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Trinity County News 2

Craft convicted in murder case

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Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace (left) and other law enforcement officials escort Tivirus Craft, 42, following his conviction and sentencing for the October 2019 death of Wesley Dykes. Courtesy photoTrinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace (left) and other law enforcement officials escort Tivirus Craft, 42, following his conviction and sentencing for the October 2019 death of Wesley Dykes. Courtesy photo

By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — A Trinity County jury took 35 minutes to find a suspect guilty in connection with the October 2019 death of a Trinity resident.

Tivirus Craft, 42, was found guilty on Tuesday of the murder of Wesley Dykes, 41. 

After hearing evidence on what District Attorney Bennie Schiro said was one of the most senseless and violent crimes he has seen in his 14 years in Trinity County, the jury deliberated only 7 minutes on a verdict on punishment.

On Wednesday, the jury sentenced Craft to Life in prison on a first-degree murder charge; 20 years in prison on a charge of tampering with evidence, a second-degree felony, for burning the body of Wesley Dykes; and two years in prison on a charge of arson, a state jail felony, for burning the Dykes’ vehicle.

The jury also heard evidence that Craft had burned a house in August 2019 before announcing their punishment verdict.

Schiro said Craft seemed to have no connection to the victim and testimony from witnesses showed he had no reason for the killing of Dykes other than he wanted to see what it would be like. 

The incident occurred in October 2019 in the city of Trinity. A burned car was found smoldering on the morning of Oct. 4, 2019, and the remains of Dykes were discovered a day later in the vehicle. The car and remains were so badly burned that no identification could be made at that time. 

Schiro said the vehicle was burned so badly that no one could tell what color the car was. However, investigators linked the body with Dykes, who earlier was reported missing by his wife of 20 years. 

“The car burned all night, and was not reported to the Fire Department,” he said. “It occurred on edge of the city limits, and no one lived in the area.”

Dykes was later identified through his DNA being matched with two half-brothers.

Schiro said that Craft told a witness he shot the victim in the back of the head, dowsed the car with gas and burned it; while attempting identification, forensic experts found a projectile stuck in Dykes’ spine after it was X-rayed.

Additionally, a work glove was found by Texas Rangers near the scene after car was towed; it was matched to a glove Craft had in his possession.

Schiro said the question about how the two men got together remains unanswered.

“Craft (told witnesses) that he was wanting to kill someone,” Schiro said. “He said he did it because ‘he’s a killer.’”

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Craft convicted in murder case

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Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace (left) and other law enforcement officials escort Tivirus Craft, 42, following his conviction and sentencing for the October 2019 death of Wesley Dykes.

By Tony Farkas

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

GROVETON — A Trinity County jury took 35 minutes to find a suspect guilty in connection with the October 2019 death of a Trinity resident.

Tivirus Craft, 42, was found guilty on Tuesday of the murder of Wesley Dykes, 41.

After hearing evidence on what District Attorney Bennie Schiro said was one of the most senseless and violent crimes he has seen in his 14 years in Trinity County, the jury deliberated only 7 minutes on a verdict on punishment.

On Wednesday, the jury sentenced Craft to Life in prison on a first-degree murder charge; 20 years in prison on a charge of tampering with evidence, a second-degree felony, for burning the body of Wesley Dykes; and two years in prison on a charge of arson, a state jail felony, for burning the Dykes’ vehicle.

The jury also heard evidence that Craft had burned a house in August 2019 before announcing their punishment verdict.

Schiro said Craft seemed to have no connection to the victim and testimony from witnesses showed he had no reason for the killing of Dykes other than he wanted to see what it would be like.

The incident occurred in October 2019 in the city of Trinity. A burned car was found smoldering on the morning of Oct. 4, 2019, and the remains of Dykes were discovered a day later in the vehicle. The car and remains were so badly burned that no identification could be made at that time.

Schiro said the vehicle was burned so badly that no one could tell what color the car was. However, investigators linked the body with Dykes, who earlier was reported missing by his wife of 20 years.

“The car burned all night, and was not reported to the Fire Department,” he said. “It occurred on edge of the city limits, and no one lived in the area.”

Dykes was later identified through his DNA being matched with two half-brothers.

Schiro said that Craft told a witness he shot the victim in the back of the head, dowsed the car with gas and burned it; while attempting identification, forensic experts found a projectile stuck in Dykes’ spine after it was X-rayed.

Additionally, a work glove was found by Texas Rangers near the scene after car was towed; it was matched to a glove Craft had in his possession.

Schiro said the question about how the two men got together remains unanswered.

“Craft (told witnesses) that he was wanting to kill someone,” Schiro said. “He said he did it because ‘he’s a killer.’”

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Texans love their bluebonnets

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bluebonnets

By Matthew R. March, MNRD
Polk County Extension Agent

Texans have a deep love for bluebonnets and this is seen every year when families load up in the car and head on road trips across the state to take family photos in fields of bluebonnets. We are so proud of our bluebonnets here in the lone star state we officially made sandy land bluebonnet, Lupinus subcarnosus, official state flower in 1901 after beating out the cotton boll and cactus in a heated debate in the Texas Legislature. However, sandy land bluebonnet is not the species of bluebonnet that Texans have a deep love with. That honor goes to Texas bluebonnet, lupinus texensis, which is showier than sandy land bluebonnet. For this reason, in 1971 the Texas Legislature amended the law by adding both species as the official state flower and any other bluebonnets yet to be discovered growing in Texas. Would you like to take a guess of how many species of bluebonnets can be found in Texas? There are six different species of bluebonnets found in Texas and they are all considered the official state flower of Texas. 

The four other species of bluebonnets include, bajada lupine, Lupinus concinnus, big bend bluebonnet, Lupinus havardii, sundial lupine, Lupinus perennis and dune bluebonnet, Lupinus plattenis. All species of bluebonnets belong to the genus Lupine and are part of the legume or fabaceae family of plants. The genus consists of about 200 species of flowering plants that are common in the Mediterranean region and in North American grasslands. Most bluebonnet species are annual plants, but some species are perennial.

Texas bluebonnet grows in the eastern two-thirds of the state and is the species most recognizable. The species can be abundant in the limestone hills found in the central part of the state. Texas bluebonnet has been planted throughout the state along roadways by the highway department and in many landscapes and public spaces across the state. If you purchase bluebonnet seeds at the store it will most likely be this species.

Sandy land bluebonnet, the less showy cousin, can be found through south and south-central Texas. This species thrives on sandy soils and struggles to grow on clay sites. Sandy land bluebonnet has a pale blue flower compared to Texas bluebonnet which has a deep blue or even purple flower.

Big bend bluebonnet is our tallest species reaching heights of 3 feet with the flower on the upper 4-8 inches of the stem. This species makes it homes in the rugged rocky slopes found in the deserts of Big Bend region of the state. Unlike the previous two species, big bend bluebonnet struggles to survive in landscaping outside of its native range.

Bajada lupine holds the title of the smallest and most inconspicuous of Texas’ bluebonnet species. This species only grows two to six inches tall, and its small reddish-purple flowers can be easily overlooked. This species can be found throughout the Trans-Pecos region of the state in desert grasslands.

Dune bluebonnet and sundial lupine are both perennial plants compared to the other four species which are annuals. Both species reach one to three feet in height and can be very noticeable in their habitat. Dune bluebonnet and its blue flowers are common throughout the central plains states but only reach Texas in the far northern reaches of the panhandle. Sundial lupine has purple flowers and looks the least like our typical Texas bluebonnet. It is common throughout the eastern half of the United States and its range reaches barely into the eastern part of Texas.

Texans love their bluebonnets for their vibrant colors that brighten up roadsides across the state. Texas is not blessed with just one species of bluebonnets, but six species that make up our official state flower.

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Vietnam Memorial Wall replica installed in Huntsville

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From Enterprise Staff

An estimated 2,000 people attended a dedication of the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall at the H.E.A.R.T.S. Museum in Huntsville Sunday. Located at 463 State Highway 75 North in a five-sided building reminiscent of the Pentagon, the H.E.A.R.T.S. (Helping Every American Remember Through Serving) Veterans Museum of Texas has been in operation for 11 years, becoming a meeting place for veterans from far and wide. Each branch of the military has its own room at the museum.

Kenneth Lee, a former Marine and president of the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum of Texas, visited Polk County last August and reported that the company that built the Vietnam Traveling Wall was building a new one and wanted to sell the existing one, informing the museum that it was first on the list. Two and a half years in the making, the approximate $300,000 project was made possible through city, county and donor funding, according to Lee.

It is an 80% replica of the memorial wall in Washington, D.C., measuring 370 feet long and eight feet tall in the center, going down to four feet on the ends.

The museum originated in 1993 when Charlotte Oleinik placed a Veterans Day display in the window of her antique shop on the courthouse square in Huntsville. She was a member of a committee that organized the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. Oleinik and local veterans involved in the celebration began visiting school classrooms and speaking to students about their experiences in war and the military, illustrating their talks with memorabilia and artifacts from their personal collections. More requests for presentations followed, along with more gifts of memorabilia and artifacts. It grew so quickly that it soon had to be set up in a vacant space in a local shopping center in order to display everything that had been given.

With financial assistance from grants, local government, businesses and private donations, plus the donation of land, the museum opened at its present location on Veterans Day 2009. It is a tremendous depository of preserved military heritage.

Carolee Day, Kathy Metzger and Dan Day, all Escapees from Polk County, attended the dedication along with Penny Uselton, also of Polk County.

 

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Suspect pleads no contest in molestation case

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Sheriff Woody Wallace and county constables escort Philmore Clines Jr. to a scheduled court hearing. Courtesy photoSheriff Woody Wallace and county constables escort Philmore Clines Jr. to a scheduled court hearing. Courtesy photo

TCNS staff

GROVETON — A 46-year-old Trinity man was sentenced to 10 years in prison on March 7 in connection with a January 2021 sexual assault arrest.

Philmore Clines Jr. was arrested on a first-degree felony charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child in connection with the molestation of an 11-year-old child more. 

According to a press release from District Attorney Bennie Schiro, Clines pleaded no contest instead of guilty because he claimed he was innocent of the charges but did not want to leave that decision to a jury. 

Schiro also said the plea was offered because the evidence in the case was not as strong as it could have been.

“The victim gave three different versions of the events involving three different defendants, including one incident with all three perpetrators involved at the same time during one incident,” Schiro said.  “Additionally, two other potential perpetrators were mentioned during the investigation.” 

Schiro said that at one point the victim also retracted her statement regarding one of the perpetrators and then retracted the retraction. 

While the evidence showed that the child had been molested, Schiro said that the varying accounts could be a problem.

“The sentence might not have been as much as it should have, but I was very concerned with the varying stories offered by the victim that the jury could easily have found reasonable doubt that this particular defendant caused the physical trauma seen in the medical exam,” he said. “If the jury had found reasonable doubt, Clines would be walking the street today instead of heading to TDCJ as a registered sex offender.”

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