Ex-Fort Worth officer's lawyers tell court they’re needed elsewhere on murder trial date

FORT WORTH, Texas — Two attorneys who represent a former Fort Worth police officer who is next month to go to trial on a murder indictment have filed a motion describing their work in seven other cases to which they argue local and state legal code assigns scheduling priority. The attorneys, Bob Gill and Miles Brissette, did not explicitly request a new trial date for Aaron Dean, but wrote in the motion that they have commitments elsewhere on June 21, when jury selection is to begin in the Dean case, and in the weeks before that date. Among the considerations, the attorneys asserted in the mot...

Lawyers for former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean ask to delay trial

FORT WORTH, Texas — The attorneys for the former Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson filed a motion Monday seeking to delay Aaron Dean’s trial once again due to the poor health of his lead attorney. The murder trial for Dean is scheduled to begin May 16, with jury selection starting May 9, and has already been delayed multiple times. However, attorneys Bob Gill and Miles Brissette asked the court to delay the trial again because Dean’s lead attorney, Jim Lane, is seriously ill. The motion was filed Monday as the court began hearing arguments on a separate motion fr...

‘That’s literally racist’: Some condemn Texas student for slur, others defend teacher

FORT WORTH, Texas — Reaction to a viral video of a Fort Worth high school student using racial slurs in a classroom presentation has included outrage and calls for the teacher’s firing. Paschal High School and the Fort Worth school district are investigating the incident that occurred in a Paschal classroom, calling it “inexcusable.” Fort Worth school district Superintendent Kent Scribner called the video “inexcusable.” He said “there is no place for this kind of language in our society” and that he is recommending to the school board that the teacher be fired. Some on Twitter and Facebook hav...

'No one notified me': When people die in Tarrant County jail, answers don't come easily

FORT WORTH, Texas — Shanelle Jenkins learned her husband died by reading the newspaper. "Officials with the Texas Rangers are investigating the death of Robert Geron Miller, 38, who was arrested Wednesday on eight misdemeanor warrants and accused of damaging the rear passenger door of a Fort Worth police car," read the story on Aug. 3, 2019, in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It explained that Miller was at the jail when he was pepper-sprayed by deputies and then taken to John Peter Smith Hospital. Few other details were known. As Jenkins held her phone and read the story over and over, she bega...

What you should know about the upcoming Atatiana Jefferson murder trial in Fort Worth

FORT WORTH, Texas — Aaron Dean, the former Fort Worth police officer who is accused of murder in the 2019 shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson, is set to go to trial May 16, with jury selection beginning on May 9. Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman, was shot inside her own home in south Fort Worth in October 2019. Dean, who was responding to a neighbor's call about open doors at the home, shot Jefferson through a window at the back of the house. Here's a rundown of the case and what comes next: What happened?Dean was indicted on a murder charge after fatally shooting Jefferson through a wind...

Texas' drought is the worst in years. Is the state on the brink of widespread disaster?

FORT WORTH, Texas — Texas is in the worst drought conditions since 2011, when 95% of the state was in drought. Eleven years ago, parched conditions caused more than $7 billion in crop and livestock losses, sparked wildfires, pushed power grids to the limit and reduced reservoirs to dangerously low levels, according to the University of Texas at Austin. As of March 29, 88% of Texas was in drought conditions, affecting an estimated 18.2 million Texans, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. About 42% of the state is seeing extreme or exceptional drought. Just three months ago, 67% of the state w...

Defense team for 'affluenza' teen's mom files appeal to dismiss money laundering charge

FORT WORTH, Texas — A Tarrant County mother, who reportedly "invested" $30,000 for her son to travel to Mexico while he was on probation for a fatal drunken driving crash that killed four people, is appealing a money laundering charge filed against her. Tonya Couch's son, Ethan, pleaded guilty in June 2014 to driving drunk and his involvement in causing a crash that killed four people. Ethan Couch was sentenced to 10 years' probation, and after undergoing rehab, the search was on for him and his mother after he missed a probation meeting in 2015. The pair were later caught in Mexico and Tonya ...

‘It looks a little bit like a bomb site’: At least 50 homes lost in Texas wildfire

FORT WORTH, Texas — West Texas families are going back to their homes in Carbon, after having evacuated because of the Eastland Complex wildfire, to find rubble and ash where their houses used to be. Debbie Copeland, one resident, took to Facebook live around 6 a.m. Friday to show the world the damage the fire has done. “We just came out to look at what’s left and there’s nothing left,” Copeland said through tears in the video. As she pans the video over the ruins of her home, in which Copeland told Fort Worth Star-Telegram news partner WFAA-TV she had lived for 20 years, viewers can see ash, ...

This devastating disease is preventable, but Texas leads the nation in new cases

FORT WORTH, Texas — Texas is leading the nation in new cases of a devastating and completely preventable disease: congenital syphilis. Congenital syphilis refers to cases of syphilis that are passed from a mother to child during pregnancy. Left untreated, the disease can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and early infant death. For the children who do survive, untreated syphilis can lead to meningitis and other brain infections, blindness and deafness, liver disease, severe anemia and more, said Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, an expert in obstetrics and infectious diseases. But each case is preventable. “...

Paxton legal opinion on transgender youth uses misleading citations, 'shocking' parallels

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Texas attorney general's recent legal opinion that called transgender health care for minors "child abuse" cited sources in a misleading way and drew parallels that researchers say simply do not exist, according to an analysis by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a legal opinion on Feb. 18, saying that certain types of gender-affirming health care, including puberty blockers and surgery, should be classified as child abuse when used for minors. Several days later, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a letter directing state agencies to investigate tra...

Texas teacher on leave after video shows woman criticizing conservative Christians

A Colleyville Middle School teacher has been placed on administrative leave after a video captured an educator in the school hallway saying conservative Christians needed "to get COVID and die." The description of a video posted by an account called CriticalRaceTheory to the Canadian video platform Rumble claims it was taken at Colleyville Middle School in Texas. In the video, a woman is seen chatting with two other women in a hallway about vaccines and her frustration with how they've become political. The woman said COVID vaccines were being given out the same way flu vaccines are, and said ...

Antisemitic flyers distributed in Colleyville a month after synagogue hostage crisis, police say

FORT WORTH, Texas — Antisemitic and white separatist materials were distributed to Colleyville homes Saturday night, a month after four individuals were held hostage in the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue. Flyers were distributed in clear sandwich bags to driveways around the city overnight, according to the Colleyville Police Department Twitter account. Similar flyers have shown up in January in San Francisco, Miami and Denver, the account pointed out. Most of those flyers included antisemitic and anti-vaccine messaging, with most claiming that "every single aspect of the COVID agenda is J...

Student indicted on attempted murder charges in shooting at Texas high school

FORTH WORTH, Texas — An 18-year-old accused of injuring four people in a shooting at Mansfield Timberview High School in Arlington was indicted Friday on charges including three counts of attempted murder, according to the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's Office. Timothy Simpkins shot a 15-year-old student and a 25-year-old teacher on Oct. 6, according to an arrest warrant. The 15-year-old had started a fight with Simpkins at school, and English teacher Calvin Pettitt intervened to break up the fight, the arrest warrant says. The 15-year-old and Pettitt were both shot and survived. ...

Man accused of selling gun to Texas synagogue hostage-taker is federally charged

FORT WORTH, Texas — Nearly two weeks after 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram took a Colleyville synagogue hostage for nearly 11 hours, the Department of Justice announced that a man has been charged with selling the hostage-taker a gun. Henry “Michael” Williams, 32, is accused of selling Akram a semi-automatic Taurus G2C pistol on Jan. 13, just two days before the synagogue standoff that the FBI is investigating as an act of terrorism. The weapon was recovered at the scene after federal law enforcement fatally shot Akram, authorities said. Williams was first interviewed the day a...

FBI director, Colleyville rabbi, security experts speak about hostage standoff and healing

FORT WORTH, Texas — In Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker’s first public meeting since Saturday’s hostage situation in Colleyville, he joined FBI Director Christopher Wray and the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and Central Division Vice President Cheryl Drazin in discussing antisemitism, further investigation into the standoff at Congregation Beth Israel and how communities can come together, not only in healing, but times of crisis. “The last few days have been a painful reminder of the persistence of antisemitism in our society,” Greenblatt said during the webinar discussion Thurs...