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Man accused of sex crime arrested

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FullerFullerBy Chris Edwards
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WARREN – Tyler County Sheriff’s Office deputies made an arrest of an out-of-state fugitive last week in Warren.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, deputies who were patrolling in the Warren area last Thursday, and arrested James Gregory Fuller, a 51-year-old man residing in Warren. The deputies appeared at Fuller’s residence to serve a felony warrant for his arrest.

Once Fuller was taken into custody and transported to the Tyler County Justice Center, he was charged with Felony Gross Sexual Imposition out of state from Ohio. The charge came by way of a secret indictment, according to Weatherford.

Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Milton Powers told Fuller that a district judge in Stark County, Ohio had set a no bond on him. 

As of Monday, Fuller was still in custody, in Tyler County, awaiting extradition to Ohio. According to the Ohio Penal Code, the charge Fuller was handed alleges that he sexually assaulted someone by using threat or force, or the victim could not provide consent due to intoxication; or that the victim was 13 years old or younger.

A public records search revealed that Fuller is on the North Carolina state sex offender registry for a 2016 crime of indecency with a minor.

Under Ohio statutes, one who is convicted of gross sexual imposition is subject to more severe punishment than one who is convicted of other sexual crimes.

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High-speed chase results in arrest

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ChamblessChamblessBy Chris Edwards
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DAM B – A high-speed chase last week in the Dam B area resulted in the arrest of a Woodville man, and could result in additional charges, according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford.

Last Tuesday morning, at approximately 10 a.m., Weatherford said that deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office were out patrolling around Dam B and attempted to make a stop on a 2006 Cadillac for a traffic violation on FM 92, just north of where U.S. 190 intersects. 

Weatherford said the suspect, Tommy Lee Chambless, a 28-year-old Woodville resident, refused to stop for the deputies, who had activated lights and a siren. 

Chambless continued onto county road 3725, and maintained high rates of speed, getting up near 100 mph, Weatherford said. He led deputies on the chase for two miles, before wrecking the car, after the road had turned to dirt.

Chambless attempted to evade capture, on foot, but was caught a short distance from the crash site. He was taken into TCSO custody, and transported to the Tyler County Hospital, where he was medically cleared a short time later, Weatherford said. 

He was then booked into the Tyler County Justice Center and charged with felony evading arrest (with a motor vehicle.) 

Chambless’s bond was set by Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Ken Jobe at $75,000. He is currently out on bond, but according to Weatherford, could face additional charges, along with several other individuals. 

TCSO has been investigating several recent burglaries in the Dam B area, Weatherford said.

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Country artist to play Emporium in Woodville

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Randy Moore promo

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – For East Texans who love live music (and shame on you, if you don’t) the name Randy C. Moore should set off a few bells.

Since re-settling back into Texas in 2020 with his wife Linda, Moore has been a regular presence on stages throughout the region and the state. Moore is bringing some of his engaging wit and storytelling acumen along with his prowess as a solo acoustic act to Woodville on Sunday, April 9, when he plays the Emporium Stage downtown.

Doors open at 2:30 p.m., and local musician “Wild Bill” Spurlock will open the show. Spurlock, of course, is the namesake proprietor of Wild Bill’s Grill in Woodville, where Moore has performed several times.

For many artists, the love of their chosen medium can be all consuming, and with Moore, it is evident that he lives and breathes music. 

Moore identifies as a country artist, but his sound and tastes come from a variety of places. A veteran of the music industry and Nashville, Moore can rattle off seemingly esoteric facts about everyone from Neil Young and U2 to the late, great Carl Perkins, in a way that makes for fascinating storytelling.

Onstage, Moore can impersonate several artists, including Johnny Cash, vocally, and he covers songs from a variety of sources, but at the end of the day, Moore’s own sound is tempered with a warm, friendly vocal cadence and an intimate identification with the songs – whether they came from his pen or others’.

“An artist is someone who takes something that feels right for them and can deliver it to an audience,” he said. 

Since he relocated to Texas, he and his wife used the pandemic-stricken year of 2020 as a time to resettle and move, or “Texas-ize,” as he calls it. 

“[The pandemic] afforded me the opportunity to reset my studio and reset my songwriting,” he said.

They settled in Nacogdoches, after Moore said they made a conscious decision to move back to Texas, two years before the pandemic put the hold on so many things.

“I just decided I did not want to live in Tennessee anymore, and had done all I could there,” Moore said.

In the time since then, Moore has become a steady presence to audiences across the region, and he is also popping up on some upcoming festivals, including the Wildflower Festival in Richardson in late May and TwisterFest in Oklahoma.

He has also released a couple of albums, Lufkin and Hwy. 59, both of which are filled to the brim with his heartfelt lyrics and inescapable melodies. Such songs as “I Sold a Lot of Beer” and “Big in Texas” have gotten radio play.

Moore said he is also working on an upcoming EP, which he is co-producing with Norbert Putnam, a music legend who played bass on many Elvis Presley recordings. 

For the Emporium show, Moore promises that audiences can “come and enjoy music the way it was meant to be, with a voice, a guitar and some great stories.”

He said he will draw from the repertoire of original tunes, as well as covers. “They’ll hear me play songs from other writers who I’ve met, and whose stories I know,” Moore said.

One artist who he promises to cover is his late influence Perkins, whom he knew quite well. Moore is also working on a screenplay about Perkins’ life, with Perkins’ daughter.

Tickets to the show on Sunday are $20 for reserved seats; $15 for general admission. For tickets, call 409-283-3832 or 409-200-4759.

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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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