States. The indictment further alleges that illicit proceeds from the subsequent drug sales were then transported as bulk cash from the United States to Mexico and used to buy more aircraft and cocaine. According to the indictment, aircraft purchases were typically completed by wiring funds from casa de cambios and/or banks in Mexico to shell corporations operating in the United States as aircraft sellers/brokers.

    In March 2019, Polk County Constable Precinct 1 Constable Scott Hughes and South East Texas
    Export Investigation Group (SETEIG) Commander Beau Price received information regarding thousands of aircraft reported to be registered in Onalaska.

    Price discussed this matter with Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, Bureau of Industry Security Special Agents as well as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a joint investigation was launched and is ongoing at this time.

    “The threat posed by transnational crime cannot be overstated,” said Ganjei. “The use of United States-registered aircraft by these criminal organizations and their networks of associates poses a clear and present danger to the security of our nation. The American public can expect EDTX to be relentless in its fight against the sometimes invisible, but always dangerous, threat of transnational organized crime.”

    This investigation became an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case and is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (Dallas, Brownsville and Laredo offices); Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (Dallas and Houston offices); Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG); Internal Revenue Service; Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); Polk County Constable’s Office Precinct 1; SETEIG; Harris County District Attorney’s Office; and Harris County Constable’s Office Precinct 8. Also assisting in this investigation is Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Byron Lyons and Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden David Johnson, Newton County Office Precinct 4 Constaple Howard Wonders.

    “This investigation is a perfect example of local, state, and federal agencies working together in a task force setting. The amount of time, effort, and resources dedicated to this case by participating agencies is monumental,” said Price.

    “Joint task force models that SETEIG is structured after has proven once again how efficient, effective and successful local, state and federal law enforcement can be investigating and prosecuting complex, sophisticated criminal organizations.” said Hughes.

    Hughes went on to express his appreciation to all agencies involved and to point out it is not uncommon for even the most rural locations to be safe havens for large scale criminal
    organizations.

    The indictment describes that foreign governments seized United States-registered aircraft containing multi-ton shipments of cocaine. According to the indictment, the aircraft were held in trust by AGC for the benefit of foreign corporations or individuals. The indictment identifies Machado, through his company South Aviation, and Villaurrutia, who used his companies TEXTON, TWA International, and Ford Electric, as aircraft sellers/brokers operating in the United States.

    The indictment separately charges Mercer, Moffett, and Machado with engaging in a fraud scheme related to the acquisition of aircraft. According to the indictment, Machado recruited investors to invest in aircraft purchase deposits for sales transactions that never took place. Investors allegedly placed their funds in an escrow account held by Wright Brothers Title Company, which was owned and managed by Mercer and Moffett. Machado then allegedly used these funds for purposes other than the purchase of aircraft.

    The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ernest Gonzalez, Colleen Bloss and Robert Wells. OCDETF is the largest anti-crime task force in the country and its mission is to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug trafficking and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States. The prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency task forces leverage the authorities and expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement.

    “The indictments resulting from this highly complex investigation showcases HSI’s unique and far-reaching authorities, serving as an example of what the global law enforcement community can accomplish when we work together,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, Special Agent in Charge, HSI Dallas. “We were able to deliver a significant blow to the transnational criminal organizations around the world by exposing a money laundering and drug trafficking scheme perpetuated by sophisticated drug cartels.”

    “As this case demonstrates, we will aggressively investigate the illegal exportation of aircraft contrary to U.S. national security interests,” said Trey McClish, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security – Office of Export Enforcement’s Dallas Field Office. “Alongside our Federal and State partners, OEE will leverage its unique criminal and administrative enforcement powers to detect and disrupt serious criminal schemes that violate U.S. export control law.”

    “The indictment in this case demonstrate that individuals who choose to circumvent Federal regulations pertaining to aircraft registration and ownership will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law,” said Todd Damiani, Special Agent-In-Charge, Southern Region, U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG). “The collaborative nature of this investigation is representative of the ongoing investigative work DOT-OIG performs to ensure aviation safety and maintain national security interests in order to prevent the nefarious acts these defendants are being charged with from occurring.”

    If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison for the drug conspiracy charges and up to 20 years for the money laundering, export and wire fraud violations. It is important to note that a complaint, arrest, or indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • Evans issued another charge

    NEWS Evans mugshotMUGSHOT Dr. Kerry Evans

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – Longtime local physician Dr. Kerry Evans was handed down another charge for sexual abuse of a child. According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, Evans turned himself into the Tyler County Jail on Saturday, May 8 at 7 a.m. that morning.

    Evans turned himself in regarding a warrant out of the Tyler County District Court for a first-degree felony charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child. Evans, a 52-year-old Colmesneil resident, is currently out of jail on a pre-set bond amount of $100,000, according to Weatherford.

    Evans was first handed down two indictments in July 2019 for continuous sexual abuse of a child and multiple counts of indecency with a child by contact and indecency by exposure, which range from first-degree to third-degree felonies.

    According to those indictments, handed down by the District Court, Evans is accused of having sexual contact with two minors, one of whom was younger than 14 and another who was younger than 17 at the time of the alleged abuse took place.

    One of the indictments, which consists of eight counts, alleges a series of incidents taking place around May 18, 2012 through May 17, 2014, while the other, three-count indictment, alleges incidents that took place in April, May and June of 2017.

    At the time of those charges’ issuance, Evans’ attorney, Ryan W. Gertz, of the Beaumont-based Gertz Law Firm, released a statement concerning his client and the charges, and said Evans submitted to and passed polygraph exams regarding the allegations, and that other forensic analysis indicated “no evidence of deviant sexual behavior.” The attorney alleged that “a nasty, multi-year divorce” was the source of the allegations.

    There is no word on a trial date scheduled for Evans at this time.

  • FBI requested for officer investigation

    FBI Seal on Red BackgroundFBI Seal on Red Background | Courtesy of https://www.fbi.gov/

    PCE Staff

    Via social media, the Polk County District Attorney announced his office has requested an FBI investigation for the possibility of federal charges against a former employee at the Polk County Jail.

    District Attorney Lee Hon messaged through Facebook that a complaint was received Feb. 23 by Polk County Sheriff’s administration regarding improper use of force by Polk County Jail Captain William Jerry on an inmate at the jail.

    Texas Rangers investigated that incident and the inmate was reportedly transported to another jail. Investigations have uncovered additional alleged incidents involving Jerry.

    According to Hon’s post, “The matter was promptly reported to this (district attorney) office and the Texas Rangers for an independent criminal investigation. In the initial investigation conducted by Texas Ranger Sgt. Ryan Clendenen, information was received alleging Jerry’s involvement in other instances of the improper use of force against inmates. Due to these additional allegations and the expanding nature of the investigation, on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, this office requested that the FBI assist in the investigation for consideration of any potential federal charges.”

    Hon also encouraged those with relevant knowledge of the circumstances in the investigation or other allegations of improper force against inmates at the Polk County Jail to contact Texas Ranger Sgt. Ryan Clendenen at 936-327-6836 or the Polk County District Attorney’s Office at 936-327-6868.

  • Former Police Lieutenant indicted by Polk County grand jury

    400 moore070220MUGSHOT Gabriel Phillip Moore

    By PCN Staff

    A former Onalaska Police Lieutenant who was arrested in July of 2020 has been indicted by a Polk County grand jury.

    Gabriel Phillip Moore, 44, was indicted on the Class A misdemeanor offense of official oppression, which is punishable up to a year in the county jail and $4,000 fine.

    Moore was arrested by the Texas Rangers in July after they began an investigation in May of 2020. He was later released after posting a $2,000 bond. The Magnolia resident worked at various police agencies in Polk, Montgomery, Chambers, and Harris County since 2002.

    The victim spoke to the Enterprise in an exclusive interview, saying he sought assistance from
    the chain of command. When he believed no action was taken, he contacted the Texas Rangers.

    A few weeks after the arrest, Moore was fired from his position in a city council meeting and Onalaska Police Chief John Maddox was placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation. Maddox later resigned in August, submitting a letter to City of Onalaska officials.

    Reportedly, Moore inappropriately touched an officer on several occasions. The officer was under Moore’s supervision and new to the department.

    The lieutenant began to purchase items such as a ballistic vest, a polo shirt for work, handcuffs and clothes for the new officer, which the victim said could all be construed as helping a new employee with items needed for the job.

    After multiple attempts to put a halt to the advances and seek assistance within the chain of command, the victim decided to file a complaint with the Texas Rangers.

    The indictment handed down last week and filed in the 411th District Court of Polk County alleges that Moore, “while a public servant and acting under the color of his office or employment as a peace officer for the City of Onalaska, Texas intentionally subjected [the victim] to sexual harassment, to-wit: the defendant did then and there subject [the victim] to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, submission to which was made a term or condition of [the victim’s] exercise of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, either expressly or implicitly.”

    The case, which is being prosecuted by Polk County District Attorney William Lee Hon, will be scheduled for arraignment before 411th District Judge John Wells in the coming weeks.

  • Jailer behind bars for inmate relationship

    David MillerFILE PHOTO David Miller

    From the PCSO

    A Polk County Jailer is behind bars after it was discovered that he had a relationship with an inmate.

    David Ray Miller, 45, was arrested for a charge of official oppression Thursday night. He has since been terminated from his employment and is in the Polk County Jail.

    The Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint from several female Inmates in reference to a Jailer and a female Inmate having an inappropriate relationship. An investigation was conducted and found that Miller was engaging in inappropriate conduct with a female inmate.

  • Law enforcement seeks suspected ATM thieves

    KODAK Digital Still Camera     PHOTO COURTESY OF SAN JACINTO COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE The entrance to the Timewise convenience store was damaged Feb. 23 after a group of men rammed it with a pickup truck in order to steal the ATM inside.

    By Tony Farkas

    SHEPHERD — San Jacinto County law enforcement officers are seeking the identification of a group of men believed responsible for the Feb. 23 break-in at the Timewise Convenience Store near Shepherd.

    According to Detective Gary Sharpen of the SJ County Sheriff’s Office, police received a 911 call at about 4:30 a.m. Feb. 23 at the store, which is located at 4700 US 59.

    Records show the clerk inside, who was not named, noticed a pickup truck that contained several African American males with hoodies, who then sped up and backed into the store, striking the ATM machine.

    “There were five to six black males wearing masks and gloves, and not wearing COVID masks,” he said. “They knew what they were doing — they had planned this out. This wasn’t something spur of the moment.”

    Sharpen said the clerk held their hands up throughout the robbery.

    The suspects loaded the ATM into the truck, which was identified as a stolen Dodge Ram 1500, and took off, heading into the town of Shepherd on Pine Street, reports indicate.

    Sharpen said a witness observed a bunch of debris on the roadway, and saw the pickup in the ditch, which apparently had crashed during its getaway. The witness saw males running around the vehicle, looking confused; however, the suspects had another car with them — a small dark colored 4-door vehicle — which picked up the suspects and fled the scene.

    The pickup truck, as well as several sets of gloves and masks, were recovered and are being processed for evidence. Additionally, the ATM was left in the back of the truck, and was recovered and turned over to the company that owns the ATM.

    Sharpen said the investigation is continuing, and anyone with information can call the Sheriff’s Office at (936) 653-4367 or the Multi-county Crime Stoppers at (936) 539-7867.

  • Livingston Police seeks sexual assault suspects

    Wesley HarrellMUGSHOT Wesley Harrell

    From the Livingston Police Department

    The Livingston Police Department is currently seeking the whereabouts and apprehension of Jacolby Bernard Reece and Wesley Frank Harrell.

    Reece and Harrell are wanted for the felony offense of sexual assault. The two suspects currently have active felony warrants for their arrest and anyone caught aiding or harboring these two suspects will be arrested and charged with the felony offense of hindering apprehension of known felon.

    Jacolby ReeceMUG SHOT Jacolby Reece

    If you have any information on the location of these individuals, you are asked to contact the Livingston Police Department (936) 327-3117, Polk County Sheriff’s Office (936) 327-6810 or Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP (7867). Callers will remain anonymous and may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information provided leads to an arrest or grand jury indictment of a felony offender.

  • Local businesses suffer burglaries

    BurgalryBRIAN BESCH I PCE Popping Smoke BBQ in Livingston was one of seven area businesses that was burglarized during a sting of burglaries between Jan. 22-25.

    From the Livingston Police Department

    A trio of Livingston businesses and four outside the city limits were burglarized recently. The Livingston Police Department is currently investigating three similar business burglaries that occurred days apart. The burglaries took place between Jan. 22-25.

    The first burglary was reported Jan. 22, at Carniceria Rosa’s in the 200 block of S. Washington Ave. The second burglary was reported Jan. 25, at Shipley’s Donuts in the 1000 block of W. Church St., and the third burglary was reported Jan. 25, as well at Popping Smoke BBQ in the 200 block of South Point Loop.

    In all of these burglaries the suspect’s forced entry into the business. These incidents are still under investigation. Anyone with any information pertaining to these incidents is asked to contact the Livingston Police Department at 936-327-3117.

    In addition to the three businesses that were burglarized in the city limits, four businesses along US Highway 190 were broken into during the early morning hours of Jan. 25 as well. ChaddyDaddy Brisket Bar, Lash Out Loud and Pink Blush Boutique – all located in Old Mill Center – and La Flor de Puebla Meat Market and Taqueria were burglarized.

    The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the burglaries in those businesses. According to the owners of two of the businesses that were broken into, the suspects used forced entry by breaking windows or kicking in doors before proceeding to ransack the business and take what money they could out of the cash registers.

    One business owner also reported that a pair of shoes and a pair of heeled boots were taken from its place of business. Anyone with any information on the burglaries at ChaddyDaddy Brisket Bar, Lash Out Loud, Pink Blush Boutique and La Flor de Puebla Meat Market and Taqueria are encouraged to contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 936-327-6810.