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Colmesneil man sentenced for 2019 restaurant stabbing

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By Chris Edwards
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CryerCryerWOODVILLE – A man was sentenced last week to 20 years in prison for stabbing a co-worker.

Richard Calvin Cryer, a 34-year-old Colmesneil man, was convicted of the aggravated assault charge from 2019, and still faces additional charges in Tyler County.

He received the maximum punishment for the crime in a district courtroom before District Judge Delinda Gibbs-Walker. 

Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin said that justice was served. “This defendant is dangerous and unpredictable. Our county is safer with him behind bars,” Babin said, after Cryer was sentenced.

Cryer, who had been employed with Elijah’s Café in Woodville for about two days had exhibited strange behavior, which was consistent with the abuse and use of methamphetamines, according to witness testimony. A fellow employee, Jose Oscar Azcona, was teaching Cryer how to make club sandwiches, when suddenly and unexpectedly, Cryer attacked him and began to stab him with a 12-inch butcher knife, while shouting “Go to sleep, motherf—er.”

Azcona sustained a stab wound to his abdomen and a severe cut to his arm, but was subsequently treated for the injuries. 

Cryer, who fled the scene with the knife, was spotted a few blocks from the restaurant by Woodville Police officer Arin Dees and Chase Nalley, an investigator with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office. 

Cryer was on foot, and when he saw the two officers, he dropped the knife, and was detained. Cryer claimed, when on the stand, that the attack was in self-defense, however, the jurors found no evidence to support the notion that Azcona had threatened or harmed Cryer. Furthermore, Cryer had said he “has no regrets” and said that getting stabbed was “good” for his victim.

Babin said that other evidence demonstrated a history of drug abuse and violent criminal activity for Cryer.

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Essary arrested following school bus crash

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Essary MugshotEssaryBy Chris Edwards
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SPURGER – A Spurger man faces a litany of charges after he was arrested for crashing a stolen pickup truck into a school bus.

Last Thursday morning, deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office were on patrol in the Dam B area and attempted to stop a white Chevrolet truck for a traffic violation, southbound along FM 92, according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford. 

Weatherford said that the TCSO vehicle had its emergency lights and sirens activated, but the driver refused to stop, and at a high rate of speed, ran a stop sign on CR 4375 (also known as Moss Bridge Road) and FM 2992, colliding with a Spurger ISD school bus.

Weatherford said that six students were on the bus and none of them, nor the driver, were injured. The driver of the vehicle, whom deputies identified as Kyle Allen Essary, age 23, of Spurger, fled to a nearby wooded area on foot. Deputies learned that the truck Essary was driving had been reported as stolen from the Colmesneil area.

Essary was caught at 9 a.m., about two and a half hours after the chase began. He was apprehended a half mile away from the scene of the crash. Weatherford said he had emerged from the woods and knocked on a homeowner’s door asking for a ride.

The homeowner called TCSO, and deputies subsequently found him on foot, along FM 2992. Essary was arrested and transported to the Tyler County Justice Center, and charged with felony evading arrest with a motor vehicle; unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and issued six felony counts of endangering a child; one charge for each student who was riding the bus.

Weatherford said that Essary could face additional charges as investigators and Department of Public Safety troopers work with Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin on the case.

Weatherford added that many other law enforcement and emergency personnel assisted on the scene, including the Woodville Police Department; DPS troopers; Spurger Volunteer Fire Department; Allegiance Ambulance and the Spurger ISD staff, all of whom assisted in treating and caring for students who were on the bus.

Pct. 3 Judge Milton Powers set bonds for Essary totaling $579,000 last Friday. In addition to the aforementioned charges, Essary also had two active warrants out of Shelby County. Each count for the felony child endangerment carried a $75,000 bond.

At the time of Thursday’s series of events, Essary was out on bond for an earlier March arrest. He was arrested then in Fred for an active blue warrant for Burglary of a Habitation.

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Dogwood parade, coronation this weekend

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DogwoodBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – The final weekend for the annual Dogwood Festival is upon us.

Saturday will see the 79th annual iteration of the festival concludes with Queen’s Weekend for the third weekend of the overall festival.

The new Dogwood Queen will be crowned in the evening with the festivities beginning at the Dogwood Amphitheater which will also play host to the traditional historical play. The play is the longest-running outdoor historical play in the entire American south. 

The culmination of all the weekend’s events will take place when a new Dogwood Queen is crowned. Sunnie Wilkinson, from Colmesneil, currently reigns as Queen. 

The festivities that comprise Queen’s Weekend will begin on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. with the Dogwood Dash race, which is sponsored by Citizens State Bank and begins in front of Kirby Gym, located at 505 North Charlton Street. 

From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., the courthouse square will play host to vendors with a wide variety of goods, foodstuffs and demonstrations on display and at 2 p.m. the parade will take its route along Highway 190 headed east. The parade lineup begins at 1:30 p.m.

Along with the motorcycle and classic car exhibits near the courthouse, which begin at 9 a.m., there will also be some live music on the courthouse square. Local blues-rockers Ina Dilemma will perform, along with some other acts, such as Ginger Ryleigh and Kirsten Hardmant.

For this year’s theme, the directors for the Dogwood Festival went with “Hometown Heroes.”

In keeping with the theme, the festival directors chose Colmesneil resident Alonzo Randolph to serve as Parade Marshal. Randolph is a World War II Army combat veteran, and recently celebrated his 102nd birthday.

The play and coronation for the new queen will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Dogwood Ampitheater.

Whether festivalgoers are longtime Tyler County residents or visitors, the Dogwood Festival offers up a celebration of springtime in the region that provides a testament to the strength and purpose of community and allows an opportunity for great fun for all.

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0132 TourDeHoustonApache2019

The 15th Annual Ride Supporting Re-Plant Houston Set for Sunday, April 3, 2022

HOUSTON – Today Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Apache Corporation announced the return of Tour de Houston Presented by Apache Corporation, Sunday, April 3rd. The ride will begin downtown at City Hall, travel west along Allen Parkway, with scenic views of Buffalo Bayou, the new tunnels on Memorial Drive, and northwest through Spring Branch, Cypress, and back to City Hall. Turner and Team Apache will lead the 2022 cyclists.

“The annual bike ride is a Houston tradition. Thanks to continued support from the Apache Corporation we are able to bring it back after a two year break, due to the pandemic,” said Mayor Turner. “Riders will enjoy the city’s premier biking event, traveling through some of the city’s great neighborhoods while supporting the growth and sustainability of our greenspaces.”

Cyclists of all skill levels will gather at City Hall on Sunday, April 3rd as the event returns for its 15th year to benefit the Re-Plant Houston Program managed by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. The date of the event has moved to April from March as not to compete with spring break travel and Rodeo Houston events. Riders will follow an all-new route this year cruising through four of our Houston City Council Districts A, C, G, and I. Rider rest stops for the 20, 40 and 60-mile routes are Landrum Middle School, Lee Elementary School and Thornton Middle School.

“Apache is thrilled to partner with the City of Houston to support the return of a cherished annual tradition,” said Apache CEO and president, John J. Christmann IV. “The Tour de Houston bike ride showcases the best our city has to offer, with all proceeds from the Tour benefitting the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, directly supporting tree plantings and the enhancement of greenery throughout our community. We look forward to seeing our fellow Houstonians and Apache team members participating in this much-anticipated event.”

With three distance options, the Tour de Houston Presented by Apache Corporation is the perfect outdoor event for all cyclists, from the leisure rider to cycling competitors. The distance options include the 60-mile route starting at 7:30 a.m., a 40-mile route at 8 a.m. and a 20-mile route at 8:15 a.m. (approximate miles). The event is expected to draw more than 5,000 participants.  Along the route, riders will find fully-stocked rest stops, bike repair support, along with police and medical support. The ride will end with a celebration at City Hall for participants. 

Registration Fee Schedule:

  • Early Bird: through March 11, until midnight, $40
  • Registration - March 12 – April 2 until midnight, $45
  • Onsite event registration: April 3rd is $50 
  • Riders 12 and under is $25 for the duration

More details, including packet pick-up and schedules for pre-registered riders, can be found at www.tourdehouston.org.


Tour de Houston sponsors include: Title Sponsor Apache Corporation, Michelob Ultra, Sun & Ski Sports, Raising Cane’s, Keurig Dr Pepper, CenterPoint Energy, The Pickle Juice Company, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Peak 1 Sports, The Eagle 106.9/107.5, the Kolache Factory, Latin Specialties Produce, and multiple City Departments. The event is produced by the Mayor’s Office of Special Events. Funds raised will benefit the city’s RE-Plant Houston program managed by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. For more information call 832.393.0868.

About Apache

Apache Corporation is an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in the United States, Egypt and the United Kingdom. Apache is a wholly-owned subsidiary of APA Corporation. APA posts announcements, operational updates, investor information and press releases on its website, www.apacorp.com. To learn more about the Apache tree grant program, please visit www.apachelovestrees.com.

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Regional manhunt continues for murderer

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Matthew EdgaraMatthew EdgaraBy Chris Edwards
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SABINE COUNTY – A manhunt continues for a Sabine County man who was sentenced in January to 99 years in prison for murder.

Matthew Hoy Edgar, a 25 -year-old Hemphill man, has been at large since he failed to show up for day four of his trial on Jan 27. On that day, he was found guilty, and subsequently sentenced. Despite his absence, the trial continued through his attorney. He was last seen on the previous day.

Edgar was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Livye Lewis on Oct. 31, 2020. According to Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox, the search continues and “has intensified and broadened” as of Sunday, he said in a news release. 

While Edgar has remained at large, Maddox has reported on social media as well to regional media outlets that there have been leads followed as to Edgar’s whereabouts, but all 10 leads were cleared and closed with no contact with the convicted killer.

“As these investigative leads come in, they are assigned to a deputy or completed by the lead investigator for the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office,” Maddox said. Several of the leads to date involve leads from East and Northeast Texas as well as Western Louisiana.”

Last week, Maddox said that the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office has checked out sightings of Edgar in Jasper and Orange counties.

Maddox said for any Sabine County residents, as well as anyone in the region who has seen Edgar, or has knowledge of his whereabouts, to contact either the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office at 409-787-2266 or to call 911. He said that anyone who sees him should not try to contact or try to stop him. He is considered armed and dangerous. He is described as having short brown hair, blue eyes and is approximately six feet tall. 

Maddox said anyone who sees Edgar can also contact the US Marshals’ Office through its website at https://www.usmarshals.gov/tips/index.html.

Maddox provided a recent photo of Edgar, which was taken during his trial, exiting the courthouse. Most photos of Edgar available on regional media are of his booking photo, which show him with shoulder-length hair.

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